Finis Mitchell

Finis Mitchell (1901–1995) was an American mountaineer and forester based in Wyoming. During the Depression, he and his wife stocked lakes in the Wind River Range with over 2.5 million trout. He served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1955 to 1958. At the age of 67 he retired from his job as a railroad foreman and dedicated himself full-time to exploring and writing about the Wind River Range of mountains.

Over the course of his life, Mitchell climbed all but 20 of the 300 peaks in the range. At the age of 73, while on a glacier, he twisted his knee in a snow-covered crevasse. He hacked crude crutches out of pine wood and hobbled 18 miles to find a doctor, and was able to resume climbing until the age of 84, when further injury to the knee from a fall put an end to his solo climbing career.

In 1975, he published a guidebook to the range called Wind River Trails, and in 1977, the University of Wyoming gave him an honorary doctorate. Congress named the mountain Mitchell Peak after him — one of the few landforms to ever be named after a living American.

Read: Finis Mitchell on the Forest Service website

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3 Responses to Finis Mitchell

  1. Perkus Tooth October 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    TI backpacked in Wind River near Gannett Peak last summer and wish I had know about Finis and his guidebook. It is an amazing place with an incredible amount of trout… thanks for sharing.

  2. Seth November 2, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I poached that book from my dad when I moved back to Wyoming a few years back. Didn’t get to use it as much as I’d have liked, but a nice little guidebook.

    My sixth grade shop teacher was named Finis, too. I think it’s a Wyoming thing.

  3. mickey November 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    Ahh, and Mitchell Peak is an attractive one at that. Quite the honor.

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