Finis Mitchell (and Matthew Troyanek) Trailing through the Wind Rivers

In my preparations to become a backpacker seeking adventures in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, my research led me to take the footsteps of a man from the golden age of American mountaineering, whose chronicles and photographs bade me to these mountains with a romantic charm. 

Finis Mitchell drew on decades of experience in the Wind Rivers, describing the trails, routes, wildlife, glaciers, lakes, and streams in Wyoming’s fabulous two-and-a-quarter million acre Wind River Range, published into a guidebook called Wind River Trails.

Over the course of his life, Mitchell climbed 244 of the 300 peaks in the range, with four ascents of Gannett Peak, the highest mountain in the state.

Front and back of a postcard illustrating a view of the Cirque of the Towers taken by Finis Mitchell from Mitchell Peak in the Wind River Range.
Finis Mitchell papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

As a vigorous wilderness advocate, he put together breathtaking slide presentations showing people their own public lands. Mitchell would pour out his philosophy at the public meetings with amazing attention to detail.

Of the 105,345 pictures he took as a hobby, 8,884 that have been digitized for your viewing pleasure. To learn more about Finis Mitchell, see the Finis Mitchell papers at the American Heritage Center.

Post contributed by AHC staff member Matthew Troyanek.


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