OverviewDistance from trailhead to Turquoise Lake: 6 miles
Vertical to Turquoise Lake: About 1,600 feet with some up and down
From Lagoon Lake you drop about 175 feet down to Turquoise Lake in about half a mile.
From the outlet of Turquoise Lake to the summit:
Vertical: 2353 feet
Distance: About 1.5 miles
Note on camping: There are very few spots at Turquoise Lake. There are several good spots at Lagoon Lake.
The route does not climb the crest of the ridge, but rather roughly parallels the crest along its south side up a series of gullies. Climbing on the ridge crest proper would certainly be mostly Class 5.
We found the ascent of this route to be far more arduous than one would think based on its length and vertical rise. Nearly the entire route is on steep slick vegetation, scree, boulder fields, talus, and / or in some rather thick patches of scrub alpine trees (snow is possible depending on the year and time of year). Only about the last 200 feet of vertical involve anything that we would call “fun” scrambling (Class 3 / 4).
Approach to the ridge
See the main page for the approach to Turquoise Lake.
The creek at the outlet of Turquoise Lake can be crossed on a log jam. Caution is warranted here as some of the logs are firmly in place, while others are floating…
The first steep slope above the lake is probably best climbed on the climber’s left where sparse vegetation offers better footing than the talus and boulders in mid slope.
Once above the initial steep slope, cross a large boulder field to the small unnamed tarn in the basin below the saddle at the base of the west ridge. The small ridge on the east side of the tarn provides relatively easy access to the final talus slopes leading to the saddle. This final talus slope is not pleasant in that most of the rock is of a size that seems to defy stability
From the saddle you climb a series of 4 or 5 (depending on how you count) gullies which roughly parallel the ridge crest. From the top of each it is an easy traverse into the next. Each one takes you higher on the south side of the peak.
The final gully / couloir is obvious in that it is clear that you cannot easily climb out of the other side because of the sheer cliffs. Climb up this final gully to the base of the summit blocks.
The true summit is the furthest west block.
We thought that it was the next one east, so we climbed to the notch between it and the third one to the east. Then we traversed to the summit from there when our error became obvious.
The last bit to the notch that we attained was a very pleasant fourth class pitch of solid rock. The traverse to the true summit was Class 3 / 4 scrambling.
The notch between the true summit and the first block to its east did not look like it would be very easy, but we did not climb it or inspect it all that closely. We descended back into the gully the same way we went up.
On the Route
Essential GearIce axe and crampons early season.
Some parties may want a rope for the final summit blocks.