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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Axis Peak

Axis Peak from Eightmile Lake June 2021

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Unpleasant bushwhacking with lots of fire-downed logs from lake outlet to the north slope gully.  The gully was good travel, stable talus then good snow above. The south slope was snow-free, rambling rising traverse through rock and trees. 

    Mosquitos were bad at Eightmile Lake but mostly vanished by 21:30. 

We met at Eightmile Lakes TH at 06:00 due to hot forecast. Set up camp at the first/east camping area at Eightmile Lake and started scrambling around 09:20. Crossed the outlet stream and endured unpleasant bushwhacking, lots of downfall, en route to the gully that runs up the north slope of Axis, culminating in a saddle about a half mile east of the summit. Once through the bushwhack, the gully was good, mostly stable talus then snow. From the saddle, we did a rising traverse across the south slope to the summit, clambering over rocks and minor bushwhacking, arriving around 14:15. We lounged on the summit for about an hour.

On the descent, we opted to try going around the west end of the lake instead of the east end, to avoid the bushwhack at the east end of the lake. That went well at first, but we were cliffed out around 4850'. Then we tried to traverse directly east and the bushwhacking was impossible, literally impassable. We had to bushwhack back up to 5100' to get back on our entry route.  Returned to camp around 20:30, too tired to make dinner. 

Research suggests that the approach from Lake Stuart is easier and is the standard route these days, due to all of the fire-downed trees  near Eightmile Lake. We tried this route because I had an Eightmile Zone permit and it is the Mountaineers database route.  Once you reach the gully, it's quite good--if you return the same way.