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Trip Report    

Sloan Peak/Corkscrew Route

This route has it all! Route finding, creek crossing, glacier traverse, and rock scrambling. And of course those beautiful views.

  • Sat, Aug 24, 2019 — Sun, Aug 25, 2019
  • Sloan Peak/Corkscrew Route
  • Backpacking & Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The road NF-49 to Sloan Peak Trailhead is open and passable by all vehicles. It's a 1-lane gravel and dirt road (similar to the Mountain Highway). 

    The trail is overgrown in many places but does exist everywhere!! Especially at the beginning with all the creek crossings it is easy to lose the trail. Keep your eye out for pink flags on trees. The most difficult spot is once you hit the large sandbar after crossing a field of logs. Walk up the sandbar with the trees on your right and the water on your left. The trail picks up again in the trees to the right but you will need to hunt carefully for it. It may appear there is a trail at the bottom of the sandbar nearer where you crossed the logs, but this is not the trail, and leads to much bushwhacking. Once the climbing begins, the trail is much easier to follow. There are many fallen logs to scramble over and under.

    There is good camping a couple miles up near a stream, about an hour past the Sloan Waterfall. It took us 2.5 hours to reach this camp (that includes a fair amount of bushwhacking at the beginning).

    The glacier is in good shape - there is an ice bridge that may thin or collapse later in the season, but is solid now.  The beta right now is to go up, cross the ice bridge, then trend left, switchback to the right after a long thin crevasse, and finally traverse the very top of the glacier near the large rock wall of the peak. In a nutshell, you want to traverse as high on the glacier as possible, making landfall in the upper corner.

 We appreciated hiking up partway the night before, and we needed those extra hours to route-find on the glacier in the fog and to find the trail near the creeks at the beginning of the trail.

Our timing was:
trailhead to camp a few miles up: 2.5 hours (got lost here)
camp to bottom of glacier: 4 hours
glacier traverse: 2.5 hours (got lost here) 
scramble to peak: 1 hour

The way down took 7.5 hours, which included some time on the glacier playing with ice screws and taking pictures.

Overall, I’d say the potential hazards are, from most to least serious:

  1. getting lost - the crux of this route for us was the route-finding, highly recommend GPS and a good map like CalTopo, we would have been sunk without it
  2. glacier hazards - crampons, ice ax, and a rope required, the ice bridge is the crux at least right now
  3. rock hazards - we found the scrambling to be mellow (we both have a little experience scrambling and climbing in alpine environments)
  4. creek crossings - we found these easy but fun