South Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.47007°N / 120.8615°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 4
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


The easiest rout to Argonault's summit has been maligned - it's quite pleasant, has little brush, and is mostly class 2/3 with one class 4 move.


Our approach was from Esmerelda basin (at the end of the Teanaway River Rd), over Longs pass, down to Ingalls Creek trail, and 2 miles down to the Fourth Creek junction: total 6.1 miles with 2100' ascent, but will require climbing back over Long's pass on the return.

Sp member Fred Spicker suggests taking the Berverly Creek Trail to the junction with Fourth Creek Trail, then the Fourth Creek Trial to Ingalls Creek. This brings you out right at the base of the route. It is about 5.1 miles with less vertical than Longs (about 1800 ft. to Fourth Creek Pass and then 1200 ft. from the pass down to Ingalls Creek - reclimb on return). Best of all, he says - no NW Forest Pass required to park at the trailhead?!

An alternative approach is up Ingalls creek trail 10.4 miles & 2300' ascent. Factoring in the return, the Longs pass method is 8.6 miles shorter, has better views, but has 1800' more ascent - pick your poison.

The Route at a Glance

Argonaut S RouteLeave the Ingalls Creek trail 50 paces E of the junction with Fourth Creek. At 5600' head E into open meadow, crossing a small creek (A). Ascend and at 6300' head E into the main gulley draining the peak (B). Stay in the main gulley (E fork) at the 6900' fork (C). Either gulley works at 7100' (D), but the left-most is recommended. The final 50' before the ridge crest (E) has one exposed class 4 move.

From the Forest to the Gulley

From the junction of 4th creek, walk 50 paces E and then ascend the fall line in open timber soon following solid game trails. Avoid brush by these trails, staying in timber, or following rockslides. Look for the summit whenever possible - it's smooth reddish slabs are distinctive and obviously high when seen from a distance, but as you grow closer it is useful to know what the summit looks like.

At 5600' head E into a meadow, cross a small creek and continue upwards on W side of meadow and W side of a rocky outcropping, again following game trails. Above the outcropping follow trails up and slightly E. At 6300' contour E into the major gulley draining the summit region of Argonault.

At 5600  on Argonaut S Route

The Gulley

Follow the gulley up and slightly W. Bypass obstacles (e.g. waterfalls) on the right (E), class 2. Ignore a smaller gulley branching off to the R at 6500' and another branching L at 6900' - instead stay in the major drainage. At this point you will be well W of the summit. At 7100' the gulley branches with both forks heading up and R; both forks are reputed to work (they join right below the E ridge); the R gulley is perhaps a bit bigger, but I advise that you take the L gulley, which seems cleaner - follow it up and then R (E) under the smooth reddish summit slabs (class 2 and 3) until you are just beneath the E ridge at ~8200'. Here the forked gulleys merge and the rock steepens.

Gulley draining Argonaut s S face

Gaining the Summit Ridge

The route's 'crux' is gaining the E ridge in front of you. There are three obvious gulley/chimneys to consider (see photos below). The left-most gulley (just next to the smooth slabs) is capped with 2 big chockstones and requires low to mid class 5 climbing. The middle chimney is obviously hard. The rightmost gulley (maybe 50' to the R of the reddish slabs) is easy class 3 except for one exposed class 4 move surmounting small chockstones to the R. Above this move, it is easy class 2 and 3 to the leaning summit block.

Time 5-7 hours from the trail to summit (4250' ascent).

Argonaut s summit ridge

Essential Gear

An ice axe in early season.

A rope and light rack will be overkill for experienced scramblers, but might be welcomed by some.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-1 of 1
Fred Spicker

Fred Spicker - Aug 21, 2009 9:50 am - Voted 10/10

Another Approach Option

Another approach option is to take the Berverly Creek Trail to the Junction with Fourth Creek Trail, then the Fourth Creek Trial to Ingalls Creek. This brings you out right at the base of the route. It is about 5.1 miles with less vertical than Longs (about 1800 ft. to Fourth Creek Pass and 1200 ft. from the pass to Ingalls Creek) AND best of all - no NW Forest Pass required to park at the trail head.

Viewing: 1-1 of 1



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.