Copper Peak/Southeast Glacier

Copper Peak is located next to, and overshadowed by, its near neighbor, Fernow. When accessed from Holden it can be combined easily with the latter Peak. It offers some interesting routefinding and exciting, exposed scrambling.


Drive to Chelan or Fields Point Landing and catch the Lady of the Lake ferry (or find alternative commercial transportation) to the town of Lucerne.  From Lucerne take the school bus to Holden (13 miles and 3,262 ft). Camping is available a mile west of Holden at the Holden Campground.


From Holden Campground (3,300 ft) take the Railroad Creek Trail approximately 0.5 miles East.  Cross Railroad Creek and hike above the old tilings pile (remediation efforts are now complete) and locate the Copper Creek Trail.  Follow this trail about 3 miles to Copper Creek basin and good camping (5,600 ft).


From camp head west into the upper basin which drains from the Southeast Glacier.  The glacier is only a remnant of what it used to be and crevasses should be minimal and easily avoided.  Rope up and ascend the glacier.  The goal is to find a Class 3-4 gully to a notch on the ridge on climber's right (north side) above the glacier.  There are several notches and some could required Class 4-5 climbing.  Select the easiest of these.  At the notch turn left.  You may need to cross a short, steep, snowfield (crampons probably required).  Attain the upper Northeast Ridge of Copper Peak and scramble mostly Class 3 to the summit.  Expect some exposure and a possible Class 4 moves.  A belay or two may be warranted.


Descend the climbing route.


Trailhead to Camp 3 2,300
Camp to Summit 4 3,400
Summit to TH 6-7 -5,700
Camp to Fernow 4 3,700
Fernow to Camp 3 -3,700


Standard glacier travel gear.


  • This trip is best done in 3 days and you must coordinate transportation back to Lucerne and Chelan. 
  • A summit of Fernow is possible from the same camp. Plan carefully so as not to miss return transportation to Lucerne.  This may require 4 days.  Alternatively you can make this a more feasible 3-day trip if, on the approach, Day 1, you continue on the trail from camp to the Copper-Entiat Divide (7,200 ft) and bivy on the East Ridge of Fernow at ~7,700 ft. From here it is a short climb to the summit. You can descend this route to around 7,000 ft, traverse the glacier east of Mount Fernow, cross a col, and continue on to the Southeast Glacier of Copper Peak.  The climb of Fernow is a straightforward Class 3 scramble. Descend the climbing route.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
  • Length: 11.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,700 ft
  • 8,964 ft
  • Land Manager: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests
    Glacier Peak Wilderness, Entiat Ranger District (OWNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Holden
  • Green Trails Holden No. 113
  • Trails Illustrated Glacier Peak Wilderness
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Copper Peak/Southeast Glacier & Mount Fernow/Southwest Slope
  • Copper Peak & Mount Fernow

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