The Snowy Range is a small, but distinct series of summits straddling the Carbon/Albany county line about 35 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming. I lived in Laramie for almost 8 years, and I did hikes and climbs in the Snowys during 5 of those years. The range is generally only snow-free during August and September, and there are small permanent snowfields. Even from that distance, they are the most prominent feature of Laramie's western skyline and the typical snowcover makes them stand out. In terms of the city logo and business names, the Snowy Range is to Laramie what the Flatirons are to Boulder.
The steep southern portion of the range supports many technical rock and snow climbs, while the gentler northern part contains the highest point in the southeastern half of Wyoming, Medicine Bow Peak at 12,013ft. Medicine Bow Peak was my first hike, in July 1994.
The following photo was taken in December 1991 from the roof of a
building on the University of Wyoming campus with a 500mm lens from
35 miles west. The bump in front of the right-hand side of the
ridgeline is Sugarloaf Peak, and the summit of Medicine Bow Peak is
above and to the right of Sugarloaf, buried in a cap cloud. It's
quite common from November through April for at least part of the
range to be hidden. The gentle foothills in front of the Snowys
begin about 25 miles from Laramie.
The next photo was taken in April 1992 from the Wyoming Infrared
Observatory on the 9656ft summit of Jelm Mountain 25 miles southwest
of the Snowys. This was taken with a 135mm lens and shows the entire
ridgeline. Medicine Bow Peak is the high point just left of center.
The prominent valley in the photo is the Centennial Valley and the
town of Centennial is somewhere near the right-hand edge of the frame.
Here is a shot taken in June 1996 on my way home from a trip.
This was taken with a 135mm lens from about 15 miles west.
These are a bunch of photos taken from Snowy Range Pass, less
than 2 miles from the main ridgeline along the highway. The
first one is something a little different, a scan of a mosaic
I put together from photos taken with a 50mm lens.
Here is a 135mm close-up of the left-hand (southern) part
of the ridge. The prominent rock feature left of center is
Continuing to the right, this 135mm shot shows The Diamond.
Skipping a bit of the ridge, here is most of Old Main.
This is the point at which the vertical rock faces give way to
steep scree and snow slopes. A small part of Old Main is on the
left-hand edge. I've climbed the prominent couloir that runs diagonally
on the left. (This photo was actually taken a little ways back toward
Here is a wide view taken 2 days before the previous photos
with a cap cloud over the entire ridge and some alpenglow.
And a close-up of the previous scene.
There are photos taken while I was on a hiking or climbing route.
This is a photo from the summit of Medicine Bow Peak just
before sunrise in June 1996, looking south along the ridge.
Here is the sunrise a few minutes after the previous photo.
Later that morning, from the saddle between Medicine Bow Peak and
Sugarloaf Peak. "My" coulior is in the center of the frame on the
right edge of Old Main; that's still the hardest snowclimb I've ever done.
(Obviously, this photo isn't from the day of the climb.)
Speaking of Sugarloaf Peak, here is a summit photo in December 1995 during a light snowstorm.
This was actually taken from just below Snowy Range Pass, but
I took this on a winter ascent in March 1995 when the road is
closed 6 miles short of the pass. Unless you want to be a wuss
and take a snowmobile to this point, a winter ascent is an
arduous undertaking. The east flank of Sugarloaf Peak is on
the far right. From the pass, the route enters the trees in
the bare strip in the lower right, crosses the east ridge of
Sugarloaf, and reaches the summit ridge via that left-angling
snow slope just to the right of center. This was my third
season in my successful quest to climb the mountain in all
This photo marks the stupidest thing I've ever done in the
mountains. I climbed Medicine Bow Peak in
October 1994 during a snowstorm. The storm wasn't too bad,
but visibility was very poor and the only reason I made the
summit was because the trail is marked with large poles.
Shortly after leaving the summit, I lost the trail. I didn't
have a map but did have my compass. With a map I would have
been in better shape, but the compass eventually got me down
to the main road.
This photo was taken a week after that ill-fated ascent,
and less than a week before the road was closed for the winter.
This is near the trailhead, looking over Lake Marie at
Finally, although this photo was actually taken at the end
of the hike, this is the start of the Medicine Bow Peak Trail
on July 1st, 1994. This was the view I had at the very
beginning of my hiking career.
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File last modified: 08 January 2005