Climb of Perfect Peak

Date of trip: 09/07/2014

Mileage: 9.93 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3489 Feet

Time: 7 Hour(s) and 27 Minutes

Class: 3

Partners: John F.

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Perfect Peak10269609SawtoothStanley, IdahoNoNo43.9193, -114.9474

Trip Report

John and I were going to go to Montana to climb Granite Peak, but we'd both done a lot of driving the last few weekends and decided we'd like to sleep in on Saturday and not spend the weekend staring at the windshield. Therefore we decided to do a peak in the Sawtooths.

We chose Perfect Peak. Perfect Peak is a gorgeous peak that sits on the ridge that divides Alpine Creek and the Alice Lake drainage. We knew from previous trip reports that it would be a great scramble once we got near the top.

We hit the road early and were on our feet and hiking on a warm and perfectly clear fall day. The route follows the Alpine Creek trail for about 3.25 miles, then climbs the southwest slopes of the peak to the 10,000 foot saddle between Perfect Peak and Point 10072.

The trail up Alpine Creek is in decent shape, but there is some deadfall and areas where washouts have made the trail hard to follow.

Once we left the trail, the southwest slopes are steep. We followed elk tracks that amazingly went where we were going. From 7800 feet to 8500 we were on steep, forested slopes. At 8500 feet we reached a bench (shown on the topo). He we rested and viewed the rest of the route. We decided a rib just climber's left of our location was the best route. It looked nasty, but it wasn't too bad.

The route really moderates around 9700 feet, where it becomes sandier and with fewer trees. Then we reached the saddle at 10,000 feet.

The views from the saddle are great, but we didn't hangout long as we were excited to take on the scrambling section above us.

We climbed up to a rock point (above John's head in the saddle picture below), backtracked down and west a bit, then traversed north under the rock fin. This led us to a small saddle. We again traversed northwest and to a notch to our left. This then required one last short traverse to the north to one final notch. The final notch is steep and there is a bit of loose rock in it. The climbing is fun. The last 20 feet are scary because there is exposure on both sides, but the climbing is easy and the rock good.

The top of the peak is a small perch with great views! We counted over 20 lakes and enjoyed the scenery on this fine day. I was a bit nervous to get down the technical section so I could relax, so after a lot of photos, I started down. It was a lot easier and soon I we were back at the saddle and starting what would be an exhausting hike out.

Instead of retracing our steps, we banked further east at the basin at 8500 feet. When we reached the trail again, John remarked we were about to embark on a "death march". I was more optimistic and thought to myself it'd go quick. An hour later, John was sitting under some shade when I topped out on one of many hills we had to climb on the way out. I had to admit that he nailed it, it was a death march!

Trailhead beers lifted our spirits, then dinner at Bridge Street Grill in Lower Stanley had us back to normal and ready for the drive home.

Here it comes, the cheesy line you've been waiting for... the perfect day on the perfect peak :-)


Getting There

Get to Alturas Lake. From the lake, follow the paved road that continues west. Not long after it turns to a dirt road. The trailhead is around 2 miles past the lake.

There is adequate parking for dozens of vehicles here and a bathroom. Sedans can get here.


Hiking Directions

Follow the trail a short distance, then it branches. Take the right branch signed for Alpine Creek. Follow the trail approximately 3.25 miles. Get onto the forested slopes angling to the saddle between Perfect Peak and Point 10072.

It appears that you can also follow the trail a bit higher as it wraps around to the north heading toward Lake 8523. The trail was really deteriorating, so we left it earlier.

The top is complex, but I tried my best in the trip report above to help guide you through how we went.


Photos

View Slideshow

Alturas and Alpine Creek Trailhead
Alturas and Alpine Creek Trailhead
Alpine Creek Trail
Alpine Creek Trail
Perfect Peak
Perfect Peak
Nearing the saddle at 10,000 feet
Nearing the saddle at 10,000 feet
10,000 foot saddle south of the peak
10,000 foot saddle south of the peak
Last 200 feet
Last 200 feet
Traverse a ledge to the summit block
Traverse a ledge to the summit block
Nearing the summit of Perfect Peak
Nearing the summit of Perfect Peak
Looking southwest
Looking southwest
White Cloud Range
White Cloud Range
Alice Lake
Alice Lake
On top of Perfect Peak
On top of Perfect Peak
John downclimbing
John downclimbing
Pine Marten on the way out
Pine Marten on the way out
John's photo of me nearing the top
John's photo of me nearing the top




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