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Peak(s):  Apache Peak  -  13,450 feet
Navajo Peak  -  13,419 feet
Date Posted:  09/27/2022
Modified:  07/09/2023
Date Climbed:   09/25/2022
Author:  Gibson135
 Arapaho & Navajo, West Chimney   

Indian Peaks Wilderness has definitely been one of my themes this year. Earlier this summer I decided at the last minute to add ShoShoni to a long trail run starting at Monarch Lake, and as soon as I looked out and saw Apache from there it immediately became a goal for the near future. I had also always wanted to hit Navajo at some point since first reading about it’s relatively rare cone shape, but hadn't actually looked into it very much.

This was the first official class 4 route I’ve taken so my report here is meant to be from that perspective.


For this trip I downloaded the GPX file from this report


The hike up to Isabelle Lake and the glacier lake is a pretty simple hike for the most part. I was a little surprised there was still such a defined trail on the right after the glacier lake. After making my way up from there on the brief switchback and then heading west, I realized I probably should have headed left/south a little sooner when I got to Isabell Glacier, but that was still cool to see.


Heading South now, looking directly at Navajo, I got the general idea of where to take a sharp right and then left up to the saddle. The loose rock gets a little old, but other than a couple of places where a wrong turn would make things a little more difficult for me, in general it was pretty easy and straight-forward. Still, I was glad to reach the saddle to take a quick break. The view here was already spectacular and worth it.

I found heading North up to Apache Peak surprisingly quick and easy. The view from there was just awesome! The day was very clear so Longs was very easily seen along with the rest of the long list of views. Having taken the trail from Monarch Lake to Lone Eagle and then up to the Pawnee Pass and Shoshoni early this summer, that was certainly my favorite part of the view from up there.




Most of the way over to the notch was surprisingly simple which was nice. I’d consider this all class 2 till it starts to drop down to the notch and Dicker's Peck. Here, I made the mistake of going left at first near the drop and soon realized it would have been better to stay right and ended up going back up about 50 feet to do so and work my way down to the Peck. I'd say this is definitely class 3 for a little bit. I stayed left to go around the ol' Peck. Someday with more experience I would like to climb up there. It's pretty cool just seeing it though anyway. There was something on top of it reflecting a bright gold color too.


The route is pretty obvious from here going right and wrapping around until the chimney. Like someone else said, it looks more challenging from the other side of the notch. While you don't want to fall off to the right, there's a lot of space here - no need to worry.

The West Chimney was the first section I’ve ever hit labeled as class 4 so I took my time working my way up here. I was feeling a little leg cramping and decided to take a break for a few before heading up the chimney. I've gotta say, it’s really pretty solid. There were only two spots that came loose checking the hold. And the places to hold and step onto stays consistent. Below is a 90-second video showing the climb if you want to take a look and get an idea what it's like. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I felt this is probably a good, relatively short and solid intro to class 4. It took a total of 10 minutes and while somewhat challenging, didn’t seem as unstable and difficult as I assume some other class 4 areas probably are.


After that I stayed right and looped around to the top. Of course the view was great there and I felt excited having just done my first class 4 section. I spent some time resting for a few and taking in the view. Having spent so much time looking into the chimney I never really looked too much into finding the route to Airplane Gulley. With my legs being a little worn out, I eventually found what seemed like the easiest route heading south briefly and then left to head east downhill.



As everyone has already reported, the Airplane Gulley was not much fun and kind of long. I was definitely glad I didn’t have to go both up and down this route. Being worn out, the rest of the way seemed to take much longer than it did that morning.


Some ice about halfway down the gully


Some of the wreckage left on the airplane gully

It was definitely a great day and I can’t wait to take on some more class 4 routes. This also looked like it would be a fun adventure to hit in the winter. I definitely wouldn't mind hitting the Peck sometime now that I've been up there too.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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