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 miles 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.


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.


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.


Descend the climbing route.


Trailhead to Camp 5-6 3,800
Camp to Summit 5-6 2,600
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 3


Standard glacier equipment and helmet.


  • There is trailhead registration for Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest which includes the trailhead, trail and part of off-trail approach, but 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. Visit the land manager's website (link below) 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.

Information for Leaders


This route allows multiple bookings. Please check scheduled trips listed below in the "Activities" tab to see if there is another group already booked on the same day. Leaders are expected to contact the leader(s) of existing trips to ensure there are no concerns or conflicts, according to The Mountaineers Outdoor Ethics Policy. Please review our Group Size & Multiple Bookings page for guidance.

  • 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
  • Green Trails Lake Shannon No. 46
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • USGS Shuksan Arm
  • USGS Mt Shuksan
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX
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