Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Perfect Peak - 10,269 Feet

Dan and I had been planning on climbing Montana’s highest peak (Granite) this past weekend, but the early snow from the previous weeks plus, the fact that Dan and I did some long drives over Labor Day weekend, scuttled those plans.  To make up for wimping out, Dan and I agreed to give Perfect Peak in the Sawtooth Mountains a try on Sunday.

We arrived at the Alpine Creek trailhead at 9AM and we on our feet in the chilly morning at 9:30.  We bounded up the trail for the first 3 miles before it split into a couple of use trails going up two different drainages.  We took the right path towards Lake 8523, and then made a hard right at the 7800 foot contour level and started up.

Even though we had yet to see our peak, but were impressed by the SE face of a peak directly in front of us.  This view allowed us to keep our mind off the task at hand – the straight up grind required to reach the 10,000 saddle. 

Once we reached the 8500 foot level the angle eased back for a short bit and gave us our first view of our objective.  And what a view it was!  We were both pretty excited.

After a short break, it was back to the upward grind on the steep slope.  Soon after we started up, we stumbled upon a set of elk tracks and essentially followed the tracks back and forth up to the saddle at 10,000 feet.  The views from the saddle were most excellent.

Alice Lake and El Capitan Peak
Once at the saddle, I pulled out my beta with Tom Lopez’s description on how to handle the final 200 feet of Perfect Peak.  We followed his directions and crossed through the notch on the left, dropped down 10-20 feet and then crossed the loose rocks by staying up against the wall on our right.  Staying higher, we traversed down a bit to obtain the steep chute leading to the summit ridge.
Dan traversing
The summit block (just left of center)

My first hand hold on the steep chute was a large rock that immediately gave way.  Fortunately it only fell a foot onto the larger rock below it.  Now knowing that the rocks were a bit loose, I carefully selected my route and quickly popped up to the summit ridge.  From here is was just a short 20 foot climb to the small rocky summit.  The climb was rated a Class 3/4, but it didn't seem like the route was too exposed for a Class 4 rating.

Heading up (D. Robbins photo)
Almost to the summit (D. Robbins photo)
Dan wasn’t too far behind me and the smile on his face as he reached the summit told the story.

Two more steps to the summit
The views from the summit didn’t disappoint and we could count at least 20 lakes in the area.  The weather was perfect, a slight breeze and sunny, and we enjoyed the summit for 15 minutes to fuel up for the return trip.
Snowyside Peak (right) and Lake 9167

The down climb wasn’t too bad to get back to the saddle, nor was the long stumble down to the main trail.  Once back to the trail, the walk out became a long, hot march.  We eventually did arrive at the car and the waiting cold beer!

Distance Car to Car: 9.4 miles
Elevation: 3200 feet

Total Time: 7.5 hours

1 comment:

larry szurgot said...

John, I spent a lot of time in that area about twenty years ago. I drew a goat tag and shot a nice goat with my bow. There was another guy from Mountain Home who hunted with me for three days and decided it was too dangerous for him and gave up. Not having your skills I do remember having to clean my shorts out several times. One place I had to toss my bow across a small ravine and than jump over. I couldn't even begin to make the hike I did back then. Those rocks are not as solid as they look. Looks like you guys had a great climb.

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen