Cathedral Peak & Amphitheater Mountain

Climb two or more of the peaks on the Bulger List, Washington's 100 highest peaks. It's multi-day trip in the North Cascade's Pasayten Wilderness that involves long but pleasant backpacking and easy climbing in a remote and beautiful area.

Getting There

From Loomis, drive 2.2 miles north on Sinlahekin Road to the junction with Toats Coulee Road (Forest Road 39).  Turn left onto Toats Coulee Road and continue 20.5 miles to the junction with Forest Road 300 near Long Swamp Campground.  Bear right onto Forest Road 300 and drive approximately 3 miles to the Cathedral Driveway Trail (5,600 ft).


Hike the Cathedral Driveway trail 2.2 miles west to the junction with Chewuch trail (4,300 ft) and turn right (north) onto the Chewuch trail. Hike 4 miles to junction with Tungsten trail (4,700 ft) and turn right onto the Tungsten trail. Hike 6 miles to the junction with Boundary trail (6,800 ft, good camping nearby) and then hike 5.5 miles over Apex and Cathedral passes to upper Cathedral Lake and good camping.


Cathedral Peak

From Cathedral Pass, head north to prominent notch in Cathedral Peak's west ridge. At 8,300 ft turn right, scramble through a notch, bear left up a gully to gain crest of next ridge, and cross a notch to reach the exposed gap just below the summit (Class 4).  Cross the gap and then scramble to the summit (8,061 ft).

Amphitheater Mountain

From upper Cathedral Lake, follow the trail 1/2 mile southeast around Amphitheater Mountain's west ridge to a boot path (7,200 ft). Continue on the trail up scree and grassy slopes northeasterly to a basin (8,000 ft). Turn south and hike easy slopes to the summit (8,358 ft).


Helmet, harness, belay rope, tiny rack may be needed.  Crampons and ice axe early season.


  • Expect pleasant but long backpacking on trails to the climbing area, and consider planning a 4+ day trip to this area.
  • At 8,601 ft, Cathedral Peak #43 on the Bulger List.
  • At 8,358, Amphitheater Mountain is #89 on the Bulger List.
  • Consider extending your trip a couple of days and climbing Apex and Remmel Mountains.  Apex Mountain is a short scramble from the trail, and Remmel Mountain adds 8 miles to the trip.
  • Guidebook: Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks by Scott Stephenson and Brian Bongiobanni (AlpenBooks Press 2004).
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb
  • Length: 36.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 9,000 ft
  • 8,601 ft
  • Green Trails Coleman Peak No. 20
  • Green Trails Horseshoe Basin No. 21
  • USGS Remmel Mountain
  • Green Trails Methow Valley No. 51SX
Trip Reports