Eagle Cap

Monday, August 4

One of the glories of the Wallowas is to see them from the vantage of the top of one of its 9000+ foot peaks. And what better choice is there than the one smack in the center—Eagle Cap. So, at 4:40 a.m. Monday morning, Mark Slipp (leader), Doug Nelson, Steve Johnson, Rich Romm and I quietly left camp and headed for the East Lostine (Two Pan) trailhead. After stopping Enterprise at the market variously named “Our Store” or “The Store” for coffee and breakfast, we arrived at the trailhead at about 7 a.m.

While there had been showers the day before, which helped reduce the trail dust, the skies were cloud free when we started out. After a slight bit of confusion at the first creek crossing (I led most of the group past the bridge to the stock crossing), we were on our way up the valley at a moderately brisk pace. After less than two hours , we reached the place where the valley opens up into a wide, park-like meadow, with the East Lostine meandering down the center, and Eagle Cap towering over several miles in the distance.

Even with occasional stops for water, snacks, and to admire the views, we were up and out of the valley to Mirror Lake by 10:30 for yet another rest stop. A short distance beyond we refilled our containers with water from a clear, cold stream—melt from a nearby snow field (also used on our way back down). And another push (intermitted by a few more breaks) got us to the top by about noon.

While there were now clouds in the sky, they did not look too threatening; they just added to the view. We took the obligatory, hour long break, eating lunch, taking pictures, chatting with fellow peakers (most of whom had only day-packs—presumably they were camping in the lakes basin), and just admiring the view—the seven major drainages of the Wallowas radiating out from our feet like spokes of a giant wheel.

The trip back was uneventful, though a bit dusty as the trail had dried out during the day, and we were back in camp only slightly after dinner had started. Thanks to Donald we would not have gone hungry even had we been late, as he had honored my request to set aside some for us.

In his oral report at campfire that night, Mark stated that we did much the same trip that Bill Mongomery had done the previous Saturday, only without the last 23 miles!

— Wayne Deeter

Eagle Cap from the East Lostine valley

East Lostine & Mirror Lake
East Lostine & Mirror Lake from Eagle Cap

Glacier Peak

Matterhorn from climbers’ trail on Eagle Cap

— photos by Wayne Deeter

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