Hannegan Pass


Backpack - Copper Ridge

Spectacular ridge walking in the North Cascades with views of the icy Pickett Range and peaks in all directions. We will hike a loop, crossing the Chilliwack River by ford and recrossing by hand-operated cable car.

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  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 38.9 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 9,090 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,260 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph


Rated 5 stars by Craig Romano in Backpacking Washington (Mountaineers Press)  and 9 (out of 10) for scenery by Douglas Lorain in Backpacking Washington (Wilderness Press), this very strenuous loop has more than 10,000’ total feet of ascent and one day with more than 5,000’ of descent, with an optional sidetrip to Hannegan Peak adding another 1,125' of climbing.  Not for those with weak knees!

The tentative plan:

Day 1:  Hike from the Hannegan Pass Trailhead over Hannegan Pass, then follow the ridge to ridge-top Silesia Camp.  Approximately 8 miles, 3,900’ ascent, 1,500 descent.

 Day 2:  Hike from Silesia Camp to Copper Lake Camp at a leisurely pace, enjoying the ridge views.  Possible extended rest stop at Copper Mountain Lookout. Possible sidetrip toward Copper Mountain.  Approximately 3 miles, 1,200’ ascent, 1,500' descent.

 Day 3:  Hike from Copper Lake Camp, descend to Chilliwack River, ford river, hike along River to hand-operated cable car and recross to U.S. Cabin Camp.  Approximately 12 miles, 2,400’ ascent, 5,000’ descent.

 Day 4:  Hike from U.S. Cabin Camp to our cars at Hannegan Pass Trailhead.  Approximately 10 miles, 3,400’ ascent, 2,900’ descent. Possible side trip from Hannegan Pass to panoramic Hannegan Peak, adds 2 roundtrip miles and 1,125’ of ascent and descent.  

 Total (excluding sidetrips) approximately 33 miles, 10,900’ ascent and descent.

 The trip is scheduled during a last quarter moon.  On August 26 and 27, the moon does not rise until after 1:30 AM (sunset is about 8:01 pm). The first two camps are on the ridge, and should provide excellent star viewing (weather permitting).  

 Leader permission is required, which you can obtain by sending an email to the leader.

 I expect low overnight temperatures will be in the 30s. You should check the current weather report shortly before departure: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=48.9102298634&lon=-121.591467939#.XJlfjJhKiCg.  Rain should be expected, and you should bring rain coat, rain pants, and pack cover and clothes that will keep you warm when wet (no cotton!). The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor or there is substantial smoke.  

 Maps:  Green Trails Mount Shuksan #14 and Mt. Challenger #15.  Caltopo map of our proposed route:  https://caltopo.com/m/5780

 Guide books:  Backpacking Washington (Romano) Trip 54; 101 Hikes in the North Cascades (Spring and Manning) Trip 11 (both Mountaineers Press); Backpacking Washington (Lorain) (Wilderness Press) Trip 7.

 Conditioning:  This trip requires excellent conditioning.  We will average about 2 mph on the trail, including breaks (except for the very short day 2).  You should be able to climb Mt. Si with a full backpack in 3 hours or less, and be able to repeat the climb on the next day.  The third day requires a descent of 5,000’.

 Cost:  I already paid $20 for the permit.   Assuming a 4 person group, the cost will be $5 per person.  

 Gear notes:

1.  Bear canisters are not required.  We will hang our food or use provided bear boxes each night. I plan to bring my Ursack.

 2. You should bring some method of water purification.

 3. You should bring a means to carry at least a gallon of water, as Silesia Camp is a dry camp with water available 0.3 miles away at Egg Lake.  

 4. Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellant.

 5. Bring shoes appropriate for fording the Chilliwack River.

 6. To reduce pack weight, you should consider sharing gear, especially stoves, cooking pots, water filters, and tents. About 2 weeks before the trip, I will send an Email to all. If you are interested in sharing any items, Reply All to this Email, describing gear you would like to provide for sharing or if you are interested in sharing another’s gear. Sharers should make arrangements directly with any interested people.  Also, some of the campsites are small, so tent sharing or small tents are strongly encouraged.


Hannegan Pass

  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14

    Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX

    Green Trails Mt Challenger No. 15

    Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter or other means to treat water
  • Bear canister, Ursack, or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel 
  • Shoes appropriate for river fording
Trip Reports