We climbed Ajax Peak via the East Ridge. From the east (outlet) end of Ajax Lake, we followed a faint, intermittent trail northwest through bear grass and down/burned trees past one bench to to a second, well-defined bench at ~9000'. The crux of the route for us came early getting from the bench to to the ridge proper over very loose talus and scree. Once on the defined ridge the climbing goes quickly and never exceeds 3rd/4th class (with minimal exposure but loose in spots). Near the top of the ridge as the route steepens we traversed ~30-40' left and made our way up mostly solid rock for the final 100 vertical feet. We arrived at the summit ~2 hours after leaving our car at 7600' (we parked just before a spot where a bridge has been washed out and the Continental Divide Trail crosses the road). After a short stop we traversed to the summit of 10,042 in just over 1 hour.
On the descent, we returned to the saddle between 10,042 and Ajax and followed the normal climbers/goat trail to a faint trail at 9000' that breaks north back to the bench at the base of the East Ridge. From the bench, we retraced our steps back to the east end of the lake (recommended) and back to our car at 7600'. This allows you to avoid what looks like a tedious hike down to and around the lake down low. We arrived back at our car at ~2 PM walking at a very leisurely pace. Fun, leisurely day, amazing views.
We drove my Ranger all the way up to the lake. I don't recommend that - the last half mile is pretty steep and intense! There isn't a great place to car camp up there anyway. This is a beautiful area! Great lake, interesting mine, and gorgeous mountains! We did a pretty quick loop up the road to check out the mines and then over to the ascent route where we found the awesome "goat"/human trail up to the divide and then the rock hop to the summit. Really nice up there. Back down the trail, we then detoured over to the Albino Lakes before heading back to the truck. Just a couple few mellow hours to check out this area today but it would be great to come back another time and do something a bit more ambitious around here!
Ajax was a great climb. There were some low snowfields on the Western side of the lake at 9,150 feet, hiding the normal trail. The standard route actually takes you past the Ajax summit and back up the South saddle and up to the summit. I ended up on the Eastern class 4 slope in part because it looked fairly attainable. The only issue was having to lift the dog up a few taller rocks/slides. Ajax provided a wonderful view in every direction!
To answer a previously posed question, I would say the normal route in Montana boy's post is about 1.5 miles if you stick to the trail.
What a great view. The trip report we read was confusing so we wasted time on a bad route, but eventually got on the right path. We followed a mountain goat for part of the way up. A great climb this time of year!
Climbed from ridge on Copper head Idaho side.
Finally got into the area after a tough July fire season. Had a good time, friendly locals, perfect weather. What else do you need?