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by Bill Hunger (Falcon Guides)
© Bill Hunger/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This hike / climb IS Wyoming at its finest!
On the way to the trailhead take time to appreciate the Wyoming roadside primer of geology. We approached from W TenSleep Lake via overnight at Misty Moon Lake. There are many great campsites from Lake Marion to above Misty Moon Lake. If Misty Moon seems too busy (very unlikely) there are many fine sites with good water along the trail above the lake.
Next day BE PREPARED! for a stout hike, climb and rock scramble up Cloud Peak. Once across Paint Rock Creek, the trail(s) become(s) thin and numerous. Above 11,000 ft there is no one continuous trail but innumerable cairns.
An alternative route misses the scramble up along the waterfall:
N 44* 20.82' W 107* 12.72'
N " 21.04' W " 12.43'
N " 21.20' W " 12.51'
N " 21.44' W " 12.35'
N " 21.68' W " 11.96'
N " 21.84' W " 12.05'
N " 21.88' W " 12.16'.
From Misty Moon Lake to the peak and back was a steady 10 hours. Another night at Misty Moon Lake and back out. Along the lakes we saw 7 moose and at Misty Moon many elk. Stay Warm!
We did this trip in two days. We started off relatively late on the 29th from the West Tensleep Trail head. Conditions were moderate. Small hail storms and slight afternoon showers followed us up to to our final destination for the evening- a campsite above Paint Rock Falls. This first part of the journey is easy going for light weight packs and only gets harder the heavier to pack for. Since we were only going in for the one night, we were pretty light, so this hike was easy. You pass through three lakes. Lake Helen, Lake Marion and Misty Moon. There are a few switch backs along the way, but not to difficult. Once you get to Misty Moon via the West Tensleep Trailhead (TR 63) you get onto the Solitude Trail (TR 38) follow that until you get down into the valley and locate a spot to cross Paint Rock Creek. You can either cross the little valley and cross the creek above the falls or below the falls, but either way you should be above them before you camp for the night. There are two really good places to camp for the night. We picked the one right above Paint Rock Falls, but over the next hill, there is another area that would get you closer to the summit, for the next day. Both have good access to water. There is a primitive trail that guides you during this step of the Cloud Peak hike, but it will disappear as you gain altitude. So we camped, be prepared for cold weather even in July. Your camping at 10k+ feet. So the next morning get ready for your summit push! We started off at 6AM and it took us 6 hours round trip to get to the top and back to camp. All you do is head strait up the valley and start boulder hopping. The peak you see from the bottom is a false peak. The actual summit is still about 100 yards farther up. There is no trail to the top, but easy enough to head strait to the false peak. Boulder hopping is the rule here, so have stiff hiking boots and watch for uneven rocks.
we started at tensleep, we didn't go to cloud peak on this trip, our goal for this go round was bomber mountain. was a good hike in took about six hours to misty moon lake with some horsing around on the way. Another day to hike up to the b17 bomber and down, then another to hike out. went in early august so no snow until we went up to the bomber. the water was cold though and very refreshing. alot of boulder hopping to get to the bomber, and a couple of snow fields to cross.
we took four wheelers from story. the trail is very rocky and tight in spots but that's what we liked.
I have climbed Cloud Peak a number of times via the West Tensleep trail head twice. It is a strenous hike to do in one day but if you layover at Mistymoon lake for a night it would be much easier.
From Mistymoon lake the route is primarily trailless. You are likely to encounter deep snow in parts through the month of july. Patches of snow remain all year. I strongly recommend climbing the ridge which leads up bomber mountain and following its spine to cloud peak to enjoy a beautiful view of the alpine lakes below.
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