Inspiration Peak/South Face

Located in the Southern Picket Range in North Cascades National Park, this route follows a ramp system and then finishes by a "Great Gash" in the upper part of the face. It's a Grade III, 5.8 rock climb.

getting there

Drive SR-20 to Newhalem. On the west edge of town turn north following signs of "WA DOT maintenance yard." Almost immediately turn left and in a couple hundred feet stay right at a fork following signs for a group campground (at end of road). Before the campground, a fraction of a mile from fork, look for a 30 yard long pull-out fork on the right and park there.


Hike the Goodell Creek Trail for 4.5 miles then look for a climbers boot path on your right. The boot path is hard to follow so route finding skills here are needed. The path travels north and slightly east until you hit a high saddle at ~6,000 ft. Descend this broad but steep gully and find a camp spot below. From camp traverse north/northwest gently losing elevation in order to drop low enough to cross a drainage from a small tarn just southeast of McMillan Spires. Beyond the drainage ascend slabs and snow slopes heading northwest toward the edge of Terror Glacier.


The south face can be accessed from a couple points on the glacier, just be careful around the moat. Expect a bit of low 5th class climbing then some third and fourth class climbing before reaching the ramp system with the 400-foot, left-facing corner, known as the "Great Gash." Climb the gash (5.8) to a chimney and continue up the right side of the chimney (5.7-5.8) until reaching the upper section of the West Ridge. Then climb the remainder of the West Ridge to the summit.


The most straight-forward descent is down the West Ridge.


Standard glacier gear. Rock pro to 2.5 inches.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Length: 16.0 None
  • Elevation Gain: 7,500 ft
  • 7,880 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 6
  • USGS Mt Challenger
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
Trip Reports

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