Thanks to the wonderful support of my parents, I was able to pull off ascents of all 36 Wyoming 13ers in 9 calendar days, beginning September 2 and finishing September 10. The list of summits constituting the Wyoming 13ers has recently been updated to include Miriam Peak due to LiDAR analysis; see links HERE and HERE (the ambiguity of East/West Twin still exists and I tagged both summits). This effort was verified with live Delorme InReach tracking, with the addition of preset messages sent from trailheads and summits.
It was a crazy time--one of my biggest goals ever, and a wild ride, with a constant mental struggle to believe in myself enough to keep going. The support and prayers from my family and all those who followed along was crucial to my success--thank you to all! Especially, thank you again to my parents, Karen and Joe, who supported me with a backcountry basecamp in Titcomb and a mobile home base for the rest of the trip. Love y'all! I'm most of all grateful to God for giving me the chance to live out this dream and experience these wild areas safely and successfully.
All in, it was about 215 miles with 85,000 ft. of elevation gain, with endless class 4/5 rock soloing and unsettling moraine hopping. Here's a brief outline of the days. A more thorough trip report will follow someday at my site HERE.
Day 1: Started at 2:01 a.m. from the Trail Lake Trailhead, followed the Old Glacier Trail to Arrow Pass, then cut off cross-country to my first summit, Downs Mountain. From there, traversed south along the Divide collecting the summits of Boardman, Klondike, Flagstone, and Grasshopper. Deviated from the Divide to pick up Desolation, then returned to Bastion and bivied near the summit.
Day 2: Climbed super sketchy melted east face of Koven, then downclimbed and rapped south ridge, escaping into Minor Glacier cirque. Climbed Gannett via north ridge, linked southwest couloir to Glacier Pass, tagged Pinnacle, then climbed sketchy alpine ice above bergschrund on Dinwoody Glacier to gain Woodrow Wilson south couloir. Rapped and downclimbed west couloir of Wilson, climbed the Sphinx, and met my mom at basecamp in Titcomb.
Day 3: Climbed West and East Twin, then downclimbed sketchy melted and refrozen black ice to reach Mammoth Glacier. Climbed Split and Whitecap, then pioneered (?) cool non-technical route up north side of Bow from near the Stroud Glacier. From Bow, downclimbed southwest couloir and tagged Henderson and American Legion on my way back to Titcomb basecamp via Summer Ice Lake.
Day 4: Started with Spearhead, rapping crux on the descent. Traversed Warren, Turret, Sunbeam, and Febbas, returning via Dinwoody Glacier and Bonney Pass with a short sidetrip to tag Miriam just after sunset.
Day 5: Linked Helen and Sacagawea from Titcomb, then followed ridge traverse route from Upper Fremont Glacier to Fremont summit. Descended usual route on Fremont and made a quick trip up and down Jackson, meeting my mom in a new camp in Indian Basin.
Day 6: Crossed Indian Pass at sunrise and climbed Bete Noire, traversed Knife Point, and finished the northern Winds with Harrower. Hiked out the trail from Island Lake to Elkhart Park Trailhead. Met my dad with the RV at Elkhart Park; he drove overnight to the Bighorns due to impending snowstorm.
Day 7: Hiked loop over Cloud and Black Tooth from the West Tensleep Trailhead under threatening weather; it rained several times and a huge thunderstorm settled in by afternoon. Forecasts showed 10-20 inches of snow starting later that night, so it was important to get these finished sooner than later. Dad drove overnight to Lander.
Day 8: Hiked out-and-back to Wind River Peak from Worthen Meadows Trailhead, with my mom pacing me to treeline and back. Weather was again threatening, with the summit in and out of clouds, and it snowed considerably on our hike out. Dad drove overnight to swap vehicles from RV to Chevy Blazer in Dubois, then onwards to the Tetons.
Day 9: Climbed the Grand solo via the Owen Spalding route--first person to summit this day under bluebird skies. Rapped descent and raced back to trailhead, driving directly through Yellowstone to reach Meeteetsee. Used the Phelps Mountain Road as my trailhead for Francs, and climbed it at sunset with my mom pacing me most of the way; spotted several nearby grizzlies on the route. Upper mountain was covered in snow from recent storms. Returned to Phelps Mountain Road at 10:21 p.m. and enjoyed my first non-stressful night of sleep in the back of the Blazer.
This was simultaneously an extremely humbling and empowering experience for me, simultaneously visceral and religious, and will forever be a major part of who I am. I am so grateful to live in a world with such things in it.
I read somewhere — and the person who wrote this was not a mountaineer but a sailor — that the sea's only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head.
~ Primo Levi, “Bear Meat”
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
~ Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator
What then must we do? We must give with love to whoever God has placed in our path.
~ Billy Kwan, The Year of Living Dangerously
Peace, and happy climbing!