Colfax Peak

This is the tallest of the Black Buttes next to Mount Baker. The regular route is approached via the Mount Baker saddle via the Coleman Glacier. It then follows the ridge up and down to the true summit at 9,355 ft.


Take I-5 to just north of Bellingham, drive east on SR 542 (Sunset Highway) to 1 mi east of Glacier. Turn right (south) on Glacier Creek Road and continue 9 mi to head of Mount Baker Trail (3,700 ft).


Hike up Heliotrope Ridge Trail to the site of the old cabin and follow climbers' trail beyond (trail is covered with snow early in season) and up steep ridge to moraine at the edge of the glacier. Base camp may be made here at about 6,000 ft.

Many climbers continue, proceeding south and ascending to about 7,000 ft where base camp can be made along the ridge or at the base of the Black Buttes.


Ascend from the base camp at 6,000 ft, proceed south and climb gradually southeast toward the Black Buttes. Skirt along the Black Buttes, keeping far enough away to avoid avalanches or rockfall, climbing to the saddle between Mount Baker and Colfax Peak. From the saddle climb snow slopes to the summit.


Descend the climbing route.


Trailhead to Camp 3-4 2,300
Camp to Summit 4-6 4,400
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 2-3


Standard glacier equipment including wands.


  • In good weather views from camp on ridge near Buttes and from summit are spectacular.
  • Climb can be done in a single day, if you start very early.
  • Forest Road 39 (Glacier Creek Road)  is susceptible to washouts.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 6,700 ft
  • 9,355 ft
  • USGS Mt Baker
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13S
  • Green Trails Mt Baker No. 13
  • Red Marker
    48.737409, -121.895651
    48.7374088 -121.8956512
  • Red Marker
    48.771757, -121.843895
    48.7717570728 -121.843895295

Upcoming Activities

Glacier Climb - Colfax Peak

Climbing Trip
A strenuous 1 day climb on the Black Buttes (the OTHER Mt Baker glacier climb).
Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb
Sat, May 19, 2018
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 1 leader
Registration opens Apr 30
Seattle Branch
Trip Reports

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