Mount Shuksan/North Face

Mount Shuksan via the North Face is a Grade II-III ice climb.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Drive on I-5 to Bellingham exit 255. Take the Mount Baker Highway (SR 542) east 33.8 mi to Glacier and obtain permit at Ranger Station. Continue 13 mi past Glacier to Nooksack River Bridge. Continue driving 5 mi to hairpin corner at 3,500 ft, two miles from Mount Baker Ski Area. Turn left at hairpin corner onto White Salmon Road (Forest Road 3075), marked, not at its junction with the Mount Baker Highway, but at its last switchback/junction). Follow to its end above White Salmon Creek. Heavy brush encroaches on both sides of the road for the last mile or two, leaving scratchy vehicle sides.

APPROACH

A faint path with some flagging continues through road bed brush for several hundred yards before dropping down faintly from the roadbed with sporadic flagging and making its way over to a more open swath and dropping down to White Salmon Creek. Hike up brushy valley, then ascend eastward up timbered slopes to open areas along ridge crest. Good bivy spots are located at 5,500 ft where ridge meets North Face.

ASCENT ROUTE

From bivy, traverse left on hanging glacier above Price Lake and under upper hanging glacier perched above first rock barrier. After 500 ft, climb to right up firn and ice finger west of upper hanging glacier. Especially in early season, do not go far left onto North Face where avalanches frequently occur.

Continue steeply up North Face to shoulder northeast of summit pyramid. After midseason, route can be very broken and schrund at shoulder quite large. From top of shoulder, traverse ice plateau around east side of summit pyramid and finish climb by standard route to summit.

DESCENT ROUTE

Descend via Fisher Chimneys and Lake Ann Trail to Mount Baker Ski Area. Alternately, descend the White Salmon Glacier for a return to the cars.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENTTIME (HR)ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Seattle to Trailhead 3.5
Trailhead to Camp h 2,500
Camp to Summit 6-8 3,600
Summit to Trailhead 8-12

EQUIPMENT

Ice ax, crampons, ice screws, pickets.

NOTES

  • Take special care on the summit pyramid gully because of loose rock and multiple parties. Some guide services do not require climbing experience as a prerequisite for this route.
  • Leaving a second vehicle at the Mount Baker Ski Area shortens the descent.
  • Some parties prefer to camp a second night above Fisher Chimneys or at Lake Ann.
  • Descent can also be made via White Salmon Glacier or Sulphide Glacier, although the latter requires a very long car shuttle.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Ice Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 6,100 ft
  • 9,127 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
    Stephen Mather Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
Map
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • USGS Shuksan Arm
  • USGS Mt Shuksan
Activities

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