Jun 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm #1275654
@everreadyLocale: Sh!^^% Ohio
We're planning our trip for late August. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendation on which map(s) I should order. I'm looking for input from people that have traveled in the Winds and that are familiar with the area. This trip may be on/off trail. I know how to read a topo and I'm pretty good at navigation, there is just so much BS on the web (it's hard to tell which map to order) I would like some "real" input.
AlJun 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm #1751058
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
If you're going off-trail, you definitely need the 7.5 minute USGS maps. Maps such as the Earthwalk Press series are fine for general planning, but don't have anywhere enough detail for off-trail navigation. As I found out to my frustration, the Earthwalk Press maps don't even have enough detail for you to identify the peaks where you are. I haven't seen the Beartooth Press map of the Winds, but IMHO anything is better than Earthwalk. You still need the detail of the 7.5 minutes maps, though.
Have you checked out Nancy Pallister's book, "Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains"? The supplementary CD (in addition to having photos from each of her trips that will leave you drooling) has all the USGS maps with her routes superimposed. There is some distortion in the reproduction, though, so I'm marking her routes that I'll be using on my own USGS maps.
Of course this all assumes that the horrendous amount of snowpack currently in the Winds will, at some point, melt, so we can get in there!Jun 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1751066
I have a JPG (4800×4800) that I did of a square that includes Elkhart Park to Titcomb Basin if you would have an electronic device to zoom and pan. It is using MyTopo vs USGS. PM if you'd like it. I actually printed it out and taped all the pages together. Came in quite handy when I went off trail.Jun 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm #1751071
Beartooth Publishing's Wind River Range is a good start for planning. At 1:100,000 and 100' contours, it's primarily a "trails map", showing "most but not all lakes", which can be confounding if relied upon for staying found. It's biggest virtue is the mileages between major junctions. With these you can plan reasonable days, as well as help with hour-by-hour location while hiking, and last, provide you with good enough information to plan an alternate route if things don't work out.
Adding to the "on the ground" confusion are the pack horse trails to high camps. They start on the main trails, but then often drift off at a drainage or across a meadow. Their trail looks like the real deal. The "real" trail, though is just a shadow veering off into the grass. So keep track of "last known point", time, and distance to the "next known point", and be prepared to poke around a bit when things aren't right. Parts of the Highline Trail come to mind.
For cross country routes I have relied on 7.5° quads, which are downloadable from a number of sites for free, that I crop/cut/paste, along with various aerial perspectives of the saddles and passes from Google Earth. Also search, within Google Earth, Google Images, and on Photobucket, for hiker photographs of the pass in question. Often times you'll find the perfect reference shot for your route.
Last, look through sites like TribleOutdoors and search for folks who have done your route. On many occasions I have found trip reports, including GPS waypoints, that have provided excellent confirmation of my intentions. (That is to say, we were equally crazy.)
Have fun. It's a great place.Jun 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm #1751132
@everreadyLocale: Sh!^^% Ohio
Thanks for all of the replies and info.
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