Type: Trad, Alpine, 11 pitches, Grade III
FA: Stettner brothers
Page Views: 43,766 total · 197/month
Shared By: Pinklebear on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This moderate alpine rock route is classic both for the quality of the climbing and the sheer ambiance of the wall it tackles. The long approach to Lone Eagle Peak ensures solitude, and the cirque itself is unmatched for beauty in the entirety of the Indian Peaks.

Despite the moniker, most of the climbing takes place on the east side of the peak. Scramble southeast up a steep grassy slope for 200 yards from Crater Lake to the base of the east face. The route starts from the talus field just over the crest -- look for a large, tree-filled bench.

P1. Climb wet black rock (5.4) past a pin, aiming between the two large trees on the bench.

P2-4. Follow a 5.0 ramp up and south (climber's left), climbing over, around and through numerous trees en route. You can break this bit up or simul-climb. It's mostly 3rd and 4th class. It helped me to scope this bit out from the valley below and to the east of the peak, since only the final pitches are visible from Crater Lake.

P5. The ramp ends at a grassy gully which splits the east face. Climb broken rock (5.3) straight up this cleft to the base of a deep, water-streaked chimney.

P6. Climb the chimney (5.5), making use of the positive face holds on the right wall to get past a few tricky spots.

P7-8. Grassy slopes interspersed with occasional rock steps (5.4) lead to the top of the cleft, which deposits you on a huge ledge system below the summit cliffs.

P9. 3rd or 4th class south up blocky ramps to reach the summit cliff band.

P10. The crux! This 150-foot pitch follows a pair of twin cracks on the northwest-facing summit headwall, about 100 feet west of the prominent arete where the east and north faces meet. You will most likely need to move right and down from your last belay to reach the start of cracks. Don't be suckered into trying the diagonalling twin cracks closer to the arete -- it's off route. You'll know you're on route if you pass 4 old pins. Move right from the top of the cracks past a spike. Belay above on a huge ledge.

P11. Move your belay about 100 feet south (left) along the ledge to the base of a left-angling 5.4 corner/chimney. With a 60 meter cord you can reach the top of the peak in one pitch from here. When the chimney peters out, either belay or continue wandering up broken rock (choose your own adventure) to the summit.

P11 Alternate. Take the striking hand crack up the center of the northeast face at 5.8. It takes solid pro with finger and hand jamming to a great ledge just below the summit. Optionally belay here, or finish off the summit if you have a 60m.


A light rack should suffice for this route. Bring 1 set of stoppers, some mid-range TCUs, Camalots to #3 (doubles in #1 and 2), and plenty of long slings.


Descend the Solo Flight route (Class IV), which heads south along and near the summit ridge before dropping east to Triangle Lake.

Review the descent trail on this map!

Before you start, scope it out. You can see a large gulley to the southeast that looks tempting. Do NOT take this! You are aiming for the notch up to right of the top of that gully, which is higher than you are standing now, and farther than that gully. You will go through that notch and down the other side, which you cannot see from the summit. Most people will stay roped up all the way through to the notch.

From the summit, walk south on the summit "sidewalk" about 50 feet to where it peters out. This will not look like a good idea from the summit. Climb down easy blocks to the east (left). Head down and south following many good cairns. You will eventually reach a large ledge that goes hundreds of meters on fairly flat and easy ground, passing by some large boulders on the way.

When you reach the couloir below the notch, climb up low 5th class terrain on extremely loose, rubbly crap to the notch. Place pro in the sides of the gully on your way and try not to shower too much rock on your partner!

Once through the notch, the challenges end. Follow cairns as best you can, heading for triangle lake far below. There are many cliffs to avoid, but the many paths will work and it's not hard to avoid them.

Once you get near the lake, contour around to the left until you hit the meadow below. Follow the left side of the meadow (probably using the rock bench to stay out of the bog) back to the trail.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
This climb is not as committing as one might think. Before the crux pitch, when one reaches the ridge, you can simply walk down scree slopes on the west side of the ridge. This is a good thing to keep in mind if thunderstorms threaten early, or you want to bypass the first 9 pitches of the climb for some reason.

Also, the first 9 pitches are quite easy and can be soloed or simulclimbed, depending on your comfort level with this. Be wary of wet rock, however. Feb 19, 2002
Partner Peter Roth and I were looking for a good workout with some easy climbing in the middle and so we focused on Lone Eagle Peak from the Brainard/Long Lake trailhead. Roach has the distance at 20 miles with about 6 k ft of vertical.

Beautiful walk but a marginal climb. As the authors above point out, the first 9 pitches are not much to write home about. The 5.7 crux pitch is enjoyable with good exposure, but honestly a little "spicy" at 11,000ft with a pack. Be careful in the gully at the bottom of this pitch as Peter kicked off several suitcase-sized boulders that appeared well anchored. Helmets were well appreciated as there is an ample supply of loose rock. Don't make the mistake on the walk-off of heading down too early. Continue southeast up and over a small ridge until you can walk straight down to Triangle Lake. The Gully we headed up had a pin and lots of loose rock.

My advice would be to come up to Crater Lake for a couple of nights, climb the 5.7, 5.4 final pitches and then spend the rest of the time exploring the surrounding rock. Lots of first ascent possibilities and probably no shortage of harder crack routes. Aug 26, 2002
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
Stefan Griebel   Boulder, Colorado
We climbed it today, and the route itself is in great shape. However, if approaching from Brainard over Pawnee Pass, allow yourself a couple of extra hours. The west side of Pawnee Pass along Pawnee Lake is still loaded with soft snow, and the trail is quite difficult to follow. After an hour of bushwacking and occasionally post-holing in our approach shoes, we finally crossed the drainage to where there was no deep snow. But alas, a huge avalanche had taken out a 1/2 mile wide swath of fully grown trees! It was incredible! It looked like a warzone - huge trees tossed about like toothpicks and completely obliterating the trail in that section. After navigating through the evergreen chaos, there is hardly any snow all the way down and around to Crater Lake and the base of Lone Eagle. The Mohling Traverse was in excellent shape as well, with only spots of soft snow that were easily navigable in approach shoes. If nothing else, it would definitely be worthwhile to just go and check out the avalanche destruction! Jun 29, 2003
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
Stefan Griebel   Boulder, Colorado
Also, the Long Lake (and Mitchell Lake) parking lots are still closed, so show up early and/or bring a bike! The closure sign says "Closed for the winter season". However, there is no snow to be seen along the road or anywhere in the parking lot, so I really have no idea why they're closed. Jun 29, 2003
My brother Jon and I climbed last Tuesday. First time at Crater Lake - what a place! Hard to believe it's in the Indian Peaks. Had a great climb, though had been raining a lot for a few days and there was a lot of mud and water on the route. We made the mistake of veering left at the top of the 5.5 chimney to climb what we thought was the short wall and grassy bench that Roach describes. Don't do this! Follow the obvious gully all the way up and over rock steps and it will be obvious when you are at the base of the crux pitch. We got into fairly tough climbing and kept going farther and farther left, way out over the West face, before we could cut back on ledges to the gully. At that point we were cliffed out and had to rap about 50' back to the ground, and had wasted about an hour and a half. By the time we got to the crux weather was threatening so we walked off - next time! Will definitely be back. Aug 29, 2003
We climbed Lone Eagle last season and did a couple of variations. Essentially we disregarded the entire ramp system, described by Samet as the first nine pitches, and headed directly up the main buttress slightly east of the upper pitches ( we began climbing to the north west of the ramp system). The climbing was technically moderate (5.6 or 5.7), but may have been the mental crux of the climb, with vegetated, hard to protect seams. The fact that it drizzled on and off may not have helped the situation. After sitting out an afternoon rain shower we continued up the Stettner pitches and did a variation to the summit. Instead of curling east around to the chimney you can either go directly up through an offwidth/awkward seam (5.10 or so), or go east for a short distance to a beautiful and obvious hand crack (5.9 or so) to the top. The hand crack offers an extremely exposed option with some great aesthetic moves. One other note, we did the route from the Monarch Lake trailhead, as a one day affair. After waiting out the typical afternoon thundershower, the endeavour turned into a fairly long adventure. If you don't bivy at the wall be prepared for a full day. Sep 6, 2003
Lone Eagle Peak changed my life forever. After running in from Monarch, with climbing gear, 80 oz. of water between my partner and I and very little else, we had a brief lunch at the base, and began scrambling to the top. Our ascent of the approach pitches we're done mostly solo and very fast. At the grassy ledge below the summit headwall we ro-sham-boed for the lead and I won (sort of). Although Roach's book states clearly that one must spend some time studying the rock before firing off, I took a variation far left of the intended, easy 5.7 route, tunnel-visioned on a piton thirty feet up above a flake. I made a placement about fifteen feet above my belay using a twenty year-old Chouinard Camalot. Leading confidently above on the clean face, the climbing felt no harder than 5.9. Still fixed on clipping that piton, I stepped up and gripped the top of the flake just below the pin. The size of a big screen TV, this piece of granite pulled away from the wall a few inches with me on it. Instinct took over, and for better or worse, I let go. The flake stayed and I fell, more than sixty feet, on one old cam, into the chasm below and right of my belayer. I impacted blunt talus on rope stretch, and was shot into the wall by the recoil of the taut cord. I screamed there for a moment, conscious with adrenaline and unable to assess the extent of my injuries. With fear-born strength, I scrambled up the gully, twenty-five feet to the grassy ledge, and my terrified and surprised friend. I had severely sprained both ankles, gashes on my shins down to the muscle, bruised ribs, bruised elbow, and severely bruised tailbone. Ed Graef, the man whose grip saved my life, set up every rescue rappel to the ground while I laid on each meadowy perch, unsure of survival. It took us three hours to get down. The epic only began there. After taping my ankles and finding some walking sticks, we trudged out until darkness. We took the wrong trail in the dark, unfamiliar with our surroundings due to our aggressive hike in. My whipper occurred at 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon, in late September 2001, and we reached the car at 10:30 the next morning. I've never been back to Lone Eagle; never been to the top. If you've read all of this, I hope you found a lesson, if not helpful beta, in there somewhere. Jan 18, 2004
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  

Jed Williamson, editor of Accidents in North American Mountaineering & former president of the AAC is interested in getting more details from you regarding this accident. He hopes to get information out there to help others learn from the mistakes of fellow climbers. Can you contact him & provide more details? (jedwmsn@sover.net) Jan 20, 2004
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
A true mountaineer's mountain. I wouldn't give the route 3 stars because of all the hiking you do on the peak itself. It seems like we practically hiked up the 1st 5 pitches with the exception of a few roped simu-climbed sections. The beta on the site is good. I'd like to clarify 1 point for those of us who get disoriented easily. Before you start P11, the above states to move the belay 75' South, move the belay 75' left to the 5.4 chimney. The top of P10 is a chimney with an overhang. This is NOT the 5.4 chimney. As far as the descent, we took solo flight part of the way and then we hiked down to a point where we expected to be able to keep walking off. We were just to the left of the gully. My partner and I were able to rap the entire route. We reinforced the weaker rap stations, with the exception of the 1st rap which consisted of a pink piece of webbing slung around a boulder with 2 rap rings. The webbing is crackling a bit due to weathering so I'd suggest you back that one up. There was some interesting, I guess you could call them artifacts, up there on one of the raps, I believe the 3rd from the bottom. Remnants of hemp rope was still in tact. I've been shut down on this peak 2 previous times due to weather. It was nice to finally summit. Beautiful, beautiful peak! Aug 9, 2004
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
Ah, hello Tracy! I see you have come here first to add your comments about our route last Sunday. I was going to add the same comments about the mistaken chimney. To elaborate, know that the harder chimney has one rusted ring piton just below the roof.

Also, on pitch 1, you can tell you are on the original starting slab if you see a rusted piton about 15ft. up.

Matt Samet's beta was pretty useful for us. I lost my copy of it to the wind on the summit. To find the correct twin cracks, you need to almost walk off the ledge to the right and into a narrow slot. Below you is an even more massive, grass-covered ledge several hundred square meters in size. Your twin cracks have lots of flakes and laybacks and ledges to rest on. I found two pitons on my way up, but I started on the left crack and traversed right near the top. I used all of my slings up and ended up using a nut as a sling on one of the pitons. Very fun. Aug 9, 2004
Great route. Should probably be done in Lederhosen and hob-nailed boots, if you have them. Only route I've ever been on where you get to belay in a meadow of columbines in full bloom. Apart from 3 or 4 clean pitches, climbing itself is mostly so-so, which in no way detracts from the route, which is why I give it 4 stars anyway. Just make sure you're expecting more of a mountaineering experience and less of a clean technical climbing experience and maybe you'll agree with my rating. Or not. Anyway, I liked it. One neat thing about it is that the mountain looks intimidating yet has major lines of weakness that aren't easy to see from the ground. Make sure to calculate in some time to reverse the Solo Flight route from the summit, especially if you haven't been on it before. Jul 6, 2006
Chris O'Connor
boulder, co
Chris O'Connor   boulder, co
I've never been on this mountain without "epic'ing". It is a classic route for the mountaineer. The actual climbing when you get to it is good, but relatively short for the size of the route. I think the crux can easily become the descent. The cairns are misleading, and there is a lot of 5th class situation you can easily find yourself in. This is heavily complicated once the sun goes down. Studying the descent is far more important than studying the route up. This is a serious mountain, keep that in mind and have fun. Sep 11, 2006
J C Wilks
Loveland, CO
J C Wilks   Loveland, CO
The route is GREAT FUN in a fantastic setting and mostly real easy but, the cairns on the descent are definitely misleading. We carefully followed a good series of cairns to an obvious notch near a corner of the ridge where it goes from N/S to SE/NW. It was clearly marked with a stack of large rocks at a steep descent to the south. It does go around the west then north down the scree and talus but, it is very loose near the start. I was on 5.2-5.3 when I was hit by a good sized rock fall on my shoulder and ankle. I'd recommend taking the time to do Solo Flight to learn the descent before doing the North Face. Enjoy! Oct 4, 2006
Mike McMahon
Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT
Mike McMahon   Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT
I climbed this route yesterday and found it to be overall very enjoyable. The rock is certainly loose in places, but compared to other ranges, is actually quite solid. I made the mistake of climbing the incorrect 5.4 chimney on p11 that Tracy refers to earlier. After seeing the old fixed pin, I thought for sure I was on route, but it didn't take long to realize this overhang was certainly harder than 5.4. After hanging out in that chimney for eons, I finally aided it with a #13 stopper. The summit is spectacular and well worth the effort! Spectacular scenery! Sep 9, 2007
Just got back from a trip up Lone Eagle and wanted to add a few additional thoughts to the information on this site. We had a fantastic time, and would highly recommend the route. As others have mentioned, I'd categorize the climb for the most part as more of a steep adventure hike than a sustained climbing route, which is not to say it should be taken lightly or diminish the route in any way, its certainly worth doing, and there is some real climbing, particularly on the 5.7 twin cracks pitch. We used a combination of Roach's guidebook and the information on this page, and overall found the route finding on the ascent fairly easy. The route essentially follows the path of least resistance to the top, and keeping this in mind should hopefully keep the route-finding difficulties to a minimum. The only other beta I'd add on the ascent is that on the "twin cracks" pitch, we traversed down and to climbers right to access the rightmost crack, which appeared to be the easier of the twin cracks to climb (there was a rappel sling at the base of this crack.) About half way up the pitch you need to veer right to some lower angle cracks to the top of the pitch. I initially started to continue directly up the "twin cracks" when I glanced about 20 feet to the right and noticed a piton or two on the lower-angle cracks. I eventually down climbed a bit and continued to the right on easier terrain past 2 fixed pins to the top of the pitch (again, keep "path of least resistance" in mind.)

The descent, however, proved to be much less straight forward, and trying to reverse the description of Solo Flight from Roach's book was challenging at best. A word of caution that the decent is not very intuitive, there are a lot of misleading cairns directing you down the wrong gully, and it would be extremely difficult and dangerous to do in the dark. Although rated class IV, we were very happy to have a rope with us on several sections - there is no question that a mistake at several points would be fatal. It probably goes without saying, but I would recommend allowing plenty of time for the descent as the summit ridge took longer than anticipated to navigate and would absolutely not be a place you'd want to be in a storm or in the dark. The key is to remember that the gully you can see from the summit is not the correct descent (there was a fairly well worn trail and several cairns from people who have apparently made this mistake in the past) - you need to go up and over several small summits on the ridge to the second gully, which can not be seen from the Lone Eagle summit.

From memory, here is a quick description of the descent from the climber's summit: Climb up the ridge about 30ft to the Lone Eagle summit proper (there are a couple of slings and a summit log). Continue along the narrow ridge until it becomes too narrow to walk (some great photo ops here). Drop down a series of ledges on the left to some grassy benches that can be followed for a couple hundred yards towards the notch in the ridge above/ahead of you. About 100ft from the notch, do NOT be tempted to continue down to the gully, but somewhat counter-intuitively climb back up to the ridge on some steep class IV terrain (75 ft or so). Follow the ridge through the notch, at which point you'll drop down on the climbers right side of the ridge. Follow a faint trail for another 100ft or so, at which point you'll cross over the ridge again to a talus field that leads down to triangle lake. We unroped and changed into our hiking shoes here.

Great mountaineering experience. Best of luck! Jul 7, 2008
9/20/08: The route was soaked from last week's snow dump. The runoff coated the rock in a slippery and frozen slime early in the morning- making even the 4th class moves spicy. Andy and I climbed it car to car in about 12 hours- with much time lost for wet rock re-routing and getting lost in the vertical meadows comprising much of the route. A few quick impressions:
1. The route climbs much farther left than you would ever assume as you see it on the approach. Remember to go left after the 5.4 first pitch. Walk up past several trees and grassy benches. There is a 5.0 slab/chimney that must be negotiated, then more meadow leading up to the 5.5 chimney.
2. If the 5.5 chimney pitch is very wet, as it was on my climb, the rotten corner 20 feet to its right goes at about 5.5 too. This corner was also wet and gear was tricky in the rotten rock. However, it looked better than the thick, black slime of the chimney. The corner tops out in a steep, jagger-ridden meadow. From the top of the corner, head left past much grass and easy rock bands then up to the rock gully that gains the "cleft" below the summit bands.
3. The 5.7 crux pitch felt easier than the loose, frozen, wet and rotten remainder of the climb. It took excellent gear, offered nice jams and had good rests to rewarm our hands.
4. The summit is excellent and should not be missed. However, I think this mountain makes much better sense as a trail running/scrambling adventure, and I would probably take the Solo Flight to summit in the future.
5. Descent: This is the way I went and found it pretty straightforward. Facing away from the summit tip, drop off the summit sidewalk to the left on some ledges. You will stay on the left side of the ridge for all the tricky sections of the descent. Make some 4th class moves as you descend towards a large and flat ledge with cairns. Do not continue descending into the obvious gully below. Instead, follow cairns across the big flat ledge, go behind a big boulder until the ledge peters out and looks tricky. Now, head straight up for about 60 feet of 4th class to gain easier ground near the ridge. Go left on this easier ground, making a tricky 4th class exposed move (follow cairns) just before gaining a notch in the ridge. Go through the notch, making a short down climb move. Go left again, regaining the ridge at an obvious notch. This signals the end of the difficulty. Follow faint trails down and right, switchbacking to avoid cliffs. At some point we were supposed to trace closer to the cliffs and end up at the start of the route. However, we hit the point just above Triangle Lake and continued down into the boggy, flat meadow below. This required some bushwhacking to the left to get back to Crater Lake. The meadow was swampy.
I would rate this unique route TV 4+ and give it 2 stars. That is Technical Vegetation, grade 4+. Compare this to other climbs on the TV scale like the Grass Hummocks pitch on Pingora (TV 8) and the shale hillsides I used to climb back in Ohio. Enjoy. Sep 22, 2008
Boulder, CO
talkinrocks   Boulder, CO
This route is a pile. If you like steep grass climbing and a little bit of chossy rock, and a big approach then this is the route for you. If you like good alpine rock, go to RMNP. All in all it is a good experience with spectacular position but otherwise the aesthetics of the line make it hardly worth the walk. As many have mentioned many times above, the descent can be tricky to find. DO NOT FOLLOW THE FIRST BIG GULLY ON THE EAST SIDE!! It cliffs out many times and a slip here could be costly. We did the rappel route, just be careful of loose rock above big cliffs (a few of the stations require one to walk or scramble between them). Many of the rap stations could use some beefing up and possibly moved to stronger rock. To find them use the large ledge system on the south-east side of the summit to the large ledge below. Look for the first rap anchor on the left around a large clump of trees or continue scrambling down ledges (watch out for bowling ball loose rocks!!) to the next station as the first station has a history of getting ropes stuck. About 6 single rope rappels should get you down.

I think there could be some good quality lines on the west side of this choss pile, but I haven't heard of any. Oct 28, 2008
Falmouth (MA)
proto   Falmouth (MA)
Stephanie and I climbed it after camping at Crater Lake. The description of MP is better than that of the guidebook. Overall, finding the line is not a problem: follow the most obvious one. We kept the hiking boots all the way up, which is the good solution, don't bother carrying climbing shoes. The descent via Solo Flight is quite obvious as well, provided you know that you mustn't take the first deep gully. No rope needed for the descent.
Nice alpine route in a remote location. Jul 13, 2009
  5.7 PG13
  5.7 PG13
More beta for the descent: once on top of the ridge there is just one way to go the get out, south. You have to go to the second ridge, passing the crossing ridge and drop on the second gully/valley, the one farther south, facing east. The one that is closer to triangle lake. The walk off should be easy, if its too steep, it's not the correct gully.
Details: once on top, drop east a bit, go south and then come back up through a short slabby area/rock (always on the rock). Then pass through two pillars on the right (west) as if you where to drop on the west side, then turn back left (east) and go for the opening on the ridge, past the crossing ridge (east-west), then follow your instinct (you don't need to get close to the triangle lake).
Good luck!
It's a Great climb!!! 100% worth it. Sep 30, 2009
John Korfmacher
Fort Collins, CO
John Korfmacher   Fort Collins, CO
If you're expecting clean, continuous rock climbing, this route will be a disappointment. If you desire a classic mountaineering line on good rock in a spectacular place, do this route; it's one of the best.

The black, 5.5 chimney above the initial ramp is a bit of a grovel but not too bad. The good stuff starts on the 5-easy stuff on P8, which has enjoyable movement and decent pro if you're not comfortable soloing the pitch.

Many people do this climb in approach shoes or boots, but I would recommend packing climbing shoes anyway for the 5.7 on P10. It would be a great pitch anywhere, well-featured with good pro, but long (45m), sustained, and exposed. I disagree that a light rack is sufficient for this pitch. I used everything from a #00 Metolius to a #11 Hexcentric and was glad to have all of it. A BD #3 protects the bulgy and exciting crux near the top of the pitch. Sep 20, 2010
We wish to contribute information about the descent after climbing the North Face Route. Even thought we read the description of "Solo Flight" and many helpful comments, we got lost for about an hour trying to find our way down. The confusion arises because the description of "Solo Flight" is for going up, and it is hard to picture the sequence in reverse after climbing the North Face. So here is a description of "Solo Flight" narrated from the top of Lone Eagle.

Once you reach the top via the North Face, you must remember that Lone Eagle peak is not an isolated peak, rather is a prominence along the ridge. As so, you will eventually find yourself climbing *higher* than the summit you just finished in order to get down via solo flight.

  • First go south following the ridge for about 60 feet.
  • Look for an easy spot to descend into the east face of the mountain and start climbing down while traversing to your left (left as your are facing the wall). It is easy to put two or three pieces of protection to avoid a large pendulum because although the climb is easy, it could be wet, etc. Stop at the large ledge and reconnect with your partner.
  • From this ledge, you should be able to see towards the south about two hundred feet away a gully that runs straight down the mountain. The gully looks inviting and you may even be able to distinguish what it seems to be a path. DO NOT GET TRAPPED INTO DESCENDING THAT GULLY. As we found out, it is just a waste of time and it is rather dangerous.
  • Continue hiking/climbing to left/down (you should be heading south on the East face) until you get to a grassy ledge. By now you should be 40 yards from the gully. Look up, not down!!! You will be heading up that gully.
  • Start climbing up, rather start scrambling on loose rock up, and you will see that the gully has a Y that breaks it up into two gullies. We took the rightmost, but I believe it is to the left you should be climbing. Any of the two gullies will do, so please pardon our confusing here. In any case, your goal is to climb back up to the ridge where you should/will CLEARLY see Triangle Lake.
  • Climb up the gully and realize that it gets a bit stepper at the end, just before getting on top of the ridge. You may consider using your rope, it is just a third class but it is very loose and it is easy to slide down. Tell your partner to wait (and belay) to the side, because it is easy to send rocks rolling down.
  • Now you are on the ridge again, HIGHER that the summit of Lone Eagle Peak. Now Solo Flight is really a hike down towards Triangle Lake. The descend on this side of the mountain is very beautiful, just grassy slopes full of flowers (at least when we climbed it it looks like heaven). Just a final comment, you will go towards Triangle Lake for a while before doing a 180 degree and continue hiking towards a large meadow created by the stream that comes down from Triangle Lake. We leave the rest of the description aside because it is easy to follow.

In conclusion, if you find yourself doing any hard moves going down inside a gully, you took the wrong path, just like we did last weekend :-). We went down for a while until the gully turned into the cliff of insanity and stopped to re-organize our thoughts. Luckily we have printed and carried with us the descriptions of both the North Face and Solo Flight. Despite being tired, we climbed back up the gully which saved the day. Aug 22, 2011
Ted Peterson
Boulder, CO
Ted Peterson   Boulder, CO
Super fun climb/hike. KNOW THE DESCENT! We dropped down into the first gully where some trails and cairns seemed to lead and cliffed out. Hoped we could do just one rap and hike out, but it turned into 5 raps on a bunch of old gear, tat, and unstable talus. Looks like jgarcia has a good description for descending Solo Flight in this comment thread. Do that. Have fun. Aug 24, 2013
B Conchie
  5.6 PG13
B Conchie  
  5.6 PG13
We completed this climb on 22nd August, 2013 and had the mountain completely to ourselves. I really can't understand the poor route or descent choices that some climbers make on this route. The two principal difficulties seem to be finding the crux pitch and following the initial sections of the Solo Flight descent. I have provided some descriptions and photos in a blog article here - indianpeaks-runner.blogspot…

I thought the crux pitch was soft for 5.7. It is a spectacular pitch and well worth having to climb through some of the lower dross to get to. Aug 27, 2013
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
The whole route was wet! Get ready for some alpine gardening.

Bailed at the base of the crux pitch as we were greeted with lots of rain/sleet.

Long day c2c, beautiful. Aug 24, 2014
Castle Rock, CO
aikibujin   Castle Rock, CO
The beta photo posted by B. Conchie for the Solo Flight descent is not the correct path. Both gullies marked in that photo are dirty, loose, and full of rocks that will slide with the lightest touch. The correct path climb up to the ridge on some exposed class 3/4 terrain before you get to the loose gully marked in the photo.

The crux 5.7 pitch really is the best pitch on the whole route, everything before the crux pitch wasn't very enjoyable. It is possible to go to climber's right from Crater Lake and scramble all the way to the crux pitch (also a good bail-off option in bad weather), thus bypassing all the jungleering on the route, probably a more pleasant way to climb this. It may seem a long way to hike in just to climb two technical pitches, but seriously the whole route only contain three technical pitches, and the chimney pitch wasn't all that great. Aug 6, 2015
Evan Gohring
Evan Gohring  
What an epic of a mountain! Highly advisable to do Solo Flight first so you know the descent, if you can. A lot of the descent tends to be rather unintuitive if you are seeing it for the first time from the top. We only roped up for the chimney pitch, the headwall, and the last pitch. However, we passed folks who were roping up for every pitch; do what is comfortable. Bring a camera to the summit, and don't underestimate the descent. Sep 11, 2015
William Thiry
Las Vegas
William Thiry   Las Vegas
Truly a classic mountaineering route to one of the most spectacular summits/ridges you could ever imagine. Those who need an unbroken series of clean rock climbing pitches need not apply. If you are looking for a classic mountaineering adventure on a remote peak that should not be taken lightly to a remarkable summit surrounded by a dramatic setting, then this is for you. Route-finding is imperative on this for both the ascent and especially the descent. Somebody should remove the cairns that sucker people into the extremely dangerous first gully (why are they even there?). The chimney pitch halfway up the route is terrific 5.6 climbing on solid rock. The 5.7 climax pitch is airy and somewhat intimidating - and fantastic. The final summit pitch(es) are nice little adventures further to the left than you may expect. And remember, the descent involves traversing exposed terrain far up the ridge PAST the first large gully and over into the next drainage above Triangle Lake. Sep 14, 2015
Can someone comment on the twin cracks of the money pitch? Are they nice hands? Just trying to plan gear. Thanks. Mar 8, 2016
Just finished climbing the North Face Route this last weekend. The beta we had going into it was a jumble of multiple sources, and route finding was interesting with all the variations. See my blog post for a more detailed description.


Search Lone Eagle Peak. Jul 28, 2016
Christchurch, NZ
JuliaMV   Christchurch, NZ
Great alpine route! Climbed last weekend. Very helpful pitch descriptions and notes from others made for a pretty straightforward climb/descent. A bit swampy returning through the meadows back to the lake though. Also, my partner dropped one of my (brand new) micro nuts at the bottom of the last pitch - enjoy! Sep 22, 2016
Dan S.
Red Feather Lakes, CO
Dan S.   Red Feather Lakes, CO
This is a fun and chill outing for the non-discriminate climber. As you may have read, some folks don't enjoy the scrambling and loose rock associated with this route. Personally, I found it to be adventurous and an all around good time.

Zane Edwards and I climbed the first 4 pitches solo. If 5.5 soloing is within your abilities, then I highly recommend it. Then we roped up for the rest of the climb, well, mostly.

After pitch 7 you'll encounter a wide ledge area with a beautiful wall ripe with potential. I couldn't resist and climbed a 5.8+ up the middle of this wall. See the route description for "Sound of Music".

See post byleftanglebeta.com for more great info. I printed a few of his pics as well as pics from MP and had no problems with routefinding.

The "descent" was sketchy. I'm fairly certain we did not find the reverse of Solo Flight. Instead we scrambled/climbed a scree gully with a lot of loose rock and gravely terrain. Solo Flight stays higher up on the right as you are looking toward the descent. I wish I had roped up for that gully. Jul 13, 2017
Fort Collins, Colorado
Salcone   Fort Collins, Colorado
We approached from Brainard Lake, departing at 4am and arriving at Carter Lake at 10am, climbed all day and slept at Carter Lake. It's a monster trudge over a 12,550 ft pass, but it's a gorgeous and remote basin, worth the trudge to avoid RMNP crowds and see some new peaks and striking ridge lines. A few bits of important beta:

1) If approaching from the East, over Pawnee Pass, you must descend about 20 minutes past the point when you first see Lone Eagle before the trail turns back towards the peak. Lone Eagle will be far back in the valley to the south (left) as you descend a number of switchbacks. This feels like you are walking exactly away from the peak, but keep the faith, the trail turns back south eventually.

2) After P1, take the most obvious, large tree-covered ledge to climber's left (not the cleaner looking higher ledge system, as this runs out onto un-protectable slab). Note that the 400 feet of "climbing" after pitch 1 is mostly 4th Class.

3) The "twin cracks" on the penultimate pitch are not so obvious. These are not clean splitters; the "twin cracks" are really a serious of right-facing flakes. Fun climbing but not really crack climbing.

4) The optional hand-crack last pitch is indeed an obvious splitter. While you only need a single rack for most of the climb (doubles 0.4 - 1 helpful), you definitely want a 2nd #2 and maybe even a second #3 for this splitter. Another option is a fun 5.6 series of liebacks and flakes further left (southeast) of the "chimney", easily protectable, though it leads you a little past the true summit, onto the ridge towards the descent.

5) The crux of the climb is definitely approaching the descent, climbing UP the loose 5th class gully of death. Someone should scope some other options, maybe rappelling and downclimbing the route would be quicker and safer. Sep 11, 2017
Brady Robinson
Boulder, CO
Brady Robinson   Boulder, CO
Many people seem to advocate going down off the ridge shortly after making the summit, but I thought the very best part of the route (maybe even better than the crux pitch?) was the ridge traverse after the summit! There is about 200 meters of incredibly exposed walking, hand traversing, and scrambling to be had. If you can take the exposure, I highly recommend staying on the ridge. I was able to stay on it the entire way until the final gendarme.

I hesitate to add more regarding the descent, but I think there is a simple way to think about it. The summit ridge runs for about 200 meters south, then it jogs east briefly, before continuing to the south. See my beta topo: mountainproject.com/v/11360… Follow the ridge, either on it or walking beneath it on the east side, until it ends and jogs east. At that point, if you are still at the top of the ridge, head down and northeast, maybe 50 meters or so. You will see a faint trail with the telltale steps worn in the vegetation. When the faint trail ends, look back south for a rocky traverse that heads up through a gap and gets you to the second part of the north/south running ridge. Crest this and you will see Triangle Lake. Head down the faint trail to the base, taking care to skirt the base of Lone Eagle Peak rather than heading all the way down to the marsh. This will bring you right back to the base of the route.

To reiterate, don't take the first gully you see. If you can't see Triangle Lake (and it isn't dark or a whiteout) when you begin your final descent, you're doing it wrong! I encountered almost no loose rock by staying on the ridge and descending briefly at the easterly jog -- no 5th class gully of death.

By the way, while I don't condone such behavior, if you are very comfortable soloing 5.7, can deal with occasional wet rock and are reasonably good at route finding, this makes for an excellent solo scrambling adventure. I approached from Monarch Lake trail head and was able to make the trip in about 9 hours, maintaining a constant, comfortable pace. I'm sure a runner could easily cut that time in half. Sep 18, 2017
Kirk Schleiffarth
Grapevine, TX
Kirk Schleiffarth   Grapevine, TX
Climbed this route last weekend and was a little bit let down with the climbing. The crux pitch and the summit are awesome; however, the rest of the route was sub-par. I knew going in that it was going to be mostly easy 5th Class, but it was unsustained scrambling, intermingled with lots of hiking. If your priority is a cool summit, then go for it, because it's awesome. Note: stay left, and follow the walkable ramp after pitch 1. Jul 18, 2018