Ascent of Indian Head Peak on 2008-06-29

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Date:Sunday, June 29, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Indian Head Peak
    Elevation:7400 ft / 2255 m

Ascent Trip Report

EN: "Unlike the majority of mountains on this page, Indian Head is actually a fairly scenic mountain. It can be found South of Glacier Peak and features excellent views of that volcano. There are two contours of equal elevation at the summit but the SW peak is most likely higher and the register can be found there.

We elected to visit from the East because it was early in a snowy year and we wanted as much of the trail to be melted out as possible. Unfortunately it was very hot that particular weekend and temps into the 90s left us drained of energy. Additionally, the heat caused massive amounts of snow to melt and so several small creeks became more formidable with the conditions. In total we had 20 creeks, 10 each direction, to cross that required either finding a log or taking off our boots and fording the narrow and deep streams. But these are unusual conditions and future visitors are unlikely to encounter such problems.

Our route was from the White River. We parked at the end of the White River Road at ~2300'. From here we hiked the trail along the W bank of the river for 2 miles or so and then turned left up Indian Creek. We followed this trail to some point as close to Indian Pass as we could manage and camped. Along the way we had to cross a long and nasty swath of avalanche debris with trees strewn everywhere.

The next morning we headed up the remainder of the way towards Indian Pass. In a clearing at about 4700' we lost the trail in snow and so we headed up the mapped gully which curls clockwise up into the basin below the peak near the 5604 spot elevation. From here it was a mix or snow, scree and steep grass to the summit. It probably was no worse than class 2 although there may some route-finding to avoid trickier terrain. I don't recall the specific details but once you are above tree line it should be easy enough to navigate by sight without detailed beta as we managed just fine that way. We then traversed over to the E summit which I rate as maybe easy class 3 but we were fairly confident that the W summit is highest. Our descent route was the same as our path upwards and we made it out after a long second day.

This route isn't necessarily recommended, but it gets you to the peak. You can also come in from the North Fork Sauk River via White Pass from the North. Or you could come in via West Cady Ridge. Or by Johnson Mtn. There are trails approaching from numerous directions so it is easy to build an itinerary that gets you near Indian Head. For those seeking a more challenging option it is possible to traverse over from Mount Saul to Indian Head but it may (or may not) require a rope or at least dropping off of the ridgeline proper." --Eric Noel, June 29, 2008
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5700 ft / 1736 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Round-Trip Distance:24 mi / 38.6 km
    Route:Indian Creek / South Slopes
    Trailhead:White River TH  2300 ft / 701 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Fricking Hot
Ascent Statistics
    Time:9 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:16 Hours 

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