Trip Report    

Unicorn Peak/South Side

Combination with Boundary and Stevens Peaks

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Avoid the bushwhack descent from Stevens Peak described on Summitpost (

Party of 2.

Left car at 10am. No snow until after Snow Lake with a small scree section, followed by good snow climbing. No crampons needed though other climbers reported needing them earlier in the morning. We didn't use ice axes but some may choose to. Moat crossing was not problematic, scramble on rocks above it was easier than it looked. 

Upon reaching the ridge between Unicorn and Boundary, look left to find the summit. We initially weren't sure if the ridge was the summit. Three hours from car to base of climb. We climbed the 5.0 variation and used a couple of nuts on the upper part. The 4th class variation does look quite exposed. We used a 35m single rope which was just the right length both for climbing and rappelling. 50m or 60m would be longer than necessary. The climbing is very short.

From Unicorn, we traversed to Boundary which was very easy, as long as you follow the ridge and faint trail along it, avoiding the cornice on the left. Keep going around the back (SE) side of Boundary for the easiest (class 2/3) way up.

Returned to the midway point of the Unicorn/Boundary ridge and pulled out our ice axes (but not crampons), descending quickly through snow, avoiding cliff bands, to the Boundary/Stevens broad pass. At the cliff band on the first part of the Stevens ridge, we ascended on the south side of the ridge, which was steep thin hard snow over matted grass. It wasn't scary but it was tedious and slow going. Descending this way might have required crampons. Not sure if you could just stay on the ridge itself. Upon reaching the ridge from here, we transferred to the north side of the ridge and climbed/traversed good snow and gained the ridge (no crampons necessary in the afternoon) and walked up from there on class 1/2 terrain to the summit. On the descent, we opted to stay on the north side of the ridge in the snow which was much easier, with one slightly difficult section of descent through mixed snow/rock with veggie belays. It also seems like it would have been easier to ascend on the north side.

We decided to follow the Summitpost descent from Stevens Peak into the Maple Creek drainage. It would probably have been easier to ascend 1000' back to Unicorn and descend from there. When descending into Maple Creek basin, you must really go as far skier's left as possible (more than you think). We thought we had gone as far as possible but ended up downclimbing 4th class next to a waterfall. Climbed up from the beginning of Maple Creek on a hard snowpatch and bushwhacked through a few trees to reach the plateau. From there, reached the ridge leading down next to Snow Lake, walked down it until in line with the north end of the lake and bushwhacked down 600 vertical feet of slide alder which was not fun (as claimed) but pretty miserable and slow going with veggie belay on the slide alder the whole way down to the lake. Rejoined the trail at this point.

Going from Unicorn to Boundary and back adds at most an hour.

12 hours car to car.