Far from any road, Cloud Peak Wilderness features over two dozen glacier cut walls and spires towering over the high plains – one of the most pristine alpine destinations in the western US. We’re keen on keeping it that way, minimizing our footprint as we explore the spectacular mountaineering and alpine climbing in this area. Our guides work to keep climbers safe and reduce their impact in hope of preserving this pristine environment for generations to come.
We offer three alpine adventures for a range of ability levels:
- Multi-day intro to mountaineering trip up the east side of Cloud Peak
- Day trip of climbing on Thundercloud Arête at Lost Twin Lakes
- Multi-day climbing trip on the Southeast Arête of Cloud Peak
Intro to Mountaineering: South Ridge of Cloud Peak
Yearning for the freedom of the hills? Look no further than this trek through the South Piney Creek Valley and up the imposing flanks of the Bighorns’ highest peak. No previous mountaineering experience is required for this 3-4 day trip, but a solid base of hiking fitness, camping experience, and a willingness to wander far away from civilization are all musts.
Our intro to mountaineering trip will involve hiking on marked and unmarked trails, scrambling on boulder fields, and traversing snow fields. Day 1 we’ll set out from Hunter Corrals, hiking through Soldier Park and Triangle Park on our way to Elk Lake. Then we’ll head west to Cloud Peak Reservoir where we’ll set up camp. Day 2 or 3 (depending on the weather) will be our summit day: we’ll scramble past Mead, Diamond, and Sapphire Lakes, cross the snowfield at the base of Bomber Mountain, then gain the South Ridge to the summit of Cloud Peak. That night we’ll return to camp and refuel before hiking back out to Hunter Corrals the following day.
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Introduction to Alpine Climbing: Thundercloud Arête, Lost Twins
This trip is a rarity in the Bighorns: a long alpine climb doable in a day. The accessibility of this climb lets us pack lighter and focus our energy on the climb itself – and what a classic climb at that! Thundercloud Arête features six pitches of aesthetic climbing and positioning beside the Yosemite-like walls of the Lost Twins.
This trip is a great introduction to the increasingly popular “light and fast” style of alpinism. That said, this objective demands higher levels of hiking fitness (ability to walk 15 miles in a day), acclimatization, and climbing experience (including the ability to climb 5.8 trad on top rope) than some of our other trips. We ask that you spend at least a half day climbing with us at one of our sport or trad climbing destinations (that cost is included in our rates below) prior to this trip.
We’ll start hiking from West Ten Sleep trailhead, meandering through boggy meadows (past some moose if we’re lucky) up to Lost Twin Lakes, one of northern Wyoming’s most iconic hanging valleys. We’ll watch the early morning light wash over the big walls and then scramble up a small scree field to the base of the arête. The climbing gets progressively steeper as the arête narrows to a sharp point in the sky. A stunning summit platform overlooks the sheer, unclimbed north face of Thundercloud – a great place for selfies and a sandwich. Then we’ll walk off the plateau and work our way back down to the trailhead.
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Intermediate Alpine Climbing: Southeast Arête, Cloud Peak
The most involved of all our trips – but also the most rewarding. You’ll hike deep into the backcountry through fifteen miles of old growth forests, krummholz and alpine tundra. It will all pay off when you reach the base of Cloud Peak and climb one of the country’s best alpine moderates. Livid granite, wild exposure and positioning next to the massive walls of the Merlon – this is a route to write home about.
This 3-4 day trip requires a high level of hiking fitness, acclimatization, and climbing experience. We ask that you spend at least a half day climbing with us at one of our sport or trad climbing destinations (that cost is included in our rates below).
Our advanced alpine climbing trip combines the extensive approach of our intro to mountaineering trip with a technical finish up the Southeast Arête of Cloud Peak’s southern buttress. Day 1 we’ll hike to to Cloud Peak Reservoir and set up camp. Day 2 or 3 (weather dependent) we’ll scramble up the South Piney Creek Valley, climb up the Southeast Arête to the summit of Cloud Peak, then walk off the South Ridge and descend the valley back to camp. The final day we’ll hike back out.
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- Veterans and first responders: 10% off
- Tribal members: 10% off
- College and trade school students: 5% off
Our mountaineering and alpine climbing trips will cover the following topics and techniques:
- Leave No Trace and “Beyond Leave No Trace” practices
- Personal wellness, health, hygiene, and waste disposal in the outdoors
- Minimal impact backpacking, camping, and climbing practices
- Principles of mountaineering and alpine climbing safety
- Roped climbing systems
- Ice axe and crampon use
- Anchor building, gear placement and removal
- Lessons on the area’s geology, ecology, archaeology, and mountaineering history