Ascent of Sacajawea Peak on 2016-08-06

Climber: Mark Smith

Others in Party:Amber Smith
Austin D. Smith
Emily Nagele -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Kaitlyn Nagele
Date:Saturday, August 6, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sacajawea Peak
    Elevation:9838 ft / 2998 m

Ascent Trip Report

Although one can climb Sacajawea more or less directly from Ice Lake, a better approach is to climb Matterhorn first and then traverse to Sacajawea. This approach has two advantages. First, Matterhorn is a fascinating peak and very much worth the extra time to visit. Second, the direct approach from Ice Lake via the peak known as "Sacajawea-Matterhorn Ridge" involves trudging up sand and/or loose scree for about 1000 vertical feet. Not my idea of fun.

Starting from Matterhorn we followed the Sacajawea/Matterhorn ridge on a faint and intermittent climbers trail. We skirted the peak known as "Sacajawea-Matterhorn Ridge" on its west side, trying to neither gain nor lose unnecessary elevation. After regaining the ridge at a shallow saddle, we soon came to the first of three significant rock outcrops blocking access to the summit of Sacajawea.

The first outcrop can be passed as 3rd class on the west side following an inobvious ledge about 20 vertical feet below the outcrop's summit. Also, one can avoid the outcrop by dropping down the west side on a poor trail.

The second outcrop can be taken on as 3rd/4th class, as some in our party choose to do. A safer and seemingly faster approach is to drop down on the west side, following a loose trail which passes between several pinnacles that are not initially visible. Start the descent just before a red-ish hump on ridge that occurs just before reaching the outcrop.

The third outcrop is the easiest of three. It can be taken on as 3rd class, working both sides of the ridge. However, the exposure is impressive and not for the faint of heart. We did not explore the option to drop down below the outcrop.

The return is best done by reversing the ridge and continuing all the way to the summit of "Sacajawea-Matterhorn Ridge," a triple-divide peak. From that summit follow a trail for a short distance east on the Hurwal Divide ridge to a saddle, then drop down on a climbers trail through scree and sand for 1000 vertical feet to a creek that feeds Ice Lake.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:345 ft / 105 m
    Total Elevation Loss:333 ft / 101 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:345 ft / 105 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 12 ft / 4 m; Extra: 333 ft / 101m
    Loss on way in:333 ft / 101 m
    Route:Sacajawea/Matterhorn ridge
    Start Trailhead:9826 ft / 2994 m
Descent Statistics

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