Peak(s):  Clark - 12951
Date Posted:  09/06/2011
Date Climbed:   09/05/2011
Author:  TCUTED
 Clark Peak From Blue Lake  

When I was researching this peak I found almost no available information about it from the Blue Lake trailhead. So I thought I would provide a report and a route description.

While this peak wasn't a 14er, or even a 13er for that matter, the summit was one hell of a hike, and was harder to attain than many 14ers/13ers.

The first part of the hike involves a roughly 5 mile hike up towards Blue Lake from the blue lake trailhead. We made great time up this section covering the whole distance in about 2 hours. Shortly after breaching treeline we took off following the drainage from Hang Lake.

Near the top of the drainage

This is where our trip got interesting, I had planned it out looking at a map and at a picture of Clark Peak from Cameron peak and had drawn out a few possible lines. Once we were at Hang Lake, the lines I had figured were not as obvious as I thought they would be. We were able to pick out several weaknesses in the minor cliff bands that guard the access to the broad (but steep) Eastern slopes that lead up to the summit ridge. In the end, we decided on heading south to gain an(the?) east ridge.

Approaching the ridge

The ridge was enjoyable and we were able to find a little class 3 scrambling if we looked hard enough. Above the ridge it is a steep tundra walk giving way to a boulder scramble, pretty stable some loose rock though...

Nearing the summit ridge, you can see the ridge we followed in the lower left of the photo

Finally after what seemed like an eternity of relentlessly steep climbing we attained the summit ridge. From here it was a quick hop over to the summit, great views of the Rawah Peaks to the north the whole way!

We hit the summit (very happy to see a wind break I might add) around 11am and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Summit view, looking south.

The descent was pretty tricky as we wanted to make sure we didn't end up in the wrong basin with a long bushwhack back to the trail. I will point out that I was very upset with myself for not bringing my Ice axe, as there were several superb opportunities for glissading.

We ended up following along the ridge to the southern summit and then following that down to a very small east pointing ridge. We turned off that ridge and headed northeast down very steep tundra slopes. Descend carefully around others, there isn't a lot of loose rock here, but if you kick one, it goes down a ways. The slope eases and we followed it down to an unnamed lake that sits right about treeline. From here we took a quick compass bearing and headed northeast where were rejoined the trail.

Then begins the long slog out.
I don't know the exact mileage, but probably in the 12-14ish range.
And the elevation gain was about 3500ft.
All and all a great off trail adventure, and a great way to find solitude on a holiday weekend!

Wasted opportunities...

Steep Descent


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

09/07/2011 18:52
I did Clark last September. We did it from Sawmill, approaching it from the Southeast, then took the Northeast Ridge to the saddle north of Blue Lake. It's a great peak.

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