THE NORTH CASCADES

The North Cascades are a section of the Cascade Range of western North America. The range of rugged peaks and volcanoes spans the border between the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington and are officially named in the United States as the Cascade Mountains.

Mount Shuksan • 9,131 ft

North Cascades National Park

Mount Shuksan, the crown jewel of the North Cascades is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in America, and our guided climbs are simply unforgettable. We approach the mountain through old growth Hemlock and alpine meadows abounding with wildflowers and mountain goats. The standard route follows the Shannon Ridge trail to the Sulphide Glacier and to the base of the final summit pyramid. There is a 600’ rock climb up the central gully (class 3 scramble) to the 9,127 foot summit. High camp is at the “toe” of the glacier, acting as an amphitheater to the North Cascades, surrounded by jagged peaks with Mount Baker looming in the distance and offers the most remarkable sunrises.

MOUNT SHUKSAN SULFIDE GLACIER »MOUNT SHUKSAN FISHER CHIMNEYS »

Eldorado Peak • 8,868 ft

North Cascades National Park

Eldorado Peak is considered the “Queen of the Cascade River“. The peak is perched at the edge of the largest contiguous ice-sheet in the lower 48 states known as the Klawatti-Inspiration-McAlister icecap. The climb presents a moderate challenge with amazing views of Dorado Needle, Forbidden Peak, Mount Buckner, Mount Logan, Johannesburg and the other peaks of the Ptarmigan Traverse. The final Knife-edge summit ridge offers a thrilling and extremely exposed snow traverse. Our ascent climbs the moderate Eldorado and Inspiration glaciers and ascends the East Ridge to the summit. On the approach we climb steeply through heavy timber and a boulder field which gives way to a beautiful alpine basin. We have the option of setting high camp in the Eldorado Basin or moving higher to the Inspiration Glacier. Our professional guides will introduce and teach you the skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb.

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Dorado Needle • 8,460 ft

North Cascades National Park

Dorado Needle is located just north of Eldorado Peak on the McAllister Glacier and is the western high point of the McAllister and Inspiration glacier system. Climbing Dorado Needle offers a unique opportunity to explore this vast glacier system at a distance far enough away from Eldorado to enjoy some solitude. Some good climbing on moderate rock provides a fair amount of exposure that adds to the experience. Alpine rock up to 5.7.

Boston Basin

North Cascades National Park

Boston Basin is one of the most popular alpine climbing areas in the North Cascades National Park because it accesses to the famed Forbidden Peak, which has been named one of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America. Forbidden Peak is most commonly climbed via the West Ridge. Other excellent climbs nearby include Sahale Peak, Sharkfin Tower, Mount Buckner and Mount Torment. Mount Torment and Forbidden Peak are often climbed via the famed Torment-Forbidden Traverse.

Sahale Peak • 8,681 ft

North Cascades National Park

Sahale Mountain stands at the head of Cascade Pass and the impressive Stehekin Valley. The Sahale Glacier via Cascade pass and the Sahale Arm is an excellent climb for beginner climbers. The route requires less time and is less technical than the Quien Sabe Glacier approach. There is a short rock scramble (class 3) to the 8,680-foot summit. The views from the summit are amazing with a 360-degree panorama of the Cascade Range.

SAHALE PEAK GLACIER »SAHALE PEAK QUIEN SABE GLACIER »

Sharkfin Tower • 8,160 ft

North Cascades National Park

Sits in the middle of the famous Boston Basin, surrounded by peaks such as Forbidden Peak, Sahale Peak and Mount Torment. The South East Ridge makes for the perfect introductory alpine rock climb or as an addition to one of the other classic climbs in the area. The climb has a good combination of glacier climbing, steep snow, and moderate rock, enabling the climber to put to use many of the skills needed to be a well-rounded Alpinist.

In an area already known for some of the best alpine rock climbing in the Cascades, Sharkfin has what many consider to be the best granite in Washington State. While the climb is relatively short, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in position, exposure and ambiance.

Forbidden Peak • 8,816 ft

North Cascades National Park

Forbidden Peak is located within the spectacular Boston Basin, the mountain is approached from Cascade River road within the heart of North Cascade National Park. Once in Boston Basin the route leads us across the massive Boston Glacier to the classic West Ridge. The West Ridge route consists of mid-fifth class climbing and 40°-50° snow and ice before joining an exposed rock ridge. The entire region is surrounded by rugged alpine peaks such as Sahale Peak, Boston Peak, Mount Torment, Mount Buckner and beyond. The climb represents the next guided challenge for aspiring alpinists interested in honing their skills on more advanced terrain.

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Mount Torment • 8,120 ft

North Cascades National Park

Is located just west of Forbidden Peak and is an excellent one-day outing from Boston Basin. The rock climbing sections on Mount Torment’s Southeast Face are much easier than those found on Forbidden, but Torment is not without its obstacles. A great climb if done by itself, and a much bigger adventure if combined with an ascent of Forbidden Peak’s West Ridge as part of the Torment-Forbidden Traverse.

We typically approach via the Boston Basin trail, and then hike to the higher of the two climbers camps (this is the one under the Unnamed Glacier on Forbidden Peak). From this camp we traverse west under the spur ridge coming off the Torment-Forbidden Traverse and then ascend rock slabs and finally the glacier before reaching the base of the route. The climbing route follows the path of least resistance to the notch on the east corner of Mount Torment. While not overly difficult, the climbing is interesting and at times steep as we work our way to the summit of Mount Torment.

This is a good outing to combine with ascents of Sahale Peak and Sharkfin Tower as part of a moderate tour of Boston Basin. This is also the usual start of the Torment-Forbidden Traverse. For climbers looking for a more challenging line to the summit of Mt. Torment, we recommend the SE Ridge or climbing Torment in combination with Forbidden Peak via the Torment-Forbidden Traverse (grade IV, 5.7).

Torment – Forbidden Traverse

North Cascades National Park

Since its inclusion in Jim Nelson’s “50 Favorite Climbs of North America,” the Torment-Forbidden Traverse (TFT) has become a very sought after and more frequently attempted alpine climb. Dominating the terrain high above Boston Basin, the TFT has everything all great technical traverses have, iconic and aesthetic peaks, a high level of commitment, and fun, engaging climbing. Our 3 day trip goes up the Taboo Glacier, climbs Torment’s South Ridge then descends to the long ridge that ultimately connects to Forbidden’s famed West Ridge route. Numerous ridge features to climb, steep sections of glacier snow and ice, and fantastic positions on sound rock characterize the traverse. Join us on one of the North Cascades National Park’s best routes.

Mount Buckner • 9,114 ft

North Cascades National Park

Located in the heart of the North Cascades National Park, Mt. Buckner is one of the most important peaks in the state of Washington and a fine alpine ice climb. It’s glaciers feed one of the largest bodies of ice in the range “the Boston Glacier” and has everything great Cascadian climbs have, a strenuous approach, remoteness, quality climbing, and incredible alpine ambiance.

The North Face is a 40°-50° snow and ice climb set amidst the splendor of the Cascade Pass region. Great views to Forbidden, Eldorado, Logan, Park Creek Pass, and the peaks of the Ptarmigan Traverse characterize this area. It is a strenuous climb not in its technical nature, but in the effort, it takes to get to the route. Mt Buckner is one great example of why the North Cascades are nicknamed the “American Alps”.

Mount Triumph • 7,260 ft

North Cascades National Park

The name perfectly fits the feeling of summiting this dramatic peak! Surrounded by a steep and extremely rugged part of the North Cascades National Park, Mount Triumph is one of the best moderate alpine rock peaks in Washington State. The Northeast Ridge was first climbed in 1965 by local pioneers Joan and Joe Firey rivals Forbidden or Shuksan but is smaller in stature, less traveled, and more remote.

Ruth Mountain • 7,115 ft

Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

Ruth Mountain is a moderate glaciated peak and presents a fitting objective for beginner mountaineers. From its icy summit, the mountain offers panoramic views of Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker, Hannegan Peak, and the elusive Picket Range. It’s difficult to find a more beautiful location to learn the basics of mountaineering. Ruth Mountain is a remnant of an ancient volcano. From Hannegan Pass our route ascends a steep ridge to the base of the Ruth Glacier and continues up moderate slopes while navigating crevasse to its summit. The route is climbed in two days or one very long day for fit and experienced climbers. Icy Peak at 7070 ft. stands a short distance off from Ruth’s saddle. The Ruth-Icy Traverse can be completed in two or three days for strong climbers.

THE CASCADE VOLCANOES • WASHINGTON STATE

The Cascade Volcanoes (also known as the Cascade Arc) are series of volcanoes in a volcanic arc in western North America, extending from southwestern British Columbia through Washington State and Oregon to Northern California, a distance spanning 700 miles. Some of the major cities along the length of the arc include Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. Another well known Washington State volcano is Mount Saint Helens at 8,366 ft. which erupted on May 18, 1980. Prior to the eruption it’s summit stood at 9,677 ft. Other notable Cascade Volcanoes outside Washington include Mount Shasta in California, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and the South Sisters in Oregon.

Mount Rainier • 14,411 ft

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier stands as the highest point in the Pacific Northwest and contains more glaciated technical terrain than any other mountain in the lower 48 States. On a clear day from the summit there is an unobstructed view of the entire North Cascades and the Coastal Range of Canada, not to mention spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Mount Hood in Oregon. This giant stratovolcano was named by George Vancouver on his maritime expedition in 1792. The first ascent of this peak was most likely made by a member of a local first nations tribe, however the first historical ascent was made by Hazard Stevens and P.B. Von Trump in 1870.

Today Mount Rainier stands as a test piece for mountaineers and alpinists alike. With over 30 different routes to the summit there is something for everyone. The most traveled of these ascends the Muir Snowfield on the south side and continues up the Disappointment Cleaver. Roughly 13,000 climbers try to climb Mount Rainier every year with a 50% success rate. Climbing with professional guides can increase this success rate considerably.

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Mount Baker • 10,781 ft

Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker’s classic North Ridge represents the next challenge for those interested in honing their alpine skills on more advanced glaciated terrain. This alpine route is truly one of the best moderate “big mountain” alpine snow and ice climbs in the Lower 48 states. Previous climbing experience and advanced alpine climbing skills are required for this climb. We approach the North Side of Mount Baker, the North Cascade’s highest volcano, via the Heliotrope Ridge trail, the same trail which takes us to the Coleman Deming ascent. After traversing the Coleman Glacier to the North Ridge, we climb several pitches of 60 to 70 degree alpine ice up the large exposed ice cliff before reaching the upper mountain. This spectacular climb offers dramatic views down to the Roosevelt and Coleman glaciers, followed by a final push up steep snow slopes to Mount Baker’s massive summit, providing climbers a rewarding alpine experience.

EASTON / COLEMAN DEMING GLACIERS »MOUNT BAKER NORTH RIDGE »

Glacier Peak • 10,541 ft

Glacier Peak Wilderness Area

Glacier Peak or “Dakobed” as known in the Sauk Indian dialect from the South Side standard route via the Gerdine and Cool Glaciers. Glacier Peak stands alone in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area as the most isolated of the five major Washington State volcanoes. The mountain offers a unique and pristine wilderness experience which includes a fourteen-mile hike via a well-maintained trail through old-growth forest beginning at the North Fork of the Sauk River Valley. The dense Western Red Cedar forest yields to high alpine meadows near White Pass besides the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Mount Adams • 12,280 ft

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Mount Adams, known by some Native American tribes as Pahto or Klickitat, is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. Although Adams has not erupted in more than 1,000 years, it is not considered extinct. It is the second-highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington, after Mount Rainier.

Adams is a member of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, and is one of the arc’s largest volcanoes, located in a remote wilderness approximately 34 miles (55 km) east of Mount St. Helens. The Mount Adams Wilderness consists of the upper and western part of the volcano’s cone. The eastern side of the mountain is designated as part of the territory of the Yakama Nation.

Adams’ asymmetrical and broad body rises 1.5 miles (2.4 km) above the Cascade crest. Its nearly flat summit was formed because of cone-building eruptions from separated vents. Air travelers flying the busy routes above the area sometimes confuse Mount Adams with nearby Mount Rainier, which has a similar flat-topped shape.

THE OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS

The Olympic Mountains are a mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington State in the United States.

Mount Olympus • 7,962 ft

Olympic National Park

We approach Mt. Olympus, which at 7,962 feet is the highest peak in the Olympic Mountain range. The mountain is also one of the most aesthetic peaks in Washington State and offers a truly unique wilderness experience. The climb is demanding due to its eighteen-mile approach hike up the Hoh River. The final summit pyramid (West Peak) climbs low fifth class rock and offers fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains and the distant Cascade Range. The guided ascent traverses the Blue Glacier and ascends Snow Dome gaining the Olympus Massif to its West Peak summit. On the approach we experience the Hoh rain forest and Glacier Meadows with its beautiful Avalanche Lily.

Mount Deception • 7,788 ft

Olympic National Park

The Mount Deception climb takes you up the second highest peak in the Olympics nestled deep in the alpine cirque of Royal Basin. Hidden from view, Mt Deception stands among the highest peaks in the Olympic Range offering an accessible climb within a weekend of adventure! Approach via the Royal Basin Trail and hike from the lowland coastal old growth forests 2,550 ft. to the high alpine cirque and camp along the shores on one of the high lakes at 5,770 ft. Enjoy climbing up the NE Chute which delivers 45-degree snow onto a rocky ridge scramble to the summit.

THE CASCADE RANGE

The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington State and Oregon to Northern California. It includes both non-volcanic mountains, such as the North Cascades, and the notable volcanoes known as the High Cascades. The small part of the range in British Columbia is referred to as the Canadian Cascades. The Cascade Range is also referred to by locals as the Cascade Mountains.

Mount Stuart • 9,416 ft

Wenatchee National Forest

The North Ridge of Mount Stuart is one of “The 50 Classic Climbs of North America” The 20+ pitch rock route begins at the edge of the Stuart Glacier and offers exposed alpine rock climbing with spectacular views of the Cascades. The Ice Cliff Glacier route is another classic climb on Mount Stuart offering mixed ice and snow climbing depending on the season. “Without a rival as the crown peak in the central Cascades of Washington, Mount Stuart has been pronounced the single greatest mass of exposed granite in the United States…its northern and eastern faces are the alpine climax of the Wenatchee Mountains. They make a powerful impact on first sight…The mountaineering problems are magnified by the mountain’s massive dimensions and its complexity.” Excerpted from “Cascade Alpine Guide – Climbing and High Routes – Columbia River to Stevens Pass, Second Edition” by Fred Beckey.

The Tooth • 5,604 ft

Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

The Tooth is a popular alpine rock peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area near Seattle. It’s easy approach, and moderate climbing offers a few low 5th class moves to its 5604 ft. rocky summit. The South Face route is considered a classic climb. The 400 foot steep but blocky route above Pineapple Pass offers an airy “catwalk” traverse and 5.6 finish. The summit views offer an exciting panorama of the Stuart Range, nearby peaks like Snoqualmie and Chair, and Mount Rainier to the south.

Snoqualmie Mountain • 6,278 ft

Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

As one of the highest points in the Snoqualmie Pass area, this mountain sits directly across from the Alpental Ski Area. The mountain is named after the Snoqualmie Tribe that has inhabited the area for centuries. In 1890 the first recorded ascent was done by Albert Sylvester and his team of USGS surveyors. Most parties ascend moderate alpine terrain up the West Face or opt for one of the many more challenging North Face routes.

Chair Peak • 6,238 ft

Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

With a trailhead less than an hour from downtown Seattle, Chair Peak has become a popular area for backcountry skiing and climbing. The peak itself is part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, stretching south to Denny Mountain (Alpental Ski Resort). The moderate approach puts users into high alpine terrain within minutes of leaving the parking area. The most common routes to the summit are via the NE Buttress or North Face, both of which are great introductions to alpine climbing.