This route is a quintessential Cascades ridge climb, featuring easy climbing, brilliant position and pulse-quickening exposure. Rock quality is "not good" at the bottom of the route, and improves noticeably to "mediocre" as you ascend.
The route is mostly fourth-class with some low-fifth steps. Good simulclimbing terrain.
Routefinding is generally easier than it appears. Climb the ridge, tending toward the left side more than the right.
From camp near Wing Lake, climb easy snow to the low spot in the NE ridge (some scrambling depending on season).
Once on the summit, the descent is the south scramble route. Use one rap or downclimb to gain the flat benches immediately below. Move east and uphill briefly, then work south down complicated, chossy benches, toward the south col. There may be cairns to help you out. Descending from the col to Wing Lake is much more pleasant when snow-covered.
If you need protection, bring a light alpine rack and a rope.
Black Peak on the approach. S Ridge is the left s...
Looking down to the NW face
High on the NE Ridge of Black Peak
By Tom Bath
From: Kent, Wa
Nov 5, 2009
The rock on the 1st half of the ridge is very loose. Definitely a helmet route.
By J. Manning
From: Seattle, WA
Jul 22, 2015
The rock on this route was much more solid than expected. There is definitely loose rock but with careful hold selection, it is not a big issue. With sticky approach or rock shoes, the climbing is fun and easy and it seems like a rope would get in the way. The exposure is significant, but tamed by the width of the ridge - even on the crest, it is often sidewalk width or wider. The low fifth class sections totaled maybe 30-40 feet. Lots of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Route finding is generally straightforward. We made it to the notch without crampons or axe in late summer conditions. In fact, the loose rock and rubble on the sandy approach ledges were worse than anything encountered on the ridge proper. Definitely a fun route and one worth repeating.