Peak(s):  Ice Mtn  -  13,951 feet
"West Apostle"  -  13,568 feet
Date Posted:  08/13/2021
Date Climbed:   08/12/2021
Author:  headsizeburrito
 West Apostle and Ice Mountain from Lake Ann Pass   

West Apostle and Ice Mountain from Lake Ann Pass

TLDR: Wanted to see if you can follow the ridge from Lake Ann Pass to West Apostle, turns out you can!

Stats: 18.1mi, 6,000ft vert

Route along ridge

This was a scouting trip to see how the ridge from Lake Ann Pass to West Apostle goes. I was here previously with Justin aiming to hit all three Apostles from Huron and then exit to Lake Ann Pass on a previous trip (report here) that was cut short due to weather concerns. There are a number of reports on these peaks, but they all seem to access/leave the ridge not far from the summit of West Apostle so I wanted to check it out for myself and provide some info to fill this small gap in the available beta by reporting on the full ridge between West Apostle and Lake Ann Pass. Luckily it's short to this report can be short too!

Three Apostles approaching from the basin
Lake Ann and the pass with the first section of the ridge

I parked at the Huron 2WD trailhead, walked the road, and took the trail to Lake Ann Pass (about 6mi/2,500ft), seeing a couple CTD thru hikers along the way. Luckily the smoke wasn't nearly as bad as last weekend, so views (and lungs) were quite a bit better. From the saddle it's a steep and loose start to a point that gives you a good view of the ridge. The ridge is quite straightforward with some moderate up and down. Terrain is rocky and narrow in places, but almost all class 2. There are one or two points with small notches where you have to drop down a bit and do some easy class 3 to get back up, but nothing complicated. There is a very faint trail here and there but nothing you need to worry about, it's easier to just pick your own line. I ran across two bivy spots set up along the ridge, one about halfway to West Apostle and one just short of the summit.

Looking east towards West Apostle

West Apostle has a nice small summit area, but the summit register is missing and endcap and is empty. From here Ice Mountain looks a bit adventurous, you loose 500' from West Apostle and then regain 900' up to Ice. The descent from West is a little loose and steep, but you can pretty much just take any direct and easy line, there is no exposure to worry about. The climb back up to Ice is a lot of effort, but isn't as bad as it might look. I didn't worry about staying right on the ridge, but managed to be pretty close to it anyway. You basically just find a route using a combination of ledges and small gullies, making sure you are angling up at all times, it would be easy to stay on one ledge and go too far, but you have to gain that elevation eventually so you might as well smooth it out a little. I ran across two cairns so I guess I picked a line others agreed with, but they aren't frequent enough to be useful. Just use your judgement and keep the summit in mind as you pick your line. It's a moderately steep slope so there are moments of exposure as you work around features, but nothing major. There is a mix of class 2 and 3, if you are committed to a line you might go above 3 for a couple moves, or you can backtrack and find a different line. Overall it's time consuming but easier than it looks from a distance, with a mix of solid rock, solid rock with crap on top, and some loose rock. At a couple points you might encounter some small loose gullies that require a little work to get around, but nothing major.

Ice Mountain from West Apostle, with North Apostle to the left.
West Apostle from partway down Ice Mountain

The return trip from Ice to Lake Ann Pass went smoothly knowing the terrain better. As with going up to Ice, on the way back down just aim for the saddle and pick your line, you should be able to keep a good chunk of it to class 2. Going back up to West Apostle is steep and loose in places, but not too bad. From there the hard work is done and you can follow the fairly mellow ridge back to Lake Ann Pass and rejoin the trail.

A vehicular sacrifice on along the road

It was a longer day than I had planned, but it was good to fill in this unknown gap. While the section between West and Ice takes some work, the rest of the ridge is a little easier than I expected, which was nice. Hopefully I'll be back soon for a bigger adventure!

Higher resolution images posted to imgur here.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Comments or Questions
08/17/2021 07:39
You've got some good route finding instincts. Getting between Ice and West Apostle would probably confuse the hell out of me.

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