The Chilliwacks Peaks

Climb Mount Redoubt, Mount Spickard, Easy Mox, Hard Mox, Mount Custer, Mount Rahm, and/or other peaks in the remote Chilliwacks area of the North Cascades so near the Canadian border that you'll walk in from Canada. After a long, challenging drive and approach, tackle the alpine glacier, ice, and rock climbing routes on these mountains.

Getting there

Cross border into Canada, drive Transcanada Highway 1 and take Exit 119A, Chilliwack/Sardis, heading south. Drive 3.4 miles thru town and turn left onto the Chilliwack River Road (just before bridge over river) and drive 31.7 miles. Turn left onto the narrow dirt Depot Creek Road (there is no sign, it's ~200 yards before bridge over Depot Creek). It might be good to park here, in the large turnout on right, because Depot Creek Road gets increasingly rough and overgrown. But those with high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles may continue for 2.5 miles. Take Depot Creek Road for 2.5 miles, staying left at intersection at 1.7 miles, and park in large, open intersection where short spur leads right to a broken bridge over Depot Creek. In the first 0.5 to 1.0 mile, there are a few small places to park, pass, or turn around.

approach

From intersection, hike straight ahead up road for 50-200 yards, turn left and hike up intersecting road for 0.3 mile, turn right at T intersection, and hike 2 miles on flat road to its end in old clearcut. Follow a way trail for 200 yards into old growth and into the United States. Find the border obelisk and trail register. Follow the old trail up Depot Creek valley. Near a waterfall, the route gets wet, noisy, and misty. Ascend very wet and slippery 8-foot rock step and scamper up to dry rock. Ascend way trail straight up into trees (worse) or diagonally up and right on less obvious way trail (better). Follow way trails up to very long, narrow boulder field. Either ascend boulder field (~1,000 feet) or cross it and look for a continuing way trail. The routes converge into nicer trail near the top of the nearby cascading waterfall, and the valley flattens and opens up at about 4,800 ft (potential campsite here). A good way trail hugs the left (north) edge of the valley.

Camps

  • Find an excellent camp for both Redoubt and Spickard on flat, sandy, treeless benches at Lkae Ouzel, the small lake at the head of the valley (~5,700 ft).
  • For Redobt's Northeast Ridge, continue a bit higher and bivy at 6,000 ft or higher just below the Depot Glacier.
  • Good camps for Mox Peaks are (1) Lake Ouzel, (2) the flat area on the Redoubt Glacier at ~7,300 ft, or (3) bivy sites at the south edge of the Redoubt Glacier on the Depot-Redoubt Creek Divide.

Ascent route

Mount Redoubt/South Face (8,956 ft)

From lake at the head of Depot Creek (5,700 ft), scramble up the large, broken buttress southwest of the lake (the route should have cairns to prevent confusion on the descent). On the upper part of the buttress, work far right, then up for easy access to the Redoubt Glacier. Ascend glacier to the south, then west and over the low point, at ~7,800 ft, in the large rock flying buttress (a scramble with high snow cover or Class 5 with low snow cover). Contour west across the south slope. Ascend open, moderately steep slopes, up and left, into the high left side of the South Face basin. Just above the basin, scramble a rocky ramp, which ascends gently from left to right. This ends near a vertical, shallow rock gully that is about 6-8 feet wide. Scramble up good rock and follow the gully system, tending left when there are choices. At the top of a steep gully section, exit left, into a major gully, and look for the cannon hole at the top of that gully (~100 feet away). Slide through hole onto the North Face, and drop a few feet to a good ledge. Walk a few feet northwest and climb 50 feet directly up to summit on mostly solid Class 4 rock.

Mount Spickard/South Ridge (8,879 ft)

From the lake at the head of Depot Creek (5,700 ft), hike directly up and northeast toward the pass  at 7,200 ft that leads to Silver Lake. Well before the pass, turn right and ascend around the right side of the steep, rocky buttress into open slopes and basins. Continue up on moderately steep snow slopes (there may be some ice) toward a low point in the south ridge of Mount Spickard. Find and cross this easy pass at about 8,000 ft. Drop about 50 feet and easily contour east. Find short, easy rock step and pop up on the wide open southeast slope. Ascend easy, then moderate open slopes (there may be some ice), and then scramble gullies. The summit is on the right (north) end of the summit ridge.

Mount Redoubt/Northeast Face (8,956 ft)

From the campsite at 6,000 ft, ascend high, crevassed arm of Depot Glacier to the ice apron on its northeast face. Crevasses and bergschrunds may be challenging in late season or low snow years. Cross first bergschrunds on right, then climb five pitches of ice up to 60°. Climb near the left edge of the ice apron and ascend to where it tapers to a rock rib. Climb two pitches on rock, then traverse left to steep couloir that leads to notch southeast of summit. From the notch, scramble 400 feet to the summit on extremely rotten rock.

Easy Mox (8,404 ft)

The West Ridge of the Northwest Spire, the shorter of the Twin Spires, is a Grade II, Class 4 to low Class 5 climb.

Hard Mox (8,509 ft)

The route on the Southeast Spire, the taller of the Twin Spires, is a Grade II-III, 5.5 rock climb.

From lake at the head of Depot Creek (Lake Ouzel, 5,700 ft), scramble up the large, broken buttress southwest of the lake (the route should have cairns to prevent confusion on the descent). On the upper part of the buttress, work far right, then up for easy access to the Redoubt Glacier. Ascend glacier to the south, bearing first WSW to a flat area at ~7,300 ft and good camping option. Continue south on the glacier to the Depot-Redoubt Creek divide (7,200 ft, another camping option at bivy sites). Cross to the south side of the divide and pick a contour line east then south until beneath a col between the spires (Easy and Hard Mox) known as the "Col of the Wild." Ascend to the col. From here to the summit pitches consists of Class 3-4 scrambling followed by three pitches of technical rock climbing. Much of the scrambling can be broken into sections with landmarks, and there are cairns marking the way. Start by scrambling up and climber's right towards the Ridge of Gendarmes. Descend a 10-foot vertical step in this section (Class 4). Aim for a prominent notch in the ridge of Gendarmes. From here look for the summit block of Hard Mox—the left skyline is the climbing route, and it looks intimidating. Next, traverse and drop 200 feet east toward a prominent gully (it may be snow filled or have a lingering snow-finger) and rappel or downclimb this gully/snow finger to its base to a ledge. In this section cross an exposed "crumbly ledge" (Class 4) before reaching the gully. Round the ridge on the ledge and look up to see a series of gullies. Take the rightmost gully (it's loose). The bottom is Class 3-4 and then the terrain eases up. The gully ends at a notch. Rope up here and climb three pitches to the summit. The first pitch is the crux (5.5) and the final pitch is Class 4 (sparse pro). There are anchors and rappel slings on the route. For more detail consult Cascade Alpine Guide, Vol 3, p 130 or Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks: Routes For Hikers, Scramblers, and Climbers, pp 30-31.

Descent route

Mount Redoubt

Descend South Face climbing route, downclimbing and/or rappelling as needed (one large
anchor rock on summit may be loose).

Mount Spickard

Descend the South Ridge climbing route.

Trip Profile

Mount Redoubt

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Trailhead to Camp 6-9 3,300
Camp to Summit 6 3,300
Summit to Camp 4
Camp to Trailhead 5-7

Mount Spickard

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Trailhead to Camp 6-9 3,300
Camp to Summit 5 3,200
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 5-7

notes

  • The road to the approach requires a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. There are typically lots of blow downs in the old growth forest.
  • The unmaintained road and trail was informally brushed-out as of Aug 2000. If not brushed out, the approach can be grueling in addition to being strenuous and athletic.
  • Mount Spickard and Mount Redoubt can be climbed from the same camp. If camping halfway up the valley (4,800 ft) scramble up and left onto large buttress for a shortcut to the Redoubt Glacier. 
  • The seriousness and length of this climb suggests a trip of three days minimum.
  • In addition to Mount Redoubt, Mount Spickard, and Twin Spires, consider Mount Custer and Mount Rahm.
  • Guidebook: Washington's Highest Mountains: Basic Alpine and Glacier Routes by Peggy Goldman (Wilderness Press 2004).
  • Guidebook: Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks: Routes For Hikers, Scramblers, and Climbers by Scott Stephenson and Brian Bongiovanni (Alpenbooks 2005).

Information for Leaders

Considerations for international travel

  • Start by reviewing the latest regulations.
  • Everyone will need a passport or other valid ID such as a NEXUS card.
  • NEXUS cards can save a lot of time but only work if everyone in the car has one.
  • Make sure your vehicle insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Make sure your health insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Border crossing regulations are strict in both directions. Know what you’re allowed to take and declare everything to avoid problems.
  • You may be able to save time by checking alternate border crossings. Find apps that show updated times and other good tips.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb, Intermediate Mountaineering Climb, Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Length: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 7,500 ft
  • 8,979 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
    Stephen Mather Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • USGS Mt Spickard
  • USGS Mt Redoubt
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
Activities

Upcoming Activities

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Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Mount Redoubt & Mount Spickard
  • Mount Redoubt/Northeast Face
  • Mount Redoubt/South Face
  • Mount Spickard/South Ridge
  • Mount Spickard/South Ridge & Mount Redoubt/South Face
  • Mount Spickard/Northeast Face & Mount Redoubt/South Face
  • Twin Spires
  • Twin Spires (Mox Peaks)
  • Mox Peaks
  • Mox Peaks (Twin Spires)
  • Mox, Custer & Rahm
  • Redoubt, Spickard, Mox, Custer & Rahm
  • Mount Redoubt, Mount Spickcard & Twin Spires
  • Mount Redoubt, Mount Spickcard & Mox Peaks
Resources

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