Trip Report    

Black Peak/Northeast Ridge

Great climb of the NE ridge at a moderately fast pace.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Our experience with this route was different from many of the trip reports I read ahead of time, so I thought it might be worth adding to the confusion with yet another trip report.

Due to schedule constraints, we decided to hike in and climb on Saturday, then camp at Wing Lake and hike out early Sunday. We started up the trail at 7:45am, set up camp, and started up towards the ridge around 10:30am.

Approaching the ridge, we followed Kyle McCrohan’s excellent advice: “follow the hogsback moraine wide right and then traverse back left to the notch. This allows you to stay on more stable terrain and largely avoid the snow” ( For a late season approach, this worked really well.

We crossed a very short section of firm moderately angled snow right before scrambling to the ridge. Due to our relatively late start from the car, the snow surface was just soft enough to ascend with poles. If I had brought an axe and/or crampons, I would have used them here for added security.

The scramble to the ridge from this point was easy class 3, although with plenty of loose rock, so we had to be mindful of each other's positions.

At the ridge, we roped up and started simul climbing at noon. One person in the group had done the route before - although he didn’t remember many details of the route, he remembered that staying on top of the ridge as much as possible worked best. That proved true, and that advice was enough to  minimize route finding problems when I was leading.

Most of the terrain was class 3 or 4, with occasional brief easy class 5 sections. Although there is some loose rock at the beginning of the route, it is avoidable with some care. Fortunately the rock quality was good on the class 5 sections, and the timing of our lead swaps worked out well allowing us to belay the two hardest sections. Kyle’s description of the climbing route linked above accurately describes the route as we experienced it.

After a little under two and half hours of climbing, we reached the summit around 2:15pm. The hike down is a bit tedious, starting with loose rock, and ending with slippery hard dirt. The South ridge route would be much more enjoyable on snow.

We got back to Wing Lake around 3:30pm. Given the early hour, we discussed hiking out without camping, but in the end decided to hang out and stay the night. The next morning we packed up and left camp at 6:30am, and got back to the cars around 8:30am.

Gear Notes:

  • Both teams used around  25m of rope between climbers. This worked well for minimizing rope drag, while leaving enough pro between us
  • My rope used a double rack, the other team used a single rack. Both worked fine, and both teams’ simul blocks ended up being about the same length. I was happy to have plenty of gear options when I was leading. Lots of double slings were helpful.
  • Approach shoes worked great for the whole route.
  • If I were to repeat this route late season, I would likely bring a light axe and crampons in case of hard snow.