Distance: 11.4 mi.
Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft.
We arrived at the Stafford Creek Trailhead at 9:30 AM and backtracked from the parking area past the privy a bit until we reached the trailhead on the right. We began a slow, steady climb right away. It was pretty toasty outside and Stafford Creek was really roaring alongside the trail. There were occasional blowdowns to cross and we reached intermittent snow at 4,000 feet, which made it challenging to follow the trail because there weren’t any trail markers. We pulled out the GPS and went in a generally northeast direction. Meanwhile, the snow became more consistent at about 4,500 feet.
We crossed a couple of minor creeks but didn’t hit any major obstacles. We traversed east on a snow field until we reached the southeast ridge of Navaho Peak at about 6,500 feet.
From the ridge, we found a spot on the northeast side without a large cornice above it in order to descend into the northeast basin. We had been avoiding putting on gaiters to this point because it was so warm, but we finally brought them out for the sloppy descent. We did still cross a potential avy path if a cornice were to drop, so we moved through here quickly. We then continued eastward to the west ridge of Three Brothers.
We traveled on scree and soft snow and ended up doing some brief 3rd class scrambling mid ridge. We wished we had brought helmets for the crumbly rock, but managed to work our way up without harming one another.
Did I mention it was hot? It was at this point that Craig started luring me up the climb by handing out Clif Bloks. It wasn’t really necessary, but it sure didn’t hurt.
When we finally reached the summit, we opened the weathered summit register to find a half-empty register which had been started in 2002! I guess this hike isn’t super popular even when it’s dry. One note: you may want to avoid sitting down on the summit because we both found wood ticks on ourselves 😦
We decided to descend on a more southerly (skier’s left) route than our ascent route. This had a couple of advantages: we got to descend a long snow field, glissading part of the way; the rest of the descent was largely on soft scree, and the ascent, one gully further southeast (just north of Freedom Peak), was safer to ascend without ever being below any threatening cornices.
Another great day out in the Teanaway!
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
Recommended brew: Rogue Honey Kolsch
- Aluminum ice axe (Craig)
- Glacier glasses
- Helmet (didn’t bring but probably should have)
- Hiking boots
- Microspikes (brought but not used)
- Trail runners
- Trekking poles
- Whippet (Vanessa – wished I had an aluminum ice axe)