Kangaroo Temple/North Face

A short approach, and a fun low 5th class rock climb on excellent rock, with an airy corner on the 3rd pitch. A bonus 4th pitch goes up a slab is enjoyable or you can scramble up sandy ledges. Enjoy views of the Washington Pass peaks. Goats are sometimes in the area. Times: 7-8 hr trailhead to summit.

Getting There

Drive SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) to Washington Pass. Continue 1 mile to the hairpin turn and park in large turnout.


Ascend valley southeast, staying in right edge of any timber, to its head at Kangaroo Pass (see sketch map in Beckey, p. 232). From here, look directly east. Kangaroo Temple is the first prominent peak, separated from the Wallaby mass above it by a sharp notch. Head to this notch by contouring down along the edge of slabs that descend from Wallaby.

Drop about 20 feet below the pass to pickup a good climbers trail. Stay close (so close you can touch them) to the slabs between Kangaroo Pass and the Notch. From notch stay high as possible under boiler plate, foot path is not obvious but is much faster than going down into basin. Reach a moderately steep, loose, dirty gully at the base of Kangaroo Temple and ascend it to the north ridge notch. May need crampons in gully early season. Begin roped climbing from here.


Climb up leftward over rib and ascend furrow, to a narrow belay ledge at a fixed pin on a steep nose.

For the second pitch, traverse right along a ledge and go up and over a large detached slab boulder. Find hidden crack, shoulder high at base of steep wall for belay anchor.

The 3rd pitch is short. Lead around corner to dramatic exposure. Hand traverse and step across to small belay tree of questionable merit due to its impending death.

The crux crack starts the fourth pitch. Find a small hand hold on left wall, a 5.4 move. Continue up sandy benches with good belay trees.

Unrope just below summit and scramble to the top, or stay roped up and climb the slab to the top.


Return to unroping point. Walk out to the rappel bolts overlooking the north face. Rappel anchor is not obvious. Climb over and then down to top of North Face where there are three bolts with hangers. Two double length (50 m) rappels from this and either the next set of bolts or a flake and tree 30 ft below these bolts, lead back to the notch where you started the climb.


Trailhead to Pass 2 1,500
Pass to Notch 1.5 900
Notch to Summit 4
Summit to Trailhead 4


Standard rock equipment, chocks to 2 inches, ice ax in early season.


  • This is a pleasurable, exciting climb with gorgeous scenery, but it is not a first climb for the timid. Rope leaders should be confident and competent.
  • Either car camp the night before, or tent camp the previous afternoon south of Kangaroo Pass.
  • The first pitch has some loose rock so the belayer should be careful to avoid the direct line below the climber. The remainder of climb is very sound, low 5th class rock.
  • When traversing from Kangaroo Pass toward climb, be sure to pass beneath all major slabs.
  • First pitch requires full rope.
  • Parking at the switchback may not be possible very early in the season because of snowbanks.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 2, Technical 4
  • Length: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft
  • 7,572 ft
  • USGS Silver Star Mtn
  • USGS Washington Pass
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
  • Green Trails Washington Pass No. 50
Trip Reports
GPS Route

A file in GPX format for GPS units of the Kangaroo Temple/North Face route. Submitted by Tim Nagle.

Climbing Topo

An image of Kangaroo Temple with the North Face climbing ascent and descent route information added. Submitted by Nathan Reed.

Mountaineers Beta & Brews: Basic Climbs 2021

A link to the YouTube video of The Mountaineers Beta & Brews: Basic Climbs 2021. The Kangaroo Temple presentation by Skye Stoury and Garrett Arnold begins at ~16:40.

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