This one had been haunting me ( rfbolton report below ) and I knew I had to go back and stick a fork in this one to get it done. Tom and Shelby, both fellow summit posters drove thru the night from Corvallis Oregon to meet me at the TH, arriving at 4:30 a.m. to do so. I had been sleeping in the back of my Honda Accord (my cheapo motel) and they quickly grabbed some very needed shut eye.
We started up the trail at 7 a.m. and summitted in gorgeous weather. Actually, it was almost too unbeliveably warm for a Sept day. Tom ( Cornvallis ) picked off The Matterhorn as well making it a twofer day for him. Shelby and I were content to wave at him from our lofty perch on top of Sac. Tom can really cover ground and took less than 45 minutes each way, to me a pretty impressive time considering the terrain. The only negative on this trip was discovering a flat tire when I got back to the TH parking area. That didn't take away from the great day and the great companions that made this one special. Watching Tom glide along that traverse will always remain an amazing memory.
This is a great route. The Thorp creek trail is unmaintained and unsigned but it is a good trail, steep in parts that leads you quickly up to the meadows where we saw myriads of animal tracks all over the place (including bear and cougar). The climb up thesoutheast ridge is spectacular in places. Great summit views, outstanding. Don't go solo on this one, take a friend so you can hear each other go "Wow" time after time. A 4star trip (15 miles round trip with 4800 feet of elevation gain) We were back at the cars at 7p.m. so plan on taking most of a day to do this one. Beward of thunderstorm possibilities in the summer. Fall is a great time to do this one.
SummitPost members Dean and Dennis Poulin had climbed Red Mountain in the southern Wallowas the day before, so we were already somewhat worn out. That plus a short night of sleep and we all were feeling rather fatigued from the get-go. Indeed Dean's legs refused to take him higher than the upper Thorp Creek basin, but losman90 and I continued up the ridge to the summit. This is the ONLY way to climb Sacajawea in my opinion.
This summit had very special significance for me as it was my final Oregon county highpoint, being the highest peak in Wallowa County. So I'm the 3rd person known to have visited the highest point of each county in the state. www.cohp.org
climbed this solo and had the whole thing to myself and some crows that were circling around me. one of them even swooped down towards me with his talons out, but was easily shooed away. it was an odd experience. I did not see any goats, but saw some hoofprints from them as well as some manure on the ridge up to the summit. lots of scree. had decent views of the other wallowas and could see the strawberry range as well as the seven devils in Idaho. Aside from the crows it was a pretty fun first trip to the wallowas.
Fun, scree filled, adventurous scramble to reach summit. Incredible views, unfortunately no goats.
Nice day until the lightning and rain started at about 11:00 am.
Climbed the Matterhorn from Ice Lake and then traversed over across the ridge. It wasn't too bad for anyone that's at all into rock climbing, but it does require some scrambling.
This was my second time summiting Sacajawea. The first was traversing (in the scree) from Matterhorn. For the second time I went with a crafty climber named Bob Rittenhouse, who is always looking for something new. He had espied an excellent coulior on an earlier trip, and invited me to go check it out.
Climbing in the Wallowas in the winter is crazy, because the wet snow and freeze thaw cycles make for terrible avalanche conditions, but we caught a good streak of weather, snowshoed in, and climbed the route. It wasn't as steep as we had hoped, but we certainly had plenty of climbing solitutude.
Climbed the Matterhorn and then traversed below the subsummit between it and Sacajawea on the west side. Reached the saddle and scrambled the ridgeline over one gendarme but got stuck on the next one. It turned about 4th class maybe harder. Was alone and did not think it wise to climb further with lots of exposure on each side. Talked to others who tried afterwards and they agreed and had backed off as well. Would have taken too much time to traverse lower on the scree so I went back to the subsummit, walked the ridge on the Hurwal Divide to a scree field and surfed sand all the way down to Ice Lake. Will go back soon and try the Thorp Creek Trail route.