Three Summits in the Eagle Cap Wilderness 20/23-Jul-2016

Eagle Cap Wilderness Oregon

Last year, my adventure hiking partner – Brad – and I did a partially on-trail, partially cross-country figure-8 loop (post) around the Three Sisters in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness (details). That was such a successful trip that we talked about doing something similar this year and, after some back-and-forth with ideas, settled on a similar on/off trail loop in Oregon’s largest wilderness area, the Eagle Cap Wilderness (details). This time around we would try to reach the three most prominent summits in the wilderness: Sacajawea Peak (9,843 feet), its the highest point; Matterhorn (9,834 feet), and Eagle Cap (9,572 feet), the iconic centerpiece of this wilderness and the Wallowa Mountains (it might also be one of the most photographed peaks in the Wallowa Mountains if not in the entire state).  Our basic plan was to start at the Hurricane Creek trailhead, go up Thorp Creek, then over Sacajawea and Matterhorn, then over the divide between Ice and Razz Lakes into the Lake Basin, then up Eagle Cap, and out via Hurricane Creek.  The trip worked out almost as planned but there was still plenty of room for adventure to be a big part of what actually happened.

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Ice Lake (Eagle Cap Wilderness) 8/11-Aug-2013

Ice Lake Matterhorn Eagle Cap Wilderness Oregon


I had managed to live in Oregon for years without making the effort to backpack in the Wallowa Mountains of Eastern Oregon, home of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Some dayhikes, but no real backcountry stuff.  So finally I just made time amongst work, business travel, and everyday living for a quick trip east. Leaving Portland at 4:00AM on Thursday, I made it to the Wallowa Lake Trailhead at 10:00AM – to find the parking area only half full. Predictably – since it’s either the first or second most popular destination in the Eagle Cap Wilderness (the Lakes Basin may be first) – I’d chosen Ice Lake as my goal, with the idea of maybe hiking the Matterhorn and Sacajawea Peak as well.

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