Cheops and Boiling Lake from Horsehead Pass
Martin Peak is the highest and most impressive peak east of Lake Chelan and south of the Lake Chelan -Sawtooth Recreation Area. Its location, set amidst some of the higher non-volcanic peaks in Washington and some of the most beautiful alpine lakes, makes it a very aesthetic climb, especially in the fall when the larches are ablaze.
Located in the Sawtooth Range of Eastern Washington, Martin shares many of the same characteristics of the east slope of the Cascades. It is much drier, and melts out earlier than the west slope of the Cascades, offering a longer climbing season and generally finer weather. If you are looking for an early season choice of beautiful scenery and moderate difficulty Martin would make a fine choice.
Martin from Pass above Boiling Lake TOPO! Software Image Traversing Ridge to Martin Martin from North
From Pateros on the Columbia River, drive the Methow Valley Highway 17 miles toward Twisp. Just before crossing the Methow RIver for the 7th time, turn left on a narrow country road 1 mile to a Forest Service sign. Turn left on road No. 4340 (North Fork Gold Creek Road) for 6.6 miles to a junction. Turn left on road No (4340)300 for 6 miles to the Eagle Lake trailhead, 4,700 feet.
Take the Eagle Lake Trail 7.5 miles to Horsehead Pass, then drop 700 feet to Boiling Lake (6,900 feet). From Boiling Lake, take a way trail due South toward an obvious unnamed pass (7,400 feet), then drop a couple of hundred feet into the basin, still heading south on parkland for about 1/4 mile. Climb due east anywhere up to the ridge connecting Cheops on the left, and Martin on the right (easy, Class 1). Run the ridge due South towards Martin. Cliffs will force you onto the west side of the ridge. Traverse through Class 2 terrain until under the summit of Martin, then climb straight up (easy Class 3). This is a very long one-day trip (20+ miles), especially considering the fact that it is a very long drive from anywhere. It is much more enjoyable with a camp at Boiling Lake.
A great alpine traverse, easily done in one day from Boiling Lake, would be a Cheops
to Martin Peak to Switchback Peak
high alpine traverse. All three peaks top out over 8,200 feet.
[img:alignleft:small:783655/To the east, Switchback Mountain (8321 feet), Martin Peak (8375 feet), and Cheops (8270 feet), seen from the summit of Mount Leecher (5020 feet), October 18, 2011.
A Forest Service trail park pass is required at the trailhead ($30/year, $5/daily).
There are no other permits required. This is unprotected territory, just south of the Chelan-Sawtooth Recreation Area.
Unfortunately, this also means that this is prime motorcycle territory. The trail is open to horses, bikes, and motorcycles.
When To Climb
Due to an earlier melt-out, the trailhead should be accessible in May all the way through June. Probably the best time to climb would be in May or June, when snow blocks the motorcycles, but permits the foot-traveler entry.
There are free campsites at Eagle and Boiling Lakes, and in the meadows below Martin Peak. There are no permits required, as this is unprotected area.
You can get the latest information on road closures and trail conditions at the U.S Forest Service office.
U.S. Forest Service
Methow Valley Ranger District
Twisp, WA 98856