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Sunlit Summit

Mount Sacagawea

Elevation: 13,571 ft.

Prominence: 432 ft.

Isolation: 0.9 miles

Technical Difficulty: Class 5.0

Mount Sacagawea Guidebook


Mount Sacagawea is named for the Shoshone woman who acted as an interpreter on the Lewis and Clark expedition, likely due to the mountain’s proximity to one possible site of her burial (in Fort Washakie). Sacagawea is a strange peak: its west face is a nearly blank triangle of stone towering vertically over Titcomb Basin, but its east side is a convoluted mess of talus slopes, high plateaus, and glaciers. Still, the summit requires technical climbing to reach, since it is cut off from the eastern talus fields by a gendarme-ridden ridge. The peak itself is really just a protrusion from the north ridge of Fremont, but unlike the other numerous rises on this ridge, Mount Sacagawea has enough prominence to qualify as an independent peak.

General Considerations

Just like Mount Helen, Sacagawea’s west faces hosts several very technical alpine rock routes, but these are sufficiently described elsewhere. To gain the summit by the easiest route, it is first necessary to reach Sacagawea’s eastern slopes. This can be done in any number of ways: see the Mount Helen chapter for information on approaching these peaks from the North Fork of Bull Lake Creek.

The most common way of approaching Mount Sacagawea directly from Titcomb is described below. Beware dangerously loose talus on this peak; at least one serious accident has resulted from the sudden movement of unstable talus blocks near Sacagawea’s summit.

Route 1: East Ridge – Class 5.0, Moderate Snow

From Titcomb Basin, a talus slope leads from the bench above Lake 10598 to a point on the Continental Divide just north of Mount Sacagawea. The slope angles northeast and cuts through several serious cliff bands, offering a surprising class 2+ passage all the way from Titcomb to the Sacagawea Glacier. The lower section requires navigating some low-angle slabs and short rock steps, while the upper part is entirely scree.

From the crest of the Divide, descend east onto the glacier (crevassed) until you can climb south up a mixed snow/talus gully through a break in the sharp ridge which leads to Sacagawea. Beware of major rockfall hazards in this area. From the top of the gullies, turn back west towards the summit, climbing moderate snow slopes or scrambling the lower east ridge to gain a fore-summit on the Divide.

From here, a higher summit rises a few hundred feet to the west, but this too is a false summit. Regardless, it must first be gained in order to continue. Traverse down-sloping ledges and blocky terrain just north of the east ridge to climb up to the second false summit. The exposure becomes dramatic in this area.

Finally, the true summit should now be in view across a disheartening gap. Downclimb tricky terrain on the west side of the ridge, bypassing giant chockstones on the summit ridge. The final short climb to the summit is incredibly exposed; while traditionally rated class 4, it requires pull-up type moves on overhanging blocks, pushing most people’s definition of the grade. You’ll know you’ve reached the true summit when there are clearly no higher summits to the east; there is also a register.

Mount Sacagawea Map

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East Ridge Route
North Ridge Route

Mount Sacagawea Panorama

Mount Sacagawea Photos

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