Wyoming Peak, the high point of western Wyoming’s Wyoming range, is named for Jedediah Wyoming, leader of the Wyoming survey of the Wyoming territory. Okay, that last part isn’t true. Still, it seemed like an appropriate way to celebrate being back in Wyoming, and a good peak to climb in bad weather.
I tend to procrastinate when it is cold and snowing, so I got a late start from Middle Piney Lake. Unlike last time, I sensibly took the easy walk along the north, snow-free shore, admiring the landslide across the way. I took off north up the bare slide path I had spotted previously, finding a series of game trails and easy travel on dirt and grass. After some side-hilling, I reached a saddle in the east-west ridge leading to Wyoming Peak.
As I had hoped, much of the ridge was blown clear of snow, and the remaining snow was well consolidated; I did not need my snowshoes after climbing the first bump. After descending this first peaklet, I found a surprisingly narrow section, though nothing harder than class 2. After the second bump — steep on the east, gradual on the west — I found a post lying in the snow, probably indicating a trail junction on the standard route. I had been in snow or clouds for much of the ridge, so it was good to have some kind of reassurance.
After an initial steep climb from the saddle, the ridge became broad and flat, and the snow/cloud thickened. I could usually see half-exposed rocks ahead, but had no idea where the summit was, and so just tried to keep going uphill. Fortunately it was not too cold, and even pleasant when I escaped the wind. The remnants of a lookout on top were the only sign that I had reached the summit.
I had planned to tag nearby Coffin while I was there, but that seemed ill-advised. With the ground and sky an undifferentiated gray, merely getting back down would be adventure enough. As usual, I botched descending the broad ridge in the clouds, heading too far north and finding a few unfamiliar landmarks in the clouds. As the ridge I was following narrowed, I dropped south, trying to get below the clouds to figure out where I was.
During a break in the storm, I eventually realized that I was in the next valley north. While this valley has a trail and road, I chose instead to return to Middle Piney Lake by climbing back to the first saddle I had gained in the morning. Some snowshoeing and side-hilling later, I was back at the lake, where I found a beaver swimming fearlessly back and forth near the shore. It was sunny t-shirt weather as I hiked back to the car, though it started snowing again soon afterward.