June-September: Cascades Alpine Climbing

June-September: Cascades Alpine Climbing

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1-3 Days

Ratio 2:1 to 1:1

Alpine climbing is a mix of everything - remoteness, glacier travel, steep snow, rock climbing. Its the Jack-of-all-Trades disciplines, the pentathlon event of climbing. Its that mix of combinations with the wilderness and remoteness that has kept me in the Cascades. Here are some of my favorite alpine climbs in the Cascades. 

Snoqualmie Pass. The alpine climbing in the Alpental Valley at Snoqualmie Pass was the training ground for a generation of climbers before Highway 20 and North Cascades National Park was built and surveyed. While most of the routes are only a day trip, there are two overnight trips that are worth while objectives.

  • Chair Peak - NE Buttress (easy 5th class)
  • The Tooth - South Face (easy 5th)
  • The Bryant-Tooth Traverse (5.6)
  • Guye Peak - The Improbable Traverse (5.8)
  • Chair Peak - West Ridge (5.8)
  • The Tooth - East Face (5.8)
  • Mt Thomson - West Ridge (1 or 1.5 days, 5.6)
  • The Snoqualmie Trilogy - a three-day, two-night link up of Chair Peak, the North Ridge of Kaleetan Peak and the Bryant-Tooth Traverse

North Cascades - Cascade River Road. Justifiably one of the most popular destinations for alpine climbing, the Cascade River Road accesses the southwestern edge of North Cascades National Park, and some of the best climbing anywhere. From moderate trad climbs to fun glacier routes, there are routes for everyone, given two or three days.

  • Sahale Peak - Quien Sabe Glacier
  • Eldorado Peak - East Ridge
  • Forbidden Peak - the West Ridge (easy 5th class), East Ridge (5.8), North Ridge (5.6), NW Rib (5.8), and South Face (5.10a) are all worthy objectives 
  • Dorado Needle - SW Buttress (3 days, 5.8)
  • The Torment-Forbidden Traverse. My personal favorite, this 1.5 mile ridge traverse connects Mt Torment to Forbidden Peak, and features fantastic camps.

More Great Climbs. 

  • Mt Shuksan. A lot like Forbidden, this mountain has something for everyone. Fun glacier route? Sulphide Glacier. Low 5th class? Fisher Chimneys. Steep Snow? North Face. Moderate Rock? The NW Arayete (5.9). And all summit the iconic pyramid. If you've looked at this mountain from the Mt Baker ski area, you know it begs to be climbed.
  • Mt Triumph, NE Buttress. A great alternative to a busy weekend on Forbidden Peak, without all the people.