Most peakbaggers visiting the southwestern part of the
Desolation Wilderness head only to Pyramid Peak, the
highest peak in the area. However, just north of
Pyramid, along the spine of the Crystal Range, lie two
summits that are less visited, and perhaps more
interesting than their neighbor.
Mt. Agassiz -- The Route: The route is fairly
straightforward for the first 4.3 miles; simply follow the
well-defined Lyons Creek trail up Lyons Creek, until you
reach a trail junction. The right fork heads towards Lake Sylvia,
while the left fork heads towards Lyons Lake. In
between these two forks, the broad SW ridge of Mt. Agassiz
rises up towards the summit (which is out of view from
here). In order to bag Agassiz, you can follow either fork from the
trail junction, the distance is the exact same.
you elect to take the Sylvia fork, follow the trail for about 1/4 mile
until you reach a small tributary of Lyons Creek (right
before Lake Sylvia). Follow this tributary NE towards
a small heart-shaped tarn, which is located at 8,720'+ on the topo map
view SW to Lake Sylvia from above the heart-shaped tarn).
From this tarn, the route to the summit is obvious -- just
follow the slope north to the summit. The hike up to
summit block is fairly easy, although you will encounter
some large talus and thick trees near the top.
If you elect to take the Lyons Lake fork, follow the trail
NW to the outlet of the lake. Contour around the flat
west shore of the lake, and then follow upper Lyons Creek up
into the cirque between Agassiz and Price. Head north,
then east up to about 9,400', where the angle eases.
From here, the route up to the
summit block of Agassiz is obvious.
Mt. Agassiz -- The Summit Block: The summit
block of Mt. Agassiz (easy class 3) is a
spectacular overhang, and is most easily climbed from
NW side. If coming from the south (Lake Sylvia
approach), angle slightly to climber's left as you approach
the summit block, then drop down slightly before climbing
back up the NW side. An easy crack leads up to the
flat diving board summit.
Traverse to Mt. Price: From either Price or Agassiz, you can bag the other summit
by following the
sharp ridge between the two peaks (about 1/2
mile). About halfway along this ridge at its low
point, a steep
overhanging couloir drops down the east side
towards Lake Aloha. You may not see it unless you are
looking for it -- it is guarded by a thick clump of
whitebark pine. The summit of Mt. Price from this
direction is easy class 2. The views from the summit
of Mt. Price are spectacular, particularly to the south back
to Mt. Agassiz and Pyramid Peak (see
Option #2 -- Twin Lakes Approach:
Option #3 -- East Side from Lake Aloha:
Photos and Links: