My experience summiting Cloud Peak - Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains

My experience summiting Cloud Peak – Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains.


13,000 feet in elevation, a total of 23 miles, three days/two sleepless nights, a group of awesome men, and really tired body. That, in a nutshell, was the trip for me.

Wyoming Bison HatLet me start by saying, I was not prepared for this trip, physically or mentally. My family and I live at the base of the Big Horns in Wyoming, 5 minuets and were basically in the mountains. There are tons of great hiking spots, lakes, and trails. Even though my family and I would go on hikes two or three times a month, they’re not far hikes. A two-year-old doesn’t do very well spending an even a half an hour in a pack. He wants to explore, throw rocks, climb, run, and experience the outdoors just like us. Except he is 3 feet tall and doesn’t move very fast.

(My amazing wife Jalissa and son Lucas - Wyo Dirt Bison Hat)

About a month before the hike, my wife comes up to me and tells me, “Oh, I signed you up or the Cloud Peak hike at the church. It’s this and this day.” My mind was spinning. “What? When did you do this? How far is it? I don’t really know many of the guys at church. What do I need? I’m totally not in shape!” At first, I was kind of mad! My wife is extremely supportive of me, even on things I know I should do, but don't because I'm lazy. This was one of those times. I’m naturally an introvert and don’t mind spending days at home with just my family. I don’t make a very good effort to reach out and connect with other like-minded men. This was her small nudge to get me out! Needless to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t look into it like I should have. I was in for a rude awaking.  

Wyoming Big Horn Mountains

6pm - First, I met up with two guys I knew. It was an hour drive to the hiking spot. We then met with another group of about 8-10 guys, strapped up our packs and gear to trek the Wyoming Wilderness.

7pm-12am - It was then a 4-5 hour hike to our destination at Misty Moon Lake. Let me tell you, it was not fun. We started at about 7pm and didn’t arrive until about 12 in the morning. So it was about 2 hours of hiking in the dark. Not only that, it’s started raining about 2 hours into the hike. And not like a little sprinkle, but heavy rain! 

12am – Arrive at Misty Moon Lake. Now we set up. I'm tired from hiking for 5 hours and cold. I didn’t have my own tent, so thankfully someone volunteered to let me stay with them. Super cold. 

5am – Wake up with only 2 hours of solid sleep. REALLY cold. Frost on the ground. Boots and socks..frozen. "Go hiking with the guys she said, it will be fun she said." Get food, try and warm up. 

7am – Meet the remaining guys who went up a day early and have a quick hour long devotion time.

8:45am-5pm – Begin the long, tiresome, summit. It took 8 hours to get to the top. It’s a 4000’ elevation change from Misty Moon Lake to the top. People can get very sick due to altitude sickness. There’s a lot of boulder hopping, literal vertical climbing, and four false summits. I was warned that there would be four false summits and thought ok, I’ll remember that, but when you’ve hiked two hours and you see what looks like top, but it actually isn’t; you hike up that and you see another one after two more hours and another after a couple more hours…it really emotionally wears on a person. It feels SO far away and you’re already exhausted from expending so much energy. Luckily, we would stop every couple hours for water breaks, snack breaks, and to catch our second, third, and fourth winds. It was one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done. I’m not kidding. I can remember being so close to the top, but so tired and very sick. It was horrible.

5-5:30pm – We bask in the glory of the +13,000-elevation view. :D

5:30-7:30pm (Roughly) – We decent to the bottom. Long. Tiring. Relieving.

7:45-8:45pm – End of the day devotional with the guys. Refreshing.

9pm – Exhausted. Tired. Sleep. 

8am-1pm - Hike back. Arrive at vehicle. Go home and love on my family. 

I’m proud to say, I summited Cloud Peak in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains.

- Joshua

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