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Sunlit Summit

Jackson Peak

Elevation: 13,523 ft.

Prominence: 739 ft.

Isolation: 0.8 miles

Technical Difficulty: Class 3

Jackson Peak Guidebook


Jackson Peak will forever be known as the summit to the right of Fremont. While the peaks do combine into a natural pairing, Jackson is worthy of an ascent in its own right, and its position at the head of Indian Basin gives a wonderful panoramic overview of this region. Jackson Peak’s distinctive hump-backed profile is recognizable from anywhere along the Elkhart Park to Island Lake corridor, and a low-angled snowfield usually lingers on the summit plateau into the late summer. This mountain was named for the frontier photographer William Henry Jackson, a fitting tribute since the peak is beautifully framed from Photographers Point.

General Considerations

Jackson Peak combines well with Fremont, and the two can be climbed conveniently from one camp in the Indian Basin environs. However, there is no easy traverse between Jackson and other peaks without losing thousands of feet of elevation, so combining it with other peaks in a single day makes for a rather arduous outing. While the scrambling is only slightly harder than Fremont’s standard route, the routefinding can be devious, especially on the descent, where down-sloping ledges and short cliff bands intermingle into a chaotic landscape. As such, Jackson Peak is considerably less popular than other summit climbs in the Indian Basin region.

Route 1: Southwest Face – Class 3, Mellow Snow

Approach as for Fremont Peak’s standard route. Follow the Indian Pass Trail past Lake 11008, up onto an elevated bench, and past several small lakes. Near the last of these tarns, leave the trail to the left (north) and hike up ever-steepening talus fields below Jackson’s south face. As cliff bands loom above, aim for a hidden, left-angling ramp.

The route is not obvious from below but should become clear after some exploration. Climb up small rock steps and bypass steeper gullies as you traverse the ledge until a broad scree field opens up above. Make good note of this location, as finding your way back here is key for descending the route.

Ascend the scree to gain Jackson Peak’s broad upper talus-covered plateau, from which the summit is a short hike away across mellow terrain consisting of frost-shattered rocks and a nearly flat snowfield.

Jackson Peak Map

Jackson Peak Panorama

Jackson Peak Photos

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