Monday, April 25, 2016

Three Brothers (7303') and Navaho Peak (7223') via Ingalls Creek, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Sir Hikes wanted miles and I wanted views, so he proposed a less-common approach to Navaho Peak via the Ingalls Creek trail and Falls Creek basin. Having done Navaho via the normal approach from the Teanaway side last year, I suggested we add on Three Brothers just to Navaho's east.

  • Ingalls Creek: first three miles are clear and then it gets surprisingly brushy (decent amount of alder) for such a popular trail; ~15 blowdowns. Immediately after the confluence with Falls Creek look for a log ~.25m upstream (5.4m from TH on my GPS) that is visible from the trail.
  • Falls Creek: faint trail leads up and east to cross Falls Creek (rock hop or ford) and a couple of cairns mark a well-worn trail to the unnamed creek flowing down from Three Brothers' middle summit. Although maps show an abandoned trail crossing both creeks and staying on the west of Falls Creek the terrain looked very difficult. We stayed on the east side of Falls Creek the entire way up the basin. Solid snow started at 4200'.
  • Navaho Peak: at 5400' we headed west into the large NE-facing basin toward Navaho's summit. Snow was solid and good for snowshoes (me) or microspikes (Sir Hikes). At 6600' SHaL took a steep, direct route to the summit while I trended a bit more toward the gentle north ridge and up to the summit. Large east-facing cornices on Navaho's south ridge. 
  • Three Brothers: we dropped down Navaho's SE ridge staying above the cornices and then descended straight east to the Navaho-Three Brothers saddle at 6050'. Taking the normal route up Three Brothers' west side was about half snow and half dirt/rock where we could actually follow the summer trail. On descent we went into Falls Creek basin from the Navaho-Three Brothers saddle, meeting our tracks back at ~5350'. 

Looking across Ingalls Creek after crossing the log
Scooting the Ingalls Creek log; Sir Hikes photo
Falls Creek crossing
Falls Creek crossing; Sir Hikes photo
Reaching some open slide slopes around 4600'
Upper Falls Creek Basin, Navaho summit back center-left
Some steep sections on Navaho's NE slopes
Navaho NE slopes, Three Brothers main/west (right) and middle (left)

Navaho Peak
Stuart-Enchantment and Teanaway ranges
Navaho's south ridge; we descended the ridge in the mid-ground down to the saddle, then up Three Brothers' west ridge
Big cornice failures and more to come, looking back at Navaho's south ridge
Three Brothers wide summit ridge
Reaching Three Brothers summit
Rejoining our tracks in upper Falls Creek basin
Falls coming off McClellan Peak
Zoom of the falls
Sir Hikes styles the Ingalls Creek log; I butt-scooted


  1. Looks like a fun outing. I'd say you got your views!

  2. I have been reading your blog and continue to be inspired by your trips. Thank you for putting the reports out there!
    Can you perhaps comment (or post) about your footwear choices for snow runs/fast hikes and what you have learnt? Is it just regular running shoes along with something like microspikes?

    1. Thanks Maris :) , glad they are useful! It really depends on the specific day and conditions. For anything that is more than 50% trail (not snow) I'll wear trail running shoes or approach shoes. If the day is more than 50% snow I'll usually wear a goretex hiking boot, though I am so tired of boots after wearing them all winter I've pretty much switched to trail running shoes full time unless I need to wear snowshoes or crampons. Trail shoes with microspikes is a great combo for firm or slightly soft consolidated snow (for me at least). I very rarely wear full crampons (glaciers only, really). Lots of snowshoe action this winter as we had a more normal winter with good amounts of snow. Thanks for the post idea :) , maybe I will do something more comprehensive on the topic!

  3. I really enjoyed your photos! I'm researching routes through the Enchantments for a book I'm writing, so it's always nice to find trip reports with lots of pictures. Looks like it was a blast!

    1. Thanks JK; it's not a TR if it doesn't have photos ;)