Mt Shuksan North Face

The North Face of Mt Shuksan is a long, committing & incredibly rewarding alpine climb. On this 4-day adventure, we tackle 4th class rock, steep snow and ice and complex glaciated terrain. It is an epic adventure in one of the most stunning settings in the Cascade Range.
Overview
Itinerary
Prerequisites
Inclusions
Gear

We'll tackle the following objectives and skills:

  • The North Face of Mount Shuksan offers up a myriad of climbing challenges on one of the most iconic peaks in the North Cascades. - If you love steep snow and ice and are looking for a next level climb to challenge your movement skills on moderate rock, huge glaciers and large-scale, exposed slopes, look no further!

  • The Route - With a commitment rating of Grade IV, this climb is involved. Starting with the approach day, the climb involves three long (and exciting) days of climbing with full packs. We typically approach via the 4th Class rock gullies of the Fisher Chimneys, descend the White Salmon Glacier, and set camp at the base of the North Face.

  • Summit Attempt - we have a few options to get to the summit, including the Northeast Ridge, the Southeast Ridge and the normal route. They all involve moderate rock climbing between 4th Class and 5.6, and all culminate on the exposed summit block with 360 degree views of the North Cascades.

  • Descent - After taking a few moments on the summit, it’s time. From the top, rappelling and downclimbing gets us back to the Sulphide Glacier, where we navigate back to the Upper Curtis and return to camp. Our final day of the climb is downclimbing the Fisher Chimneys and a pleasant hike back to Artist Point.

  • Confirmed Wilderness Reservations - Overnight trips in the North Cascades National Park require wilderness permits. We have reserved a prime date window for the 2024 season, which is guaranteed:

  • August 12-15, 2024

    * Non-Reserved Wilderness Dates mean that we do not currently have these dates reserved with wilderness permits. We can usually get reservations for these dates and there are other camping options if we are unable to obtain a wilderness camping permit.

Here's the schedule for your trip:

  • Day 1 - Gear Check and Approach to Winnies Slide - We meet early for a gear check in Glacier, WA. After packing up, we'll begin the approach to camp on a beautiful hike through fir trees and alpine meadows, passing Lake Ann on the way to camp at Winnies Slide. The approach to camp is a long day that often takes 6-8 hours.

  • Day 2 -Descend the White Salmon Glacier - Today we position ourselves at the base of the North Face by descending the White Salmon Glacier. This allows us to get an early start on climbing the North Face of Mt Shuksan the following day.

  • Day 3 - Summit Attempt - We'll start early to climb Mount Shuksan's long and steep North Face. From the Hanging Glacier we have a number of options to gain the summit, ranging from 4th class rock to moderate 5th class rock.
    Once we gain the summit, we'll take a brief rest and soak in the views before we descend the summit pyramid using a combination of rappels and downclimbing.
    After reaching the Sulphide Glacier we'll continue our descent to Hell's Highway and the Upper Curtis Glacier enroute to our camp at Winnie's Slide.

  • Day 4 - Break Down Camp & Return to the Trailhead - On our final day, we'll pack up camp and return to the Artist Point trailhead by descending the chimneys and reversing our course through the old growth forest. This usually takes around 5 hours.

Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

  • Intermediate Alpine Climbing Experience - Including basic rope skills, experience with belaying, rappelling and technical climbing on 4th and 5th class rock. Depending on the time of year, crampon and ice axe techniques may be required.

  • Excellent fitness - Able to spend 12-16 continuous hours outside, moving uphill at over 1,000’ per hour for durations of 1-2 hours between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 12-15 miles, climbing 3,000-6,000 vertical feet throughout the course of the day. People with excellent fitness typically have a strenuous workout 4-6 days per week. Be ready for a sufferfest!

  • Mountaineering Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us
Shop Recommended Gear OR Visit our Rentals Page

Here's what's included with your trip:

  • Experienced AMGA Trained Guide
  • Ropes & Gear
  • Tent
  • Stove & Fuel
  • Group Safety Gear - your guide will be equipped with snow science tools and a first aid kit
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal in with compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Meals
  • Ice Axe, Crampons, Climbing Harness
  • Guide Gratuities

Mt Shuksan North Face Gear List


Know Before you go

SKILL LEVELAdvanced
ELEVATION4,000-9,131'
LocationMt Shuksan

Price/Person $1,895.00
Private Programs
Duration: 4 Days
View Full Itinerary
Private Programs

Blackbird Mountain Guides offers both scheduled group programs and private programs.

Private programs are simply above and beyond what Blackbird Mountain Guides currently has scheduled. Scheduled courses are not always less expensive. Before booking a trip with Blackbird Mountain Guides, clients are encouraged to review the differences between these types of programs, and to decide what works best for them.

SCHEDULED PROGRAMS

Scheduled Programs have fixed dates, itineraries, objectives, curriculum, and costs. They typically appeal to solo individuals or small groups or who are looking to share the cost of their program with a larger group. Correspondingly, scheduled programs are less expensive for smaller groups (1-2), and they provide the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. If you have a large group (3+), Scheduled programs will often be more expensive. They can fill up quickly, and scheduling flexibility is obviously limited.

Scheduled programs will have advertised dates. All scheduled programs can be run as private programs with private dates/rates as well.

PRIVATE PROGRAMS

Private programs have scheduling freedom. They typically appeal to those who would like some flexibility in planning their own trip or course. In this regard, Itineraries and objectives can be tailored to suit current conditions as well as client goals. Private programs are normally less expensive for larger groups (3+). If you have a small group (1-2) private programs will be more expensive.

Contact us
Full Itinerary
Day 1 - Gear Check and Approach to Winnies Slide We meet early for a gear check in Galcier, WA. Our guides will double check that you have all the right gear for the trip and help you minimize weight, decide on the perfect layers to pack, and choose how much food and water to bring. After packing up, we'll begin the approach to camp on a beautiful hike through fir trees and alpine meadows, passing Lake Ann and to get to the engaging terrain of the Fisher Chimneys. The Fisher Chimneys section is 3rd and 4th class rock climbing with some real exposure and the views and terrain keep things interesting all the way to camp at Winnies Slide. At camp, we're greeted with breathtaking views of the Curtis Glacier, Mount Baker and the North Cascades. The approach to camp is a long day that often takes 6-8 hours. Day 2 Today we position ourselves at the base of the North Face by descending the White Salmon Glacier. This allows us to get an early start on climbing the North Face of Mount Shuksan the following day. Day 3 We'll start early to climb Mount Shuksan's long and steep North Face. The exposed climbing starts very close to camp and we ascend nearly 3,000' of steep snow and glacial ice to gain the upper Hanging Glacier and Shuksan's summit pyramid. From the Hanging Glacier we have a number of options to gain the summit, ranging from 4th class rock to moderate 5th class rock. Once we gain the summit, we'll take a brief rest and soak in the views before we descend the summit pyramid using a combination of rappels and downclimbing. After reaching the Sulphide Glacier we'll continue our descent to Hell's Highway and the Upper Curtis Glacier enroute to our camp at Winnie's Slide. This is an engaging day and involves efficient movement and endurance! Day 4 On our final day, we'll pack up camp and return to the Artist Point trailhead by descending the chimneys and reversing our course through the old growth forest. This usually takes around 5 hours.

We'll tackle the following objectives and skills:

  • The North Face of Mount Shuksan offers up a myriad of climbing challenges on one of the most iconic peaks in the North Cascades. - If you love steep snow and ice and are looking for a next level climb to challenge your movement skills on moderate rock, huge glaciers and large-scale, exposed slopes, look no further!

  • The Route - With a commitment rating of Grade IV, this climb is involved. Starting with the approach day, the climb involves three long (and exciting) days of climbing with full packs. We typically approach via the 4th Class rock gullies of the Fisher Chimneys, descend the White Salmon Glacier, and set camp at the base of the North Face.

  • Summit Attempt - we have a few options to get to the summit, including the Northeast Ridge, the Southeast Ridge and the normal route. They all involve moderate rock climbing between 4th Class and 5.6, and all culminate on the exposed summit block with 360 degree views of the North Cascades.

  • Descent - After taking a few moments on the summit, it’s time. From the top, rappelling and downclimbing gets us back to the Sulphide Glacier, where we navigate back to the Upper Curtis and return to camp. Our final day of the climb is downclimbing the Fisher Chimneys and a pleasant hike back to Artist Point.

  • Confirmed Wilderness Reservations - Overnight trips in the North Cascades National Park require wilderness permits. We have reserved a prime date window for the 2024 season, which is guaranteed:

  • August 12-15, 2024

    * Non-Reserved Wilderness Dates mean that we do not currently have these dates reserved with wilderness permits. We can usually get reservations for these dates and there are other camping options if we are unable to obtain a wilderness camping permit.

Here's the schedule for your trip:

  • Day 1 - Gear Check and Approach to Winnies Slide - We meet early for a gear check in Glacier, WA. After packing up, we'll begin the approach to camp on a beautiful hike through fir trees and alpine meadows, passing Lake Ann on the way to camp at Winnies Slide. The approach to camp is a long day that often takes 6-8 hours.

  • Day 2 -Descend the White Salmon Glacier - Today we position ourselves at the base of the North Face by descending the White Salmon Glacier. This allows us to get an early start on climbing the North Face of Mt Shuksan the following day.

  • Day 3 - Summit Attempt - We'll start early to climb Mount Shuksan's long and steep North Face. From the Hanging Glacier we have a number of options to gain the summit, ranging from 4th class rock to moderate 5th class rock.
    Once we gain the summit, we'll take a brief rest and soak in the views before we descend the summit pyramid using a combination of rappels and downclimbing.
    After reaching the Sulphide Glacier we'll continue our descent to Hell's Highway and the Upper Curtis Glacier enroute to our camp at Winnie's Slide.

  • Day 4 - Break Down Camp & Return to the Trailhead - On our final day, we'll pack up camp and return to the Artist Point trailhead by descending the chimneys and reversing our course through the old growth forest. This usually takes around 5 hours.

Here are the skills and fitness you'll need for your course:

  • Intermediate Alpine Climbing Experience - Including basic rope skills, experience with belaying, rappelling and technical climbing on 4th and 5th class rock. Depending on the time of year, crampon and ice axe techniques may be required.

  • Excellent fitness - Able to spend 12-16 continuous hours outside, moving uphill at over 1,000’ per hour for durations of 1-2 hours between breaks. Participants should be able to hike 12-15 miles, climbing 3,000-6,000 vertical feet throughout the course of the day. People with excellent fitness typically have a strenuous workout 4-6 days per week. Be ready for a sufferfest!

  • Mountaineering Gear - Come prepared with your own gear or rent from us
Shop Recommended Gear OR Visit our Rentals Page

Here's what's included with your trip:

  • Experienced AMGA Trained Guide
  • Ropes & Gear
  • Tent
  • Stove & Fuel
  • Group Safety Gear - your guide will be equipped with snow science tools and a first aid kit
  • Wag Bags - for human waste disposal in with compliance 'Leave No Trace' principles
Not Included
  • Meals
  • Ice Axe, Crampons, Climbing Harness
  • Guide Gratuities

Mt Shuksan North Face Gear List

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Epic Reviews From Adventurers

11 reviews
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Coudn't have imagined a better Rainier Summit!

    Blackbird Guides is the best! I've been using their services for about 3 years and every adventure has been absolutely incredible. Each of the guides are full of knowledge and incredibly good at passing along their years of expertise. I just summited Rainier with Brandon and Andrew and I couldn't have imagined a better experience all around. I refer everyone I know to Blackbird.

    April H.
    Flag of United States
    Verified Buyer
    Mt Rainier Summit & Skills Expedition 5 Day
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Much better than expected.

    BlackBird guides were professional. I highly recommend them.

    Justin
    Mt Baker Summit Climb 1 Day
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Hit 3 Cascade summits, truly outstanding guiding!

    We did a five day trip. Hit three summits. Truly outstanding guiding by Zeb and Aaron. Their knowledge of the mountains is impressive. They knew how to modify the trip on the fly based on skill level. Pushed the right amount to get us there but still made it casual and fun. I rock climb but this was my first alpine climbing and I’d recommend Blackbird to any first timers.

    Anthony V.
    Flag of United States
    Forbidden Peak North Ridge
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Baker North Ridge was amazing!

    Did a 3 day trip with Blackbird on Baker North Ridge. Was an amazing experience. Our guide, Arthur, was knowledge, and willing to teach us. Would be happy to book another trip with them again.

    David S.
    Flag of United States
    Verified Buyer
    Mt Baker North Ridge Summit Climb
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