#lookback: Ice, Snow, Rock: Gannett Peak

    A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

    From the Dubois Badlands to the jagged Ramshorn Peak, the Upper Wind River Valley is home to many geological formations that awe and inspire people. Around 25 miles south of the town of Dubois stands another fantastic formation: Gannett Peak.

    Protruding from the middle of the Wind River Mountain Range, Gannett Peak is the tallest mountain in Wyoming. The mountain’s highest natural point stands at 13,804ft, surpassing the Grand Teton by a mere 28ft. This mountain was named in 1906 after Henry Gannett. Henry Gannett was a well-known geographer considered the “Father of Government Mapmaking,” but he never actually saw Gannett Peak let alone climbed it.

    The first successful summit of Gannett Peak occurred in 1922 by an explorer named Arthur C. Tate and his guide, Floyd Stahlnaker. Stahlnaker lived and worked in Dubois as a hunting outfitter and rancher; he knew the region well and led Tate on a harrowing, but successful climb. Tate wrote the following about his first view of Gannett Peak:

    “At the far end of the wonderful valley rose Gannett Peak—snow-capped and glacier-mantled, with great clouds partially veiling its summit. How inspiring to the mountain lover is the first glorious view of a great mountain peak, especially when the attendant conditions all enhance its natural wonder!”
    “The Wind River Mountains of Wyoming,” by Arthur C. Tate, Appalachia, Vol. 15, pg. 160.

    Six of the top ten largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains south of the Canadian border obscure the mountain’s sides under acres of snow and ice. Gannett Glacier is the largest of these glaciers, measuring just under 900 acres wide. The CM Ranch led pack trips to the glaciers at the base of this peak, providing guests with a breathtaking view of some of the most remote areas in the United States. A CM Ranch guest on one of these expeditions took this article’s accompanying image in the 1940s. Dinwoody Glacier occupies the left side of the image while Gannett Peak soars into the clouds on the right.

    Today, mountaineers consider Gannett Peak one of the most difficult state highpoints to summit, surpassed only by Denali Mountain (20,310ft) and Mount Rainier (14,411). Its the crest on the Continental Divide and the highest ground for over 290 miles in any direction. Great crevasses and steep canyons lay between the trailhead and summit of Gannett Peak. The isolation offers physical as well as mental challenges to those traversing the mountain trails, but the allure of experiencing the beauty and power of the Wind River Mountain Range firsthand continues to call people to its rugged ridges.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museums

    February 7, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “Bats in the Wind River Range”

    Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    February 8, 6pm “What are Those White Lights in the Winter Sky”

    Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    February 9, 6pm at the Riverton Museum, “Murder Mystery Event”

    The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last three and half years. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.


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