Sacajawea Peak, OR

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A very classic climb in Oregon's Wallowa range, Sacajawea is a Must Do!

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Dan and I arranged to meet at the Hurricane Creek campground, but at 5:30 on a Friday it was full. With limited cell service, I was parked at the entrance waiting for Dan when the Forest Service LEO showed up. I asked about dispersed camping, and he said it was all full. We chatted for a few minutes, then he said there might be a couple spots.....

So after looking around, I pulled over again to wait for Dan. By accident, because it wasn't visible from the road, we found this sweet little spot. Home sweet home.

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We were on our feet at 7:15 the next morning. Nice trail, cool-to-cold temps. Not a cloud in the sky (but NOAA said 20% POP and thunderstorms by 2PM)

Note: because we're Idahoans, dammit, all times Mountain except NOAA, which was Pacific.

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As you continue moving up Hurricane Creek, you can see our peak washed-out in the bright sun.

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I had way-pointed the approximate start of the unofficial Thorpe Creek trail, based on the satellite view of this log jam. Sure enough, there it is!

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After you cross the creek, the trail is a little vague in the meadow, but we had no problem, despite being distracted by the scenery. Trailhead
After that, the trail is quite pleasant, meandering through the woods as it gained the ridge. Then came the ridge, with steep switchbacks. Lots of them. But again, pretty nice trail with only a few downed trees to crawl over. And even more views. Trailhead
After what I'll call "the headwall", the trail still climbs but at a much more gradual angle. Trailhead
And you have to head south for a couple miles to get into the high basin at the top of Thorpe Creek. There's our peak on the right. Trailhead
The high basin is pretty darn flat. Emphasis on pretty. Trailhead

At the top of the basin, the trail sort of disappears. I missed the turn, so we just did an easy bushwack, eventually finding the trail again just below the toe of the ridge. In about 200 yards, we will turn hard right and start up.

On the way back down, we were able to follow the trail the entire way.

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The bottom of the ridge. You can see tread on the right here. Trailhead
There is a trail, with a few braids of course, all the way up the ridge. The summit is on the dark rock at left. Trailhead

Looking back down the ridge.

That's Hurwhal Divide in the background.

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Almost high enough to start the traverse across to the summit. Trailhead

Here you can see the trail.

Although I rate this Class 1, there is one little spot of steep scramble, about 6 to 8' worth. Ruby didn't even pause.

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From the summit, looking back down Hurricane Creek. Enterprise, OR in the distance. Trailhead
Here come Dan and Carrie. Trailhead

Dan takes the last few steps.

Note Ruby between his legs. She went down to escort them. I can't say I had that much energy left.

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Carrie polishes it off in style. Trailhead
Summit. Trailhead
There was a lot to look at: Blues, Seven Devils, and a lot o' Wallowas. This was particularly cool when we spotted two climbers on the nearby Matterhorn. Trailhead
Then is was time to head down. Trailhead

And down.

We thought this was going to be a miserable descent with steep, loose scree occasionally on hard rock. But I think I was the only one to fall on my ass. And it only took about 45 minutes to get off.

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It was a wonderful climb, but now we had another 5 or 6 miles to walk. As it turned out, those miles were most pleasant. It's a really nice trail, there's a fair amount of shade, it wasn't too hot, and we had a cooling breeze coming in from the north.

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Map

 

 

Dan's trip report

 

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