Chiefs Head Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Southeast ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-10, By: Jay521
Info: From Lion Lake - clear and dry but the loose gully up to the ridge isn't exactly easy.... 
Route: Northeast Face / North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: MC.Ikema
Info: Small snow crossing between Sandbeach Lake and the North Ridge, however, you can skirt around it if desired. No traction carried. 
Route: From Saddle with Alice
Posted On: 2019-07-19, By: Tornadoman
Info: A few low angle snow crossings around and above Lion Lakes. One kind of strange area where we were wedged between a wall and the snow (picture 1). There may be other ways around this spot. Regardless we did not use/want any gear. Never touched snow above 12,000 feet. 
Route: West ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-08, By: dbolton
Info: Went up via saddle with Alice from Lion Lakes trail, went down Orton ridge. No snow on route above tree line. Snow on trail from 1 mile below Lion 1, but not hard to follow boot tracks. Normal route by Trio would need traction but going left about 0.25 miles I found an easy way up that headwall. 
Route: Ascend from Sandbeach Lake, Descend past Lion Lake
Posted On: 2016-06-22, By: appleseeds
Info: The route up from Sandbeach Lake to Mt Orton has a few areas of snow below the tree line, but you can avoid all the snow from there up to the summit of Chiefs Head. The west side of Chiefs Head down to the saddle with Alice is clear too, but there is a lot of snow in the drainage around Snowbank and Lion lakes. Be prepared for very wet feet. I'd recommend following the ridge down from the saddle as long as possible instead of dropping into the basin. The trail from Lion Lake #1 is hard to find and covered in snow anyway. It finally dries out around 10,600, but the journey to that point passes through numerous stretches where snowdrifts alternate with standing pools (4-12 inches deep) of snowmelt. Again, be prepared for very wet feet. 
Route: Mt Orton
Posted On: 2015-11-16, By: emgordon
Info: We only made it about halfway up Mt Orton from Sandbeach Lake. There were no clear boot prints leading in that direction so we forged our own path up a couple drainages until a wind loaded section with some knee+ postholes. I‘ll definitely go back in summer to learn the best route. Other notes: the lake has solid ice on the north and east sides, the snow closest to the lake was "punchy" due to wind, and there is still sand exposed near the shore. Conditions on the trail: TH to junction: dry to icy Junction to creek crossings: icy to snow packed Creeks to lake: solidly snow packed (and all rocks should be covered by the next storm to allow for smooth skinning/snow shoeing) Time estimates: About 45 minutes up, 30 minutes down from TH to junction About 2 hours up, 90 minutes down from junction to lake About 1 hour up, 30 minutes down from lake to highpoint (near top of hill visible west of lake, shy of 11000 ft) 
Route: Northeast Face / North Ridge
Posted On: 2015-09-26, By: emgordon
Info: My comments are only on the path up to the base of Spearhead. The trail is in great condition up to Black Lake, and there are minimal sections of wet slab after the trail ends above Black Lake. Very few sections of dirty ice remain in isolated pockets above Frozen Lake. By the way, even for late September, we got the last two spots at Glacier Basin parking just after 6:30. Some time ideas:​ 3 hours to Black Lake, includes being chased by a moose in the deadfall section above Mills Lake 1 hour to Frozen Lake, and the section immediately after Black Lake is really steep 2 hours back to trailhead, fighting to pass the tourist hordes all the way 
Route: Wild Basin-Sandbeach
Posted On: 2013-01-17, By: Gen131
Info: Road is dry and parking lot is plowed at the Wild Basin entrance, remember it is closed so free to park right now. Trail from TH to Sandbeach lake is passable with hiking shoes only, in a few spots you may break through to ankle deep but nothing too bad. I wore the micro‘s on the way back down just to keep from slipping when trying to make up time. Snowshoes are an absolute to gain Mt. Orton, even with shoes I continued to posthole to waist deep the entire time, destroyed me. Once on top Orton you can drop the shoes and continue with hiking boots only, spikes may be mildly helpful but with all the rock they would probably be a hinderance. The ramp to Chief‘s head is pretty clear with few drifts to navigate around. The hourglass up Alice seems passable with shoes only. The route i‘m trying to do takes me off the ramp to Chief and down the gully to below Alice, anyway got turned around due to complete white out conditions with blowing snow yesterday and never made either summit...SUCKS. I have several pictures of the peaks and conditions if anyone is interested. 

Return to the main Peak Conditions page

© 2020®, 14ers Inc.