Climbing routes in North Cascades National Park
Clipping in on the North Cascades? This divine alpine destination less than three hours from Seattle is defined by jagged peaks and over 300 glaciers thanks to its northerly location and maritime climate. Perched in the far northern reaches of the state, the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park lines your trails here. Hikers, campers, skiers, mountain bikers, and climbing enthusiasts all flock here throughout the year to enjoy the carpets of wildflowers in the spring, the sunny peaks in the summer, vibrant fall colors, and snow-laden trails throughout the wintertime.
With jagged ridgelines, deep gorges, and perfect pockets of granite scattered throughout, this sometimes-remote destination is a true climber’s adventure. The solid rock offers chimneys, cracks, flakes, roofs, and more. The perk of exploring the North Cascades? You won’t be battling groups of people as you go compared to some of the other main parks in Washington state. See you out there!
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Best Climbing routes in North Cascades National Park
Forbidden Peak Climb
Forbidden Peak is one of Washington’s 100 steepest climbs, and it is a Class 5 climb only recommended for those with mountaineering experience and the proper gear. The horn-shaped summit offers remarkable views in all directions, and each ascent approach offers great rock quality. The West Ridge is the most commonly climbed route, likely due to its inclusion in the 50 Classic Climbs in North America.
Eldorado Peak Climb
Eldorado Peak is a very difficult mountaineering route that requires climbing gear, climbing experience, and routefinding skills. Most of the trail isn’t marked, so you should be comfortable navigating across scree and snow. This climb is 12.6 km long and requires 2,060 m of elevation gain. There is a difficult river crossing early on and it can be hard to find the trailhead.
Some climbers do this ascent in one day, but this often takes up to 17 hours.
Mount Shuksan via the Fischer Chimneys Approach
Mount Shuksan via the Fischer Chimneys Approach is a 25.3 km mountaineering route in the North Cascades that is loved by many for its beauty but certainly not accessible to most due to its difficulty. This is a route that requires proper mountaineering experience, equipment, and preparation.
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