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Ascent of Indian Head Peak on 2015-08-24

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Dan Conley
Sam Grant -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Samuel Hahn (Stayed behind)
Date:Monday, August 24, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Indian Head Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:7400 ft / 2255 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our successful ascent of Glacier Pk, Sam H was spent, but Dan was itching for a peak after his rest day. Sam G and I wanted to snag Indian Head Pk since we were all the way in here anyway, so we got an alpine start from our camp in White Chuck Basin and raced out to White Pass to ditch packs. We each grabbed a water bottle, some snacks, cameras, and an extra layer and made our way south on the PCT towards the pass to the NW of the peak. From here, we found a nice use trail to a great campsite (occupied) below the slopes leading to the NW ridge of the peak. The initial slopes above this camp were the crux of the ascent as they were steep, but the brush was never tough at all or more than knee-high. We found a patch of blueberries on the way up which resulted in a delay in the walking portion of our day as we filled up on good food! Once the ridge is attained around 6,200 ft, a nice use trail takes you to the summit. Seeing the use trail, we thought that this peak sees a lot of ascents. Reading the register on top dispelled this myth. It sees 2-3 ascents a year it seems. Pretty infrequent compared to its northern neighbor, Glacier Pk, which sees more than that on every nice summer day! The views from the top of Indian Head far surpassed those on Glacier Pk due to much less smoke and great views of Glacier Pk. Dan kicked ass on this one, getting at least one significant peak for the effort of dragging a full pack thousands of feet up Glacier Pk. We bagged both peaks up there as they are nearly identical in height. Per the register on the west peak, Don Beavon and Andy Boos feel that the east summit is higher. We covered ourselves by bagging both of course! Definitely do both bumps to complete this one without any reservations as to whether you tagged the correct summit. The eastern contender is more fun as it has a small section of class 3 scrambling. The west summit is class 1-2 from the PCT to summit. We ran into a few PCT hikers on our descent once we rejoined the PCT. Since we failed to fill our water bottles before ascending, and the peak is bone-dry, we hiked from the summit to our packs without any water. We filled once we hit a nice spring-fed water course along the PCT just past White Pass. I drank a liter and a half in one sitting! The hike out was uneventful, dry, and hot.

While not technically challenging, I rate this peak a 9 for ascent quality as it is one of the finest hikes that I have done anywhere! It is remote and rarely ascended. To get a 10 for ascent quality, I need to break out a rope, skis, ice axe, or crampons....

GPS track White Pass to Indian Head (both peaks) only. Pics
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3300 ft / 1005 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1300 ft / 396 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3300 ft / 1005 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2000 ft / 610 m; Extra: 1300 ft / 396m
    Loss on way in:1300 ft / 396 m
    Route:PCT to NW Ridge
    Start Trailhead:5400 ft / 1645 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Glacier/Indian Head '15 (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Glacier Peak2015-08-23 a11270 ft / 3435 m
2Disappointment Peak2015-08-23 b115 ft / 35 m
3Indian Head Peak2015-08-243300 ft / 1006 m
Total Trip Gain: 14685 ft / 4476 m    Total Trip Loss: 4100 ft / 1249 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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