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Sunlit Summit

American Legion Peak

Elevation: 13,205 ft.

Prominence: 957 ft.

Isolation: 1.5 miles

Technical Difficulty: Class 3

American Legion Peak Guidebook


On the other side of Titcomb Basin from the great wall of Spearhead-Helen-Sacagawea-Fremont, a pair of handsome peaks rises above Summer Ice Lake. While lower and not as steep-walled, these peaks nevertheless offer superb mountaineering in a picturesque wilderness setting. The easier of the two western Titcomb 13ers is American Legion Peak, the only class 3 summit in this chapter of the guidebook.

American Legion offers a good vantage over this part of the range, as it sits at the apex of the Jean Lakes, Peak Lake, and Titcomb cirques. This mountain is also called Buchtel Peak after the pioneering Wind River climber and leader of various mountain clubs, who led the first ascent of the peak.

General Considerations

American Legion Peak can be equally well approached from Titcomb Basin or Upper Jean Lake, and your choice of approach will likely be determined by any additional objectives. Entrepreneurial climbers have reported additional routes on American Legion beyond the ones described here, but few details are available and climbers are encouraged to explore off the beaten path on their own.

Route 1: South Ridge – Class 3+

This route begins from the Henderson-American Legion col, which can be reached from the west by climbing scree above Lake 11665 or from the east by a mix of snow and talus above Summer Ice Lake. From the pass, hike up steep but easy rubble slopes heading north. The mellow south slopes end abruptly at a false summit, and the last couple hundred feet of the climb is a scramble.

Climb along the blocky ridge to a second false summit, downclimb slightly to the west, and scramble up a broken face past a large white dike to reach the summit. The highest rock is a giant fin-like boulder standing on its narrow edge, but there is sufficient space all around the boulder to rest and enjoy the view.

Route 2: Southwest Slopes – Class 3+

This is a more direct route from the Jean Lakes district to American Legion, and arguably the easiest overall way to climb this mountain, though the south ridge is more scenic and enjoyable. From Lake 11665, hike north in a shallow valley to about 12,200 ft., where breaks in the cliff bands allow you to ascend climber’s right.

Clamber up talus (possibly with some snow) on American Legion’s southwest face, which becomes a shallow gully near the top. Join the south ridge route near the final false summit, and finish the route with a short scramble on blocky terrain to reach the top.

American Legion Peak Map

Click title to show track
South Ridge Route
Southwest Slopes Route

American Legion Peak Panorama

American Legion Peak Photos

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