Seward Peak

A seldom climbed, Class 4 scramble up the third summit of the Black Buttes near Mount Baker in the North Cascades.


From the SR-542 (Mt Baker Highway) and SR-9 roundabout junction, continue east on SR-542 for 2.3 miles. Turn right onto Mosquito Lake Road, drive 4.8 miles, and turn left on Middle Fork Road. Drive 9 miles and turn left onto Forest Road 38. Drive far as road conditions allow. There is limited parking (1-3 cars) typically found at switchbacks. The road is heavily washed out at 3,000 ft and is unpassable by most vehicles.


Hike Forest Road 38 to 3,700 ft. Follow a climbers trail or bushwhack north to gain a ridge at ~4,400 ft. Follow the the path on the ridge until it peters out at ~5,600 ft. Follow the path of least resistance in a generally northeast direction towards the west flank of Seward Peak. Near 7,300 ft look southeast for a short gully with access to the Black Butte ridge line. Ascend the dirty gully, with the option to go through a squeeze tunnel if following the gully proper. Some climbers may choose to rope up for the gully. Gain the ridge and follow it north along Class 2 terrain to the summit.


Rappel the gully and retrace your steps.


  • This route sees little traffic and consequently the gully is full of loose rock.
  • Water is typically available at multiple locations between a tarn at 5,800 ft and Seward Peak.
  • Spring snow may provide a convenient snow ramp through the gully. Alpine ice may be a concern late season for the approach to the gully.
  • This route description differs from the one in Fred Beckey's in Cascade Alpine Guide, Vol. 3.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb
  • Length: 13.0 None
  • Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft
  • 8,005 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
    Mount Baker Wilderness, Mount Baker Ranger District (MBSNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX
  • USGS Mt Baker
  • USGS Baker Pass
  • USGS Groat Mtn
  • USGS Twin Sisters Mountain
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