OverviewThe climbing on the Northwest Ridge of WCP-8 is mostly Class 2 with bits of goat / sheep trail and Class 3 scrambling. It is about .6 mile and 557 vertical feet from the WCP-7 / WCP-8 saddle to the summit. There is little in the way of route finding problems other than deciding which small towers or humps to go around and which to go over. It took us 5 hours from Ocalkens Lake to the summit of WCP-8 traversing WCP-7 (North Ridge up, South Ridge down) then up the Northwest Ridge of WCP-8.
Getting to the 7/8 saddle.
We attained the saddle by descending the South Ridge of WCP-7. This was straight forward and Class 2 & 3.
SawtoothSean states that the South Ridge of WCP-7 (and thus the 7/8 saddle) can be reached from the Bighorn Basin. We looked at the talus and couloirs that would access the ridge and saddle. Several do look climbable, but they all appear to be very steep and full of loose nastiness.
Since we had the time and did not feel like descending unknown loose nastiness or climbing back over the top of WCP-7, we decided to descend west from the saddle into to drainage immediately southwest of WCP-7 and follow it out to the Iron Basin Trail, then return to Ocalkens Lake via Iron Basin. This was definitely the long way around, but it is beautiful and the travel is easy. We were 4 ½ hours from the summit of WCP-8 back to Ocalkens Lake using this route. We are normally slower than most others. This route could be easily reversed to gain the saddle. Note that the Iron Basin Trail does not appear to be maintained. It is in excellent shape and easy to find from Ocalkens Lake to the saddle between WCP-6 and WCP-7. In the basin and beyond, it is intermittent and sometimes hard to find especially where it crosses open meadows.
This route could also be used from the Warm Springs Creek Trail assuming that one could locate and follow the Iron Basin Trail from there.
Saddle Access Photos
VIEW AT ORIGINAL SIZE FOR DETAILS
Route DescriptionFrom the saddle between WCP-7 and WCP-8 climb nearly to the top of Point 10,244. Just below the top and to the west (climber’s right) there is a good goat / sheep trail leading to the first notch in the ridge. From there, follow the ridge going over some small towers and around others. With care, nothing harder than Class 3 need be climbed.
On the Northwest Ridge
Essential GearJust what you normally take for a day of scrambling and hiking.
Fred thought that his trekking poles were worth their weight in gold on all the White Cloud peaks that we climbed.