Mixup Peak/East Face

A glacier crossing on the approach; 3rd, 4th and mid-5th class climbing on the east face; a overhanging rappel on the descent - lots of challenges on this route. The approach hike takes you up to Cascade Pass, with spectacular views of glaciated peaks and alpine meadows. Rockfall is a serious hazard on both the ascent and the descent. Times: 7-9 hr from trailhead to summit.


Drive to Marblemount on SR 20. Register at the Marblemount Ranger Station. Take the Cascade River Road (Forest Road 15) for 22.3 miles to the Cascade Pass Trailhead, the large parking lot at road's end (3,600 ft).


Follow the Cascade Pass Trail 3.5 mi. to Pass at 5,392 ft. Proceed south up Mixup Arm.


From Mixup Arm follow a bench at approximately 6,000 ft southeast to a small glacier and snow field. Rope up on the glacier. Ascend to the right-hand notch (Gunsight Notch) in the ridge southeast of Mixup. Be cautious of moat.

From the south side of the notch, go west about 100 ft down a side gully. Ascend northwest up a wide and loose gully. First pitch ends just above chimney.

Second pitch leaves short scramble to a flat shoulder. First team should be above chimney before next team enters northwest gully because of rockfall hazard.

Traverse shoulder to base of the large summit pyramid. Ascend the easy gray-colored 'staircase' on the right-hand side. The route steepens just below the summit ridge, requiring a short mid-5th class pitch to a notch in the exposed summit ridge.

Follow the ridge south a short distance to the true summit (class 3-4, exposed in spots).


A 50 m rappel can be made from an anchor on a small ledge on the east side slightly below the summit. (Rockfall can be serious on this rappel.)

From the bottom of the 'shoulder' a single 60 m rappel leads to a belay station at the top of the second climbing pitch.

From here, you may either rappel the climbing route (not recommended - loose rock!) or make an overhanging double rappel directly down to just below (north side of) Gunsight Notch. Be sure to clear the end of the rappel by moving uphill to avoid potential rockfall initiated by the next rappeller.


Seattle to Trailhead 3
Trailhead to Summit 7-9 3,900
Summit to Trailhead 6-7


Standard rock equipment, crampons, and ice ax.


  • This is not a beginning rock climb for Basics or Intermediate leads. Rockfall can be serious on this climb.
  • Camping is not allowed at Cascade Pass or on Mixup Arm. Limited permits are available for Pelton Basin camps. The climb is generally done as a very strenuous one day climb with a car camp. Many parties would prefer two days.
  • The moat at Gunsight Notch can be problematic. An extra line for fixing (20 m adequate) along with a picket may prove helpful. Bring at least one 60 m rope for the single rappel leading to the top of the second climbing pitch.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 4, Technical 4
  • Elevation Gain: 3,900 ft
  • 7,400 ft
  • Green Trails Cascade Pass No. 80
  • USGS Cascade Pass
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
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