Ruth Mountain & Icy Peak Traverse

An easy snow/glacier climb to Ruth and then to camp, is followed by another glacier climb with a bit of 3rd class rock scrambling to reach Icy. Or plan this as a ski/snowboard trip to Ruth Mountain. Enjoy spectacular views of the northeast side of Shuksan and other North Cascades peaks. Black flies and mosquitoes can be bothersome on the hike to Hannegan Pass and there are some rockfall issues on Icy Peak. Times:5-6 hr trailhead to camp on Ruth Mountain, 3-5 hr camp to summit of Icy Peak.

Getting There

Drive I-5 to just north of Bellingham. Take SR 542 east to the town of Glacier. From Glacier drive 13 mi. Just before Nooksack River Bridge turn left on Nooksack River Road. In about 1.5 mi,  take left fork, Ruth Creek Rd (Forest Road 32), and continue 4.5 mi to road end at Hannegan Campground (3,000 ft). 

APPROACH

Hike trail 4 mi to Hannegan Pass (5,056 ft). From Hannegan Pass take climbers trail east and south to beyond a pond (the trail is on the south side of the pond and partially concealed by trees) and then upward bearing left around cliffs of a shoulder. A traverse south leads to a ridge ending at the base of Ruth Glacier on the north slope.

Climbing ROUTE

Rope up and traverse glacier south to first notch right (northwest) of Ruth Mountain's summit. Camp on other side of notch on snow if possible, to minimize impact (6,600 ft): A shovel may be of some use.

Traverse west facing snow slope to south facing ridge leading down to the Ruth Mountain-Icy Peak saddle. Rather than going down the normal steep gully of loose scree and rock leading directly to the saddle area, stay left of the gully and descend a leftwards slanting slope to saddle area (5,800 ft).

Climb gradual glacier on Icy's northwest slope in general southeast direction, keeping rock ridge on left and crevasses on right. At about 6,500 ft, head south and traverse top part of glacier at the west face of Icy Peak. Skirt Icy Peak's west notch and turn up the south side of Icy Peak through talus and snow.

Find first prominent gully and climb to top where rap slings are around a horn. (Fixed line recommended). Summit is a couple steps above and left. Watch for loose rock and wear helmets!

Ski/snowboard ROUTE

Coming soon...

TRIP PROFILE

Ruth Mountain & Icy Peak Traverse

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET) ELEVATION Loss (Feet)
Trailhead to Camp 5-6 3,600
Camp to Summit 3-5 1,270 800
Summit to Camp 2-3 800 1,270
Camp to Trailhead 3-4 3,660

Ruth Mountain

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET) ELEVATION Loss (Feet)
Trailhead to Camp 5-6 3,600
Camp to Summit 3-5 1,315
Summit to Camp 2-3 1,315
Camp to Trailhead 3-4 3,660

EQUIPMENT

Standard rock and glacier equipment for the Icy Peak Traverse. Standard glacier equipment for Ruth Mountain.

NOTES

  • Many way trails run from Ruth Glacier along ridge. If visibility is poor, pay attention to trail selection at this point, especially on descent. The grayish gully on left seems to be the best for final summit approach. Students can go up with a handline protecting themselves with a prussik.
  • Helmets required on the climbing route!
  • May want to limit party size to six or nine, due to some single file travel at summit and in a gully or two, and some rockfall hazard.
  • Suitable Activities: Backcountry Skiing, Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 3, Technical 2, M2G Mountain 2 Glacier Ski
  • Length: 16.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,500 ft
  • 7,073 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13S
  • Green Trails Mt Shuksan No. 14
  • USGS Mt Shuksan
  • USGS Mt Sefrit
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