The Hurwal Ridge route starts by ascending 5,000 feet to the summit of Chief Joseph Mountain, then takes you along high alpine ridgelines to connect several of the highest peaks in the Wallowas. 


Matterhorn from Hurricane Creek (Ryan Johnson)


The route is not simple. Start at the Hurricane Creek trailhead to Thorp Creek. Ascend Sacajawea Peak over to Matterhorn, then back across the Hurwal divide over Chief Joseph Mountain and find an avalanche chute to scurry back to Hurricane Creek TH. This is an FKT route set by Mark Hauter. The route traverses over nine 9000′ peaks across this high divide. According to the FKT route, there are different ways to do it, but the traverse involves traveling the ridge between Chief Joseph and Matterhorn and tagging Sacajawea.


Laura Westmeyer on the Hurwal Divide. (Ryan Johnson)


The high point on the Hurwal Divide’s ridge is Oregon’s seventh-highest peak. The name Hurwal is an abbreviated combination of HURricane Creek and the WALlowa River.


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Not looking for an FKT? The Hurwal Divide can be reached from Ice Lake, the Chief Joseph Trail, or the Thorp Creek Trail. Be ready to step on dinner plate-type slate and loose rock scrambles. Check out this YouTube video to see what the conditions are.