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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Black Peak/Northeast Ridge

One day push of Black Peak. 19 hour day that could have been a 16 hour day but overall a successful and fun trip with surprisingly good climbing for low 5th class!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • -Snow from Heather Pass on.

    -Wing lake mostly frozen over but melted off enough to filter water.

    -Short 45 degree snow slope leading up to the notch next to the ridge.


    -Short, cornice-like snow crossing from notch to start of route.

    ridge on notch.jpg

    -Some loose rock on the NE ridge but not as bad as I was expecting from other trip reports. Just be careful and double check all holds. Picture below gives good shot of the ridge and what the climbing is like.

    climbing ridge.jpg

    -We saw two boulders slung with rappel rings on summit block but rappelling with all the loose rock seemed super sketch to me. 

    -Quickest way to get from summit block to S. Side descent route is to stay directly on the ridge all the way across to the dirt trail down (you can see in pic below the dirt trail off to climber's left).

    summit to s side.jpg

    -S. side scramble down was snow free with lots of chossy scree but an obvious trail down marked by cairns.

    -Two nice snow slopes at end of scree trail with great run outs for glissading all the way to Wing lake.

    descent slope.jpg

2:15 AM-depart trailhead

6 AM-arrive Wing Lake for short break

6:20 AM Start approach to the NE Ridge (there is an obvious boot pack forking off from Wing Lake to the S. Side route but for the NE Ridge you essentially want to hike straight up the snow field). I drew arrows showing our path up from Wing Lake to the start of the climb.

approach from wing.jpg

8:30 AM Arrive at notch

8:45 AM Start scramble from notch (there was a party of 2 in front of us who started roped here and had nowhere to place and since it was 4th class terrain with not bad exposure, we decided to start off unroped)

route start.jpg

(start of route)

9:30 AM roped up at about 8,500' once we got higher on the ridge and there were better placement options. We simul-climbed the entire ridge with 2 rope teams of 3 people.

unroped scramble.jpg

Scrambling unroped for a ways (off to climber's left, just shy of the ridge) until we got to a section of the rock with less loose rock and better placement options on the ridge


(Fun little section of climbing)

final tower.jpg

(final short ascent before summit)

1:30 PM Reach summit

2 PM Second rope team reaches summit

3 PM Begin descent from summit

This is where we got off track on our timeline. Someone in our party wore approach shoes instead of boots and struggled on the snow slope descent to Wing Lake. Half of our group made it down to Wing lake from the summit in 90 minutes.

6:15 PM Arrive Wing Lake, quick break and filter water

From Wing Lake to heather pass it was pretty slow going because of the snow conditions and the person in our group in approach shoes. However, those of us in boots did great in the snow (no crampons needed, pretty good snow conditions the entire descent!)

9:30 PM Arrive Cars

Overall a great day with a fun group of people! The timing got way off track at the end because of the footwear mishap, but if that hadn't happened I think ~16 hours car to car is a reasonable time estimate, even at a leisurely pace with some good breaks.

The climbing was also way more interesting than I was expecting for 4th class and low 5th class. There were some fun moves and the rock quality was better than I expected based on other reports.


-Brought one 60M and one 70M rope. Simul-climbed with 3 people per rope, middle person clipped in via alpine butterfly, they would pass the pro to the other side of the butterfly and final climber would clean gear.

-Each rope team brought: 8 doubles, 12 singles, double rack of cams .2-2, set of nuts. This made it so we could simul-climb the entire route in 2 pitches (only one transition when I ran out of gear). However, I'd suggest bringing 10-20 doubles (or as many as you have) with single carabiners on them, 6 single alpine draws, and a half rack (could honestly get away with less). There are excellent horns the entire ridge you can sling so I'd drop some of the gear weight and just load up on slings.