10 miles of hiking • 4500' elevation gain •
Fun trek up Cooper Spur from the Tilly Jane trailhead. We felt entirely alone, all day long, on the northeast side of Wy'east. Never saw another soul. Day began frigid, with temps at or below freezing as we started hiking. Around 4700' or so, we hit a wall of heat (the inversion layer) and temps quickly shot into the 60s! By the time we'd hit Tilly Jane, snow on the ground was averaging 3" or less. Pretty crazy.
At and above timberline, snow depths varied greatly, but it was mostly very hard packed and snowshoes weren't even needed (though we wore them shortly, just below the shelter). Farther up, trail crampons offered some confidence as we climbed on increasingly icy snow and the winds, which were barely a breeze down low, began to pick up. The sun "set" below the spur at 1:30pm! Boy, the solstice just can't come quick enough!
As we hiked back down, that wall of cold hit hard again. So amazing, these inversions are!