Elevation: 9,988 ft
Climbing and access information for this peak is on Page 339 of the book. Livingston Douglas has provided more detailed information on the North Ridge Route than you will find in the book.
Elkhorn Peak is located south of Mount Baird. The two peaks are connected by a narrow ridge. USGS Mount Baird
North Ridge, Class 2 by Livingston Douglas
Date of Climb: July 11, 2017
Little Elk Creek Trail [(A)(3)(b)] as revised and updated. Please refer to the Mount Baird posting for an access update. The approach also includes climbing the Northwest Ridge Route on Mount Baird, then descending the South Ridge Route on Mount Baird. Consequently, this climb begins at the Baird/Elkhorn saddle at 9,660 feet.
This climb is part of a ridge traverse from Mount Baird to Elkhorn Peak and back. Elkhorn Peak barely qualifies as a ranked summit since it rises just over 300 feet from the Baird/Elkhorn saddle. When you view the North Ridge of Elkhorn Peak from either the summit of Mount Baird or from Baird’s South Ridge, it’s somewhat intimidating. You won’t believe that it’s a Class 2 scramble, but it really is.
The scramble begins at the Baird/Elkhorn saddle north of Elkhorn Peak. The North Ridge is choppier than I expected, but it’s pure rock, no firs or vegetation to contend with. Stay close to the ridge crest when climbing or descending this ridge. About halfway up, the ridge narrows and has a cliff band to block your way. To skirt this obstruction (as you ascend), simply drop 20 feet onto the east side of the ridge to access a gravelly chute that will lead you back up onto the ridge crest. During my ascent of the North Ridge, I saw four mountain goats descending the Northwest Ridge of Elkhorn at a rapid pace, knocking out rocks as they scurried off. There were no elk horns on the summit. Sorry.