Garlic-infused Cathedral Peak

September 10, 2008 at 8:46 am 5 comments

We left the route up to fate. The hike would start at the Big Sandy Opening trailhead, heading north past Dad’s and Marm’s lakes to Washakie Pass, then down past Macon and Washakie lakes to the junction with the Bear’s Ears trail. Here we’d pull out a coin and let chance decide whether we headed south to the Lizard Head trail (heads) or north, past Mount Hooker and Hailey Pass (tails). Either way it was going to be a long (35+ miles) hike.

The night before OldBull prepared feta- and olive-infused lamburghenis on garlic-infused buns. Plans were laid for a summit assault on either route – Mount Chauvenet on the southern route or Grave Lake Dome on the northern route. After all, we couldn’t hike all day in Wyoming’s Wind Rivers Range without a Cheeseburger summit, could we? After a short night, we awoke at 3:10 am for an egg-seasoned garlic breakfast and enough coffee to get the motor running. By 5:30 we were on the trail, using our headlamps to find the way to Fish Creek Park. As the sun rose we were treated to views of Mount Bonneville and its neighbors.

Bonneville et al.

By 9 am we were over the Continental Divide at Washakie Pass and headed down the rocky pass to Macon and Washakie lakes. We were passing through some stunning scenery including our first views of Buffalo Head and Payson Peaks (below). After about 14 miles of hiking we arrived at the real trailhead – the junction with the Bear’s Ears trail.

Buffalo Head Peak

flyingpelvis brought along a coin he had found in the joists of a house he was remodeling. It was an 1880 silver dollar – a coin almost as old as OldBull! A coin toss would decide our fate today. fryingelvis did the honors and it turned up heads. After a moment of stunned silence and a quick glance at one another we realized that the forecast was for pain. The Lizard Head trail was 2000 feet above us and 5 miles away, and that’s before the peak and a long slog back to the car. Good thing we had Cheeseburgers to eat!

1880 Liberty Head Dollar

So we crossed the Popo Agie Creek and proceeded up towards Mount Chauvenet, passing Valentine Lake along the way. This stretch of trail is obviously a labor of love. The gentle grade over incredibly rocky terrain made hiking fairly easy. Finally we reached the junction of the Lizard Head trail and the halfway point of the hike. We looked around for Mount Chauvenet – where was it? After consulting the map we figured out that it was hidden behind a band of rocks just above us to the north. At this point, after almost 20 miles of hiking, no one seemed too excited about a 2 or 3 mile diversion. On the other hand, to the south stood Cathedral Peak and it didn’t look too difficult. So we changed the plan. The hike up Cathedral was straightforward; we picked our way up the rock and snow to the summit. The guide book says it’s class III – well, maybe. Old Bull pulled out the burgers and we enjoyed the views, the cold air, and the garlic.

Descending Cathedral Peak

The whole hike was gorgeous but the hiking up on the Lizard Head Trail was the highlight of the trip. The elevation stays above 11,500 ft. and affords views of everything in the southern Winds.

Looking Back at Cathedral Peak

The descent from the plateau to Lizard Head Meadows covered about 2000 ft. The views of Wind River Peak (center of the photo below) inspired us to dream up plans for an ascent, maybe next year. On the way down we took a short break in a field of grouse whortleberries – a little treat for the weary hikers.

Descent from Lizard Head Trail

As we approached Lonesome Lake we finally got a great view of the Cirque of the Towers. We haden’t seen many people on this hike, but at the Cirque there were a few more folks.

Cirque of the Towers

We ascended Jackass Pass and left the Cirque behind. The sun set well before we were finished, so we hiked many miles in the dark, with headlamps. Finally, after 16 hours and ~38 miles we made it back to the car – tired, hungry and beat up. We agreed that this was the hardest “day” hike we’d ever done but also the most scenic.

Cathedral Peak, WY – Old Bull, flyingelvis, sirloinofbeef


Entry filed under: Wyoming Summits.

Garfield would have stayed home and slept Cathedral Peak Dessert (Signal Mt.)

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wimpy  |  September 11, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Awesome HIke
    Awesome Post

    I am truly green with jealously

  • 2. krustybunz  |  September 12, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Wow… great pictures!!!

    Your definition of a day hike is a bit crazy… I may need to get in on that one year… looks awesome!

    I’m trying to recruit Groovy Dad for a 21 mile day hike in the NH White Mountains, also with only one summit, but he’s balking for some reason..


  • 3. sirloinofbeef  |  September 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm


    You do need to get in one one of these – you’d love it. Just think of it, 35+ miles for maybe one summit.

    Perhaps GroovyDad is afraid of a 21 mile walk.


  • 4. Cathedral Peak Appetizer - Quealy Peak « Summit Cheeseburger  |  September 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

    […] 23, 2008 My apologies for the late post – this “ascent” occured before our idiotic ascent of Cathedral Peak. Flyingpelvis and I were driving from Salt Lake City up to Pinedale, WY and decided we needed to […]

  • 5. Groovy Dad  |  January 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    a 21 mile day hike sounds lovely


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The Mission

To encourage, enable, and document the consumption of a Cheeseburger on every summit on earth.
September 2008
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