OverviewThe USGS topo maps have Packrat Peak in the wrong place. It is properly identified on a small map in the Lopez guide, and on the Earthwalk Press Sawtooth Wilderness map. The summit is a tiny granite pinnacle, guarded by fifth class rock from all sides. From a camp at Warbonnet Lake, this peak captures your attention. We found many entries in the summit log from the seventies, but not too many recent ones.
Getting ThereThis route starts at the Redfish Lake Trailhead, just south of Stanley, ID, with a boat ride across Redfish Lake from the lodge. They will also schedule a pick-up time when you sign out. It cost us $13.00 round trip per person in 2006. Alternately, you can circumvent the boat ride by hiking about 5 miles around the lake. Follow the Redfish Lake Creek trail, breaking right at the sign to Alpine Lake (about 31/2 miles). The Northeast Ridge of Packrat Peak can be climbed from a camp at Alpine Lake. For a shorter approach, but more rugged pack in, continue on the trail from the lake toward Baron Lakes until the second switchback, then break cross-country heading toward a small pass just north of Peak 9769. We simply contoured from the switchback corner, taking advantage of talus breaks to climb, and avoided most of the troubles. Follow the ridge south for a few hundred feet, then follow a trail that breaks across the face out right. If it’s early season, you may want an axe, or wait until full sun to cross this section. Without snow it isn’t too bad. Once you hit the next pass, above Warbonnet Lake, the real fun begins. A faint trail will be found that traverses and plunges down the steep dirt face. Camping can be found at any of the small lakes is this drainage.
Red TapeThere is a wilderness permit that should be filled out and left at the trailhead register. There is no cost that I know of. There is mention of a parking permit in the Lopez guide, but as of 2006 it has been repealed.
CampingThe campsites at Alpine Lake are heavily used. If you camp here, respect the closures for revegetation, and be courteous of other campers. If there is water, you can camp upstream from Alpine Lake in a very nice meadow at the base of the approach.
The camping around Warbonnet Lake seems to start at the west end of the upper lake, and gets better as you hike down. As a warning, we saw an enormous amount of rockfall into the water of Little Warbonnet Lake from the Mayan Temple. I would hike on the north side.
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