Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chiefs Head Peak

A fun morning tagging a couple of peaks in the Wild Basin I had yet to summit before and revisiting a trail I hadn't been on for several years.  I took off from the Sandbeach Lake trailhead just past the Wild Basin park entrance and followed the 4.5 mile trail up to Sandbeach Lake.  From there, it would be no more trails for a while.  The goal was Chiefs Head Peak, the third highest peak in the park at 13574 feet.  My route up also put me in line to summit Mount Orton (11,724 feet) as well before navigating the North Ridge approach to Chiefs Head.  This turned out to be a great route with only about a half mile of steep, but minor bushwhacking from Sandbeach Lake to timberline just below Orton.  I decided to descend Chiefs Head toward Keplinger Lake and followed the Hunter Creek drainage back down.  A change of scenery from the climb, but a bit more difficult on the "bushwhacking factor".  Eventually, there is an unmarked trail skirting Hunter Creek as it approaches its intersection back to the Sandbeach Lake trail.  A nice little morning jaunt in the spectacular Wild Basin.

15.84 miles with 5508 feet of climbing
GPS data here

A photo tour:
First light at Sandbeach Lake.

Meeker rising above the meadow.
From left: Orton, Chiefs Head, Pagoda, Longs, and partially Meeker.

The "North Ridge" approach to Chiefs Head from Orton, with Mount Alice to the left.

The Glacier Gorge as viewed from Chiefs Head, with The Spearhead front and center.

Hunter Creek (my return route).

At least today I was carrying a much lighter pack than on this prior trip to Sandbeach Lake:

Maddy, age 4.


  1. Great pictures! Looks like fantastic weather and an awesome outing.

  2. Holy Shit bro you crushed it at Pikes! Nice job!!