HUGHES PEAK 2640m 8661′
A prominent rock summit seen from the ferry; 1.6 km SSE of Pingston Lake. The east (lower) summit was climbed first, in 1985.
Use the trail to Avalanche Lake (see introduction, Approach to Avalanche Lake).
1. West Ridge. From below the headwall to Avalanche Lake, climb up a couloir past a small icebound lake to a 2200m (7200 feet) col west of Hughes Peak, and camp about 150 meters below the col on the south side. The west ridge itself is easy, and is probably a day’s climb from Pingston Lake. Glacier (III,4,s).
Don Skuratoff, 22/6/1986.
Variation: From camp at 164-118, north of Gates Peak, gain the southwest-facing basin west of Hughes by traversing around the north side of the big lake northeast of Gates Peak and attain the west ridge at 184-123. Climb a bump in the ridge, and descend to the basin. There are rockfall hazard and loose gullies to gain the west ridge crest.
2. East Ridge. Stay just on the south side of the long east ridge where the brush is thinner. At clefts, follow a goat trail on the crest to the base of the last obstacle before the east summit (cairn, no record).
Rappel 10 meters (lichens slippery, tricky, leave fixed rope) on the west side of the east summit and use the top of the north glacier to regain the ridge. It is 5 minutes to the middle summit, and 15 minutes more of easy climbing to the main (west) summit. The cairn was not inspected due to a thunderstorm. Glacier (III,4,A0,s).
Janice Isaac, Kim Kratky, Eric Norton, Howie Ridge, 31/8/1986.
Alternate approach: The east summit may be climbed from Pingston Lake using the northfacing gully (best in June on snow to avoid bushwhacking). Climb to the bushy and rocky ridge and skirt the snow slopes. Two greasy open chimneys require care. There are stupendous views of the Thor-Niflheim Ridge. (III,4,s).
Leon Blumer, Ian Larson, 22/6/1985.