Kendall Peak – 13,451 – “Spencer Peak” – 13,420 – Mountaineer Peak – 13,441 – Mt Rhoda – Whitehead Peak – PT 13109, PT 12829

RT Length: 12.88 miles

Elevation Gain: 4571’

I parked at 10870’, just after the junction for Kendall Gulch and Deer Park.  My truck could have easily made it to Deer Park, but as some of you know, I don’t like passing other vehicles on narrow dirt roads.  I’d rather walk the extra miles.  It was still raining when I made it to my parking spot, and I was soaking wet from the hike earlier, so I changed my clothes and made it an early night.

It was supposed to rain starting at noon (it did) so I wanted to make it an early day. This was going to be a long ridge hike, and I wanted to be off the ridge by noon.

I was on the trail at 4:30am, following the road south for a mile to Deer Park

There was a great place to camp for the night, and this was also where my hike (which I’d made into a loop) would end.

I continued following the road.  I was supposed to follow the road until 10930’, where I was supposed to meet another road and follow that, but I never came across the road.  Later on in the day, I was able to see the road from another mountain, but it was one of those roads that hasn’t been used in several decades (if not longer) and is completely overgrown.  In the daylight I was able to make out bits and pieces of it, but at night, it was completely invisible. No worries though!  I found a simple solution.  At 11,300’ I left the road and headed northeast, aiming for the ridge I could see and treeline.

Now in the basin, I could see a faint trail.  I followed that trail to the saddle

Once at the saddle I turned left, and followed the ridge to Kendall Peak.

Here are some pictures of the route, which was all class 2 and straightforward.  I was so glad I chose to do this hike instead of taking the gully from Kendall Gulch (which I’d tried and failed to ascend the last time I was in the area).  This route was much easier.

I summited Kendall Peak at 6:55am

Kendall Peak:

Here’s looking back on the route in and the saddle.  I turned and made my way back there.

Here are some close up pictures of the route back to the saddle.

Once at the saddle it was my goal to head east, but I was worried the terrain was too steep, and I couldn’t see a trail to get across.  I went for it anyway, and ended up stumbling across a very helpful game trail. 

Once safely on tundra, I turned right and headed west up to the summit of “Spencer Peak” (unranked). This was all class 2.  In fact, the entire day was class 2.

From the summit of Spencer Peak, you can see Mountaineer Peak and Mt Rhoda to the southeast

I turned left again, and followed the rocky ridge south. 

I then turned left again, and followed the tundra southeast towards Mountaineer Peak

I summited Mountaineer Peak at 8:30am

Mountaineer Peak:

I could easily see Mt Rhoda (unranked)  to the south, and headed that way.  This was an easy tundra stroll

To summit, I went to the right of the block tower, and found more tundra (no need to climb up the tower).

Mt Rhoda:

From the summit of Mt Rhoda, here’s looking back on Mountaineer and Spencer

Continuing the loop, I headed south towards Whitehead Peak (unranked), which was another easy, tundra stroll

The summit was flat, but you couldn’t beat the views!

Whitehead Peak:

Here’s looking back at Mt Rhoda

And now on to PT 13109. I headed west, following the ridge

Here’s my overall route

And some step by step pictures

The last bit to the summit was on a bit of an airy traverse, but still class 2, just narrow

I summited PT 13109 at 9:45am

PT 13109:

Here’s looking back at Whitehead and Mt Rhoda

I continued west, towards PT 12829

I came across some ptarmigans along the way

At the saddle I came across an open mine shaft… then continued up the ridge

From here I could see the route I took that morning, and I could actually see the old road, or what was left of it (directly above the cairn)

I continued west down the face of PT 12829.  It was my goal to link up with the Whitehead Trail.  I do not recommend this. Serious route finding is required.  Instead, take one of the many trail that will take you back to the road you hiked in on.  In any event, here’s my route down

I swear there’s an actual trail here… I kept losing it, but then finding it again

I eventually came to Deer Park Creek, and that campsite I mentioned earlier

I then followed the road back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 11:45am, making this a 12.88 mile hike with 4571’ of elevation gain in 7 hours, 45 minutes.

On to the next trailhead!

Kendall Mountain – 13,353

RT Length:  6.19 miles

Elevation Gain: 2742’

Let me begin by saying Kendall Mountain was not my first intended peak of the day, so my stats and topo map are a little off.  I made it to the Kendall Gulch parking area the night before, and slept at 11460’. 

The next morning I rose late, and was on the trail after the sun had risen, at 6am.  The road was easy to follow, and clear of snow the first half of the way.

I was originally headed toward Kendall Peak; specifically, the gully

Here are some pictures of the way to the gully… I just followed the road to a mine

Once at the base, the route looked simple enough:  I just needed to get up the gully to the ridge, and take the ridge to the summit

I’m really embarrassed to say this, but I wasn’t able to get up the gully.  I made it about half way, and it became too steep.  This was worse than kitty litter over rocks.  It was talus that gave way to rockslides, and tiny pebbles over rock.  Even with microspikes on, I couldn’t get traction, and kept slipping and falling down.  It’s a lot steeper than it looks. I tried several different routes, but was unable to gain traction on any of them.  After my fourth or fifth attempt, I started thinking to myself – who wasn’t wearing a helmet – “This isn’t the way I want to die.”  While I might have been able to make it up (doubtful) going down was going to be worse.   I made the decision to come back in the winter and try this as a snow climb, which should provide more traction.  This was a difficult decision to make, but I knew it was the correct one.

So, I backtracked, and tackled Kendall Mountain.  I hiked back to a junction in the road, at 12.265’. 

From the junction, I headed up to PT 12660

From PT 12660 I turned right and followed the ridge northeast towards Kendall Mountain.

Here’s the route I took to the summit (solid line) and back down (dotted line).  You could go up the way I descended, but it would be steep. 

Here are some close-ups of the route to Kendall Mountain

The tundra gave way to small rocks toward the top

I summited Kendall Mountain at 9:20am

Kendall Mountain:

From the summit, when I looked southwest I could see my truck (circled)

I aimed for it, and the road below.  It’s important to head southwest, because the terrain cliffs out if you head directly south or southeast.  This was steep, but it was easy to gain traction.

I made it back to the road, and followed it to my truck.

Here’s a topo map of the haphazard route I took.