Ascent of Sacajawea Peak on 2020-08-10

Climber: Rick Peterson

Date:Monday, August 10, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Sacajawea Peak
    Elevation:9838 ft / 2998 m

Ascent Trip Report

Finally a 40 year vendetta fulfilled. I came here in the early eighties and climbed Matterhorn via a cross country route from Eagle Cap directly and found it to be extremely rugged. Because of the late hour and not wanting to return in the dark we went down the trail to Ice lake then down to Wallowa River where we spent a cold night sleeping by someone's fire with minimal clothing, young and stupid. I still have the map showing Matterhorn as the highest peak in the Wallowas which doesn't seem to be the current opinion. So back I came decades later to clean it up. A multi day trip is always more enjoyable so we camped at Ice Lake which I can't recommend highly enough. There is a good trail to the top of Matterhorn, then generally people take the ridge to Sac. The gendarmes on the second saddle are a little airy but not much of an issue for an experienced climber. If you haven't been exposed to that type of terrain it may be a little scary but most should make it with no problems. Warm on top conducive to a relaxing stay which we had the luxury to enjoy since all we had to do was get back to Ice Lake. You can turn left at the Matterhorn-Sacajawea ridge peaklet and descend a perfect sand/scree descent. If you wanted to go directly to Sac and not do Matterhorn you could ascend this way but I can't speak to the misery that could ensue climbing the loose scree for a couple thousand feet. It is possible that you could skirt the sand on firmer Limestone but I would have to try it to find out. To come this way you would turn right off the trail above Ice Lake a couple hundred feet after it starts the steep climb up the grassy hillside. Just before it goes along a shallow gully(In which we saw a herd of goats), you head right over the rocky slabs up the watershed on the right. Before long you will see the trails in the scree coming down from above and it will be apparent where to go. There really isn't much of a trail down low for this option. If you want do do both I would recommend Matterhorn first since that trail is solid. I might try the latter if I were just going to do Sac.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6938 ft / 2114 m
    Extra Gain:900 ft / 274 m
    Round-Trip Distance:24 mi / 38.6 km
    Route:Ice Lake trail
    Trailhead:Wallowa Lake  4700 ft / 1432 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:9 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 

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