Mount Shuksan/Sulphide Glacier

A 7 mile forest approach to a gentle glacier climb in the North Cascades that ends with a 500 feet snow (early season) or rock scramble up the summit pyramid. Impressive views of Mount Baker and the North Cascade peaks. If the summit rock is icy, evaluate carefully and perhaps forgo summit. Times: 5-6 hr hike to camp, and 5-6 hr from camp to summit.

Getting there

Drive SR 20 to Baker Lake Road. Continue 23 mi along west and north side of Baker Lake to Shannon Creek Campground. Go left on Forest Road 1152 and continue to just beyond 4 mi marker ignoring all spur roads. Take sharp right onto Forest Road 1152-014 spur (marker may be obscured by tree branches) to trailhead.

APPROACH

Hike the trail (an old road) northeast for 2 mi to the end at about 3,800 ft, then proceed left through open brush. Switchback up to forested north-south ridge. Go north on ridge for 0.75 mi to timberline where ridge flattens out (about 4,600 ft). Go 2 mi up along a flat crest through broken timber and meadows to intersect a major north-south ridge at a pass where the flat crest yields to sloping mountainside (~5,400 ft).

Make camp here or 1,000 feet higher. Be prepared to camp on snow and to melt snow for water. Do not camp on heather benches even if available, except for prepared campsites. Blue bags or use of solar toilets required at camps on ridge (~6,400 ft) or rock island (~6,100 ft) near glacier water melt.

ASCENT ROUTE

Cross the ridge and traverse 900-1,200 feet northeast to intersect south snout of Sulphide Glacier on east side of the North Ridge. If visibility is good, take a long right hand curved route up and across Sulphide Glacier to the left side (north) of the summit rock pyramid. Continue northeast along and up this route to the summit pyramid.

Continue up a Class 3 rock gully (snow in early season) to the summit (9,127 ft). The gully route starts up thenface shortly above the rock step at base of the pyramid and trends slightly left. If the rock is covered with ice, do not attempt summit.

DESCENT ROUTE

Descend the climbing route.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Trailhead to Camp 5-6 3,800
Camp to Summit 5-6 2,600
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 3

EQUIPMENT

Standard glacier equipment and helmet.

NOTES

  • There is trailhead registration for Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest which includes the trailhead, trail and part of off-trail approach. There is no trailhead registration for the mandatory North Cascades National Park Wilderness Permits. The Mount Shuksan summit, climbing route, camps and part of approach are within North Cascades National Park. Permits can be obtained at the combined  Sedro-Wooley Ranger Station. Visit the North Cascades National Park website for current permit information.
  • 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.
  • It is possible to ascend from snow covered moraine onto crevassed glacier without realizing it. Take care in choosing when and where to rope up.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 3, Technical 2
  • Length: 16.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,500 ft
  • 9,127 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Lake Shannon No. 46
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • USGS Shuksan Arm
  • USGS Mt Shuksan
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports
Resources

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

Tags: