This is a high-quality, moderate alpine route. Rico and I climbed in early August of '19 (a big snow year) and the surrounding peaks were white with clean snow. It reminded me of the Alps. There was continuous snow climbing above Lake 12,345 right up to the foot of the Northwest Arête.
We spent 5 hours hiking from Lake Sabrina (~9150') to Midnight Lake (10,988') and spent the night. It was as warm as I've ever experienced at this altitude and the place was thick with mosquitos; the season was late by over a month.
The next morning we scrambled up onto the long, low ridge between Midnight and Hungry Packer lakes and hiked westward. This is a high quality 2nd/3rd class scramble that ends on a small peaklet at ~12,000'. Look for cairns towards the west end of the ridge as it is easy to get off route. We scrambled down off the 50' peaklet onto the large cirque north of Haeckle.
Traversing snow fields and stable talus brought us to Lake 12,345 where we put on crampons and kicked steps up to the base of the Northwest Arete. The transition onto the arête was messy with loose rubble but once on the crest we found excellent rock and nice exposure to the west. We free soloed upward staying mainly on the crest. The arête is more exposed than it looks from a distance.
It took 5 hours to summit and we decided to downclimb the southeast side of the peak, circle around to the east ridge, and descend back to Lake 12,345'. The snow down off the ridge was even steeper than on the ascent.
We were back at camp in 10hrs and enjoyed some red wine from small plastic bottles.
Get these ads out of the page content!