First time to North Cascades NP


Original Post
Josh Allred · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 165

Im flying in from SLC to take my bro snow camping. He's new to this stuff. He wants to go to North Cascades.

I am going to be working with him on the basics: snow camping, identify avalanche terrain, practice with crampons/axe, etc. 

But we like to tag a peak while out there. It cant be technical though. Snowshoes only. 

Any suggestion?

We will be going Sunday, April 23 - Tuesday, April 25. So we have some time.

Thank you in advance.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 246

Sahale, Shuksan, and Baker are all classic options with mostly snow routes available in the North Cascades. 

Weather can be a bit rowdy up there during April, so I'd keep an open mind. 

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Lots of snow this year, I think whatever roads are open are gonna be your limiting factor. Check the NPS/USFS road report before you go. Eldorado is a popular winter/spring objective, but the knife-edge might be scary for him and you'd probably want pickets and a rope. Bring skis for the approach pretty much anywhere. Hidden Lakes Peak is also off Cascade River Road and mellower than Eldorado. That's also a good time to head up to the Enchantments since it's before permit season starts. Not technically the North Cascades but pretty close. You'd have to slog up Snow Creek since the road up to Stuart/Colchuck Lakes is not going to be open.

You can travel via foot or bike on Highway 20 in the closure area but only during the weekend, as avalanche control and snow removal happen during the week. 

Have fun!

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

Jimmy is spot on.  Lots of snow this year.  Colchuck/Enchantments would be a good bet.

Josh Allred · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 165

Perfect thank you!

Any thoughts on: 

Trappers Peak
Mt Dickerman

We are flexible. 

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

I've never been in either of those areas in the winter, but if you're interested in the area around Mount Dickerman then Gothic Basin would be a great place to spend a few days snow camping. Check with the Darrington Ranger District if the road to Barlow Pass is open, but that's lower elevation and should be snow-free sooner than the others.

You'll be able to get to the Thornton Lakes road for trapper peak but I'm not sure how far up towards the trailhead you'll make it. That area is gorgeous.

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 90

http://www.stephabegg.com/

she did some snow shoe ascents and wrote trip reports about them

Curtveld · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 400

Some good ideas above, IF you were coming in summer, or at least late spring once the snowpack had consolidated and roads were melted out. But it's still deep fluff above 4K with little signs of changing any time soon. Getting up on a big mountain could be pretty sketchy, avi-wise.

I'd drive up to the Mt Baker Ski Area and snowshoe up to Artist Point.  It's a flat ridge-top with absolutely stunning views of Baker and Shuksan! From there, explore the local slopes, dig some pits, get up on Table Mountain or Mt Herman if snow conditions are good. Great place to base camp for a couple of nights!

Keith Ireland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

I would consider Mt. Rainier over the time period you are looking at. Consider doing Little Tahoma, with basic glacier skills, or spend time in the Tatoosh range just south of Rainier. The tatoosh range has a wide range of possibilities to build skills, off protection if weather is bad and the view of rainier is amazing. Your time would be better spent starting at a higher elevation (paradise, narada falls) rather than slogging for miles (enchantments). 

Mt dickerman is a normal day hike, not something that would be a good trip for a couple days. 

Josh Allred · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 165

Im starting to get analysis paralysis. 

These are all great suggestions. Im just not familiar with the area. I do plenty of backcountry skiing and feel confident in evaluating avalanche conditions.

Not looking for anything to rope on. Really just introducing him to snow shoeing and snow camping. While out we want to tag a peak and work with some crampons, axes, and avy skills on some hills to practice.

Curtveld · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 400

Understandable. Use your research to come with a list of options, then watch the forecast and make your decision a few days beforehand.  Good luck!

Matthew Tangeman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 35
Curtveld wrote:

I'd drive up to the Mt Baker Ski Area and snowshoe up to Artist Point.  It's a flat ridge-top with absolutely stunning views of Baker and Shuksan! From there, explore the local slopes, dig some pits, get up on Table Mountain or Mt Herman if snow conditions are good. Great place to base camp for a couple of nights!

Look into Mt. Ann, starting from Artist Point. It's a great ski, but would be a great snow-camping mission too. Very scenic, right up next to Shuksan.

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

If you're looking at going to Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, have your act together if you go above treeline. On snow with poor visibility, you can end up somewhere you don't want to be (and I've searched for them, sometimes finding bodies).  I'd strongly suggest going somewhere where there are visible terrain features, such as trees, very obvious travel corridors, etc., and GPS helps.  Above Mt. Baker ski area (Austin Pass area) and just out of Paradise on Mt. Rainier are good places where you can drive up pretty high without a slog.  I don't know the area between Baker and Rainier very well.  Check the weather report before you venture anywhere, and let the best weather forecast dictate your destination.  Nice weather is a lot more fun!

Josh Allred · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 165

Thank you for all of your suggestions. We are going to try Mt Adams or Mt Saint Helens (as a backup). 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 246
Josh Allred wrote:

Thank you for all of your suggestions. We are going to try Mt Adams or Mt Saint Helens (as a backup). 

St Helens is all around a prettier mountain. I'd recommend that above Adams! 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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