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Sunlit Summit

Henderson Peak

Elevation: 13,124 ft.

Prominence: 800 ft.

Isolation: 0.7 miles

Technical Difficulty: Class 4+

Henderson Peak Guidebook


Henderson Peak is a rarely climbed, relatively low-elevation 13er in an area of high, famous summits. However, its sharp sweeping ridgelines and symmetrically steepening summit cone are worthy of another look. Most climbers will stick to the classic peaks on the other side of Titcomb, but if you find yourself returning to this area many times, an ascent of Henderson is a worthwhile intermediate step between the famous peaks and true obscurity.

Henderson Peak was named for Kenneth Henderson, an author of an early mountaineering handbook and a pioneer of Wind River climbing. He led the first ascent of this peak in 1936; a summit register was placed on the second ascent (in 1943) and records fewer than 50 ascents to date.

General Considerations

Like American Legion, Henderson’s standard route can be equally well approached from the Titcomb or Jean Lakes sides, though the approach from the Jean Lakes is both shorter and easier. The north ridge of Henderson Peak and the south ridge of American Legion Peak combine nicely for a fun day in the mountains.

Route 1: North Ridge – Class 4+

Climb easy scree above Lake 11665 or steeper talus and snow above Summer Ice Lake to reach Henderson’s north col from the west or east, respectively. The climb begins abruptly above the col with some class 4 steps below the crest of the ridge on the west side to gain a flatter section above.

The middle section of the climb consists of several steep steps broken up by flat sections and stacked ledges. The terrain is complicated enough that a step-by-step route description is useless, since each party will follow a slightly different path past each obstacle, but the route is never hard to find: just stay near the ridge crest and look for obvious west- or east-side bypasses when a gendarme blocks the way.

Much of the ridge looks ferocious from afar, but as you get closer, the inset ledges and jug-like holds reveal themselves. The final ascent to the summit looks very difficult even while climbing the lower part of the route, but upon closer inspection, the face is blocky, and the route can be kept class 4 with careful routefinding.

Route 2: Southeast Ridge – Class 5

Gained from the Titcomb side near the saddle with the Great Needle of the Titcomb Needles, this route involves lots of scrambling, a short but dramatic knife edge, and a few sections of steeper climbing.

Henderson Peak Map

Click title to show track
North Ridge Route
Southeast Ridge Route

Henderson Peak Panorama

Henderson Peak Photos

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