Ascent of Sacajawea Peak on 2010-08-16

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Monday, August 16, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Sacajawea Peak
    Elevation:9838 ft / 2998 m

Ascent Trip Report

Very nice scenic day-hike - provided you find the Thorp Creek Trail turnoff, otherwise it could be a bit of a nightmare.

We climbed this the day after He+She Devil, and drove in from La Grande, making a fairly late start after stopping for breakfast in Enterprise. We thought we were in for a 20+ mile day, then at the trailhead we realised the map grid squares were in km not miles!

From Enterprise, for the trailhead, take Hurricane Creek Road which forks R off SR-92 at the SE end of town (Mile 0.0). Fork R at mile 5.1 (changes to dirt road); trailhead is at end of road, mile 8.8

Obvious trail leaves SE corner of car park and heads S, above W bank of the creek. Views open up ahead: Sacajawea can be seen straight ahead, just R of a pointed sub-peak.

After 1.7 miles take a small trail going L at a grassy clearing (co-ords tbc), 140m after the main trail enters a belt of forest (ignore one or two dead-end trails nearby). This trail is Thorp Creek Trail. This bends R then crosses the main creek (2 felled trees form a bridge), then enters an area of meadow. The trail soon fades out: immediately cross a small creek then head roughly uphill: the trail reappears at the far side at (co-ords tbc). Once back on the trail it is easy to follow. It crosses Twin Creek then zig-zags steeply uphill, then follows a ridge through nice woodland (the shade was most welcome). After a while it levels off and fades out in an area of nice alpine meadow. Keep heading for the end of the valley, walking beside the creek and finally crossing it at 2300m elev. The E ridge of Sacajawea can be seen rising steeply to the R. Head up half-right (trail) towards the obvious low point at the bottom of the ridge. The trail rounds a low buttress then cuts back R and ascends the ridge, generally keeping L of the crest. The trail is steep and a little loose in places and just makes YDS 2+ in a couple of places where careful footwork is needed, especially on the descent. The trail reaches a sub peak then a narrow easy ridge undulates towards the summit. At one point there is an easy (exposed) slightly scrambly descent, then a rocky climb leads to the summit cairn.

We spent 30 mins at the summit, signing Richard Carey's register (placed a month ago and already quite busy) and enjoying the view, which includes yesterday's Seven Devils range. The scenery is very striking, mainly due to the almost complete lack of vegetation, revealing the subtle coloration of the underlying rock, generally white or chocolate brown.

We descended by the same route. We stopped at the Thorp Creek crossing to filter some water, refilled one of our litre bottles and headed down, reaching the trailhead in 2hr 30, at 15:30. We then headed back to La Grande, planning to drive West again the following day ready for South Sister.

Timings: Trailhead 09:00, Thorp Creek crossing 11:15, summit 12:30-13:00, Thorp Creek crossing 13:50-14:00, trailhead 15:30
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5068 ft / 1543 m
    Extra Gain:164 ft / 49 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.4 mi / 21.6 km
    Route:East ridge
    Trailhead:Hurricane Creek trailhead  5098 ft / 1553 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2+
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes

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