Peak(s):  Audubon, Mt  -  13,223 feet
Paiute Pk  -  13,088 feet
Date Posted:  09/04/2010
Date Climbed:   09/03/2010
Author:  mennoguy
 A beautiful day for my 100th 13er  

"Notabon" 12,706
Mount Audubon 13,223
Paiute Peak 13,088
Mount Toll 12,979
Pawnee Peak 12,943
Shoshoni Peak 12,967
~12 miles 4900 ft
Partner: Steve Knapp

After climbing Mummy Kill plus two on Wednesday and two easy 13ers on Thursday I wasn't entirely confident I could do this traverse. After looking at the stats and seeing the elevation gain was not awful I decided to give it a go. Steve contacted me on Thursday stating interest in this traverse so we met near the pay gate at Brainerd Lakes at 6:30. By 7:00 we were hiking up Audubon's gentle east slopes.

The hike up Audubon was gentle but seemed to last forever. At the top the wind picked up and we were worried that it would be like this the entire day. Getting over to Paiute was very straight forward, just follow the ridge. I thought the difficulty could be kept at class 2 the entire way, but what is the fun in that. I took a more direct line and scrambled on easy class 3 ledges up to the top. The wind had died down considerably by this point. Paiute was my 100th 13er and Steve's last 13er in the IPW. It is a fine summit with excellent views. I felt the pull of the Lone Eagle Cirque.

Mount Toll

East Ridge of Pauite


Southern Indian Peaks

Mount Toll's north face looks almost impossible to climb from Paiute. To get to the face we had to hike and scramble down a curvy ridge to the base. Once at the base we traversed towards the west following a faint trail and cairns going generally up. Finally we reached the crux of the route, it was rated at class 4, I felt like it was at best class 3+. I would call the short section of loose class 2/3 junk right after the crux as the hardest part of the traverse (maybe it was just the most annoying). One could follow the gully all the way to the summit ridge but we took a sportier class 3 route which veered left from the gully. Once on top of the ridge it was a short scamper to the summit. This was my 50th 12er, I was knocking down milestones on every peak.

Toll on the traverse

The crux

Getting to the top of the gully

Looking down the gully

Looking west

I knew the hardest part of the traverse was over, now it was two easy walk-ups left and the long hike out. Pawnee was very easy, just hike up the talus slopes to the summit. Shoshoni looks more interesting and it involved a long section of side-hilling on mostly solid rocks. The summit block was exposed but provided the best views of the day. Now it was time to hike out. The side-hilling was annoying but went pretty quickly. On the trail we were able to make very good time and were back to Long Lake by shortly after 3:00. Steve took a dip in the lake while I relaxed by the shore. The one downside to doing this loop is that we had to walk 1/2 mile on the road to get back to my car. On our drive out we saw two bull moose grazing in the willows by the road.

Isabelle Glacier

Navajo and Airplane Gully

Lone Eagle Cirque

Some notes on this traverse: It is a lot easier than it looks, especially Toll's north face. I highly recommend taking the more solid class 3 ledges in the gully instead of following the loose talus/scree junk to the top of the ridge. Consider parking at the intersection of the Long Lake road and Mitchell Lake road. On some weekends this may be your only option. Overall this was a very nice traverse and the weather could not have been better.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Doctor No

Nice photos!
09/04/2010 16:18
Looks like you couldn't have asked for a nicer day.

Not as crowded as I was expecting.
09/04/2010 19:25
I was in the same area yesterday. I saw the bull moose in the willows too. Barely a cloud in the sky. I hiked up Pawnee from Long Lake and then picked my way down to Blue Lake and out to the Mitchell Lake TH. It was nice.

Brian C

Love the IPW
09/04/2010 23:55
Looks like a great day! That is a great route.

Steve Knapp

Fun day
09/08/2010 17:14
It was great to get out with you again. What a perfect day for this. A nice way to get all five peaks. Any more that that would be tough as the ridge to the south (Apache) doesn't go and the ridge to the north (Algonquin) also doesn't go too well.

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