Monte Cristo/North Col

A climb to the summit of Monte Cristo via the North Col Route.

getting there

From Granite Falls, drive the Mountain Loop Highway ~30 miles to Barlow Pass where the paving ends (2,360 ft). Parking is on the left.


Walk the road to 4 miles to Monte Cristo  (2,800 ft). The hike the trail 2.5 miles to Glacier Basin (4,500 ft).

Climbing Route

From Glacier Basin, ascend talus and steep snow to the North Col, walk 200-300 feet toward a break in the east face. Crossing the moat can be challenging in early July and later. Ascend the gully for ~75 feet (a belay may be needed). Near the top avoid a slightly overhanging blockage by moving onto Class 2-3 ledges. (Alternative: From bottom of gully move right a few feet and climb Class 3-4 rock.) Traverse to the summit (7,136 ft).


Descend the climbing route. One 75-foot rappel may be necessary.

Alternate Descent Route: Traverse on the east side of ridge northwest from notch to the next notch over (also lower). Cross over from that notch to Glacier Basin.

Trip Profile

Trailhead to Col 4-5 3,600
Col to Summit 2-3 300
Summit to Trailhead 5 3,900


  • A very early morning start is appropriate if doing this climb in one day. If done as a 2-day climb, a later start is OK with camp at Glacier Basin.
  • Helmets are a must.
  • Steep snow on descent requires good snow technique.
  • Since the road and bridges to Monte Cristo have been washed out, the use of mountain bikes, or a two day trip makes this climb more enjoyable.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Length: 14.0 None
  • Elevation Gain: 3,900 ft
  • 7,136 ft
  • Green Trails Sloan Peak No. 111
  • Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143
  • USGS Monte Cristo
  • USGS Blanca Lake
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