Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Black Peak/Northeast Ridge

Successful summit on Sunday 6/26. 100% snow cover after Heather Pass, a short approach to great views, and nice campsites on bare rock patches near Wing Lake. Stiff & steep snow on the ascent to the NE ridge notch and super loose rock the first 100 meters along the ridge. Exposure galore.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail from Rainy Pass to Heather Pass snow free with just a few blow downs.  100% snow cover beyond Heather Pass to Wing Lake and up to the notch on the NE ridge.  The climb route is snow free, but very loose rock on the first 100 meters.

We drove up to Rainy Pass on Saturday morning, stopping at Mondos in Marblemount for lunch and departing the TH at 2pm.  Arrived at Wing Lake by 5pm making excellent time on very good trails to Heather Pass and then on snow (covering talus fields).  Set up camp and enjoyed a non-hurried dinner with great views.

Woke at 4am on Sunday morning, prepped & ate, and got underway at 5:15am and back to camp at 5:15pm.  Climbed steep & stiff snow field to the notch on the ridge, ascending on climbers left up and over a rock band close to the NE ridge wall.  Traversed to climbers right over the rock band until we could land on a bare strip of talus, and continued right until we were directly under the notch, then straight up front pointing with axes in dagger position for 40 feet to the top of a narrow snow ridge. Crossed climbers left to rock and scrambled to the base of the climb route.

First 100 meters super loose with unavoidable and unnerving rock fall, but much better rock once over this section.  Exhilarating exposure and some route finding challenges along the way.  A cairned 4th class gulley leads to the summit.  Well-deserved lunch there with perfect views.

Back down the gulley, more cairns lead across the mountain face to the decent trail on the west ridge and down to a saddle and access to open snow fields and easy plunge-stepping back to the campsite. Second lunch, pumping more water, and packing up before departing Wing Lake by 7:30pm and back to the cars with plenty of light remaining.  Relaxed with packs off and comfortable shoes, we shared chip varieties and drank Lemonade before driving for home.

By the time we got there, everything was closed in Marblemount, so no opportunities for snacks or caffeine until Darrington or Arlington.