From the Wild Basin Ranger Station trailhead follow the directions for Bluebird Lake and Ouzel Lake. Pass Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and Ouzel Falls along the way. At the fork for Thunder Lake and Bluebird Lake keep left. Ouzel Lake is about 5 miles from the trailhead.
Once at the lake, cross to the south shore and try to locate a faint trail that crosses the thick forest. In any case, be prepared for some major bushwhacking that will take you above treeline. Head south until you can easily turn right on talus and proceed along the east ridge of Copeland Mountain. From the trailhead to the summit the distance is about 7 miles and the elevation gain 4700 feet.
If you climbed up this route, just retrace your steps. If you reached the summit via another route (e.g., from the southwest
) pick one of the uncountably many lines down the broad east ridge, taking care of not going too much towards the north face
where you would cliff out
. In other words, do not aim for Ouzel Lake: stay right. Once you can safely turn left, engage in strenuous boulder hopping and bushwhacking on steep terrain amid plenty of fallen trees. Now aim for the lake, where it is easy to cross the outlet stream and join the trail back to the Wild Basin Ranger Station.
Standard hiking gear during the summer. Ice axe and crampons may be needed if snow or ice are present.
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