Primus Peak/Borealis Glacier
07/31/13 (Wed) - 08/02/13 (Fri)
Paul R. Gehlsen
Reference & Data • • • •
- Jurisdiction: North Cascades National Park
- Ranger Station: Marblemount Ranger Station / 360-873-4500
- Equipment: Ice axe, crampons, standard glacier travel gear.
- USGS Maps: Forbidden Peak
- Other Map: North Cascades National Park Complex.
- Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide II, 2nd Edition
- Time, Elevation gain/loss, Mileage
- Seattle to TH 2.5 hrs
- TH to Camp 7-9 hrs +4,800’ ~8
- Camp to Summit 3-4 hrs +2,500’ ~1.5
- Summit to Cars 9-11 hrs -7,300’ ~9.5
Approach • • • • • • • • • • •Drive I-5 N, take exit 232 (Cook Road) at Burlington, turning east to Sedro Wooley and State Route 20. Continue 47 miles to Marblemount for trip permits for Klawatti Zone at Park Ranger Station. Continue to Colonial Creek and park at the Thunder Creek trailhead, 1,200' Hike the Thunder Creek Trail for approximately 6 miles, making sure to stay on this trail at the junction with the Panther Creek Trail at about 1.6 miles in. Continue on to McAllister Camp. The campground is located at a confluence of two valleys - McAllister Creek on the west and Thunder Creek on the south - just after crossing Thunder Creek on a good bridge. The ridge is long, cliffy, and brushy but manageable. Follow camp way trails heading up towards the ridge to find the start of the faint climber's trail that follows most of the ridge but it is easy to lose in a couple of places. With careful routefinding one can avoid anything more than a few class 3 sections. The trickiest obstacle is a small cliffy section around 4000' foot elevation. It is easier to find on the way up then down - consider taking a GPS way point. The second tricky section is located between a rocky open spot at 4,750 feet and the upper heather slopes (5,000'). Continue up the ridge for a total of just over 2 miles to the toe of the Borealis Glacier at 6,000 ft. There is good camping here. Allow an entire day to make this camp.
Climbing Route • • • • •From camp traverse around the right (NW) side of the lake at the toe of the lower Borealis Glacier, scrambling on rocks as needed until you can get around and above the like. Ascend gentle slopes to climber's right until you can cut left and gain the upper Borealis Glacier, heading above cliff bands and an obvious icefall. Traverse up and left toward Tricouni and cut up the col between Tricouni and Primus (Lucky Pass, 7,200'). From the col, ascend the east ridge of Primus (class 2-3)
Descent • • • • • • • • • • •Descend the climbing route.
Comments • • • • • • • • •This is a strenuous climb as a 2-day trip. A 3-day trip would be more moderate and also allow for tagging Tricouni on the second day. Recommended time frame is mid- to late summer.
Approach from Thunder Creek. Participants must be in excellent condition and must be able to tolerate long, off trail approach.
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