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The Gunsight Range

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The Gunsight Range Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 8,000'
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Administrators: Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: blakeherrington on Dec 18, 2008


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BETA PHOTO: The North, Middle, and South peaks, from the West.


The Gunsight Peaks are a group of granite spires that are located just east of the Cascades crest, surrounded by the Chickamin and Blue glaciers, and just east of Dome Peak. Their location is one of the lower-48's most remote, and this has likely kept the number of visits and established routes comparatively low. The climbing is some of the best in the Cascades, with steep granite crack and face routes in an amazing setting.

Getting There 

Positively Alpine

Climbing Season

For the North Cascades area.

Weather station 12.3 miles from here

6 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Gunsight Range

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Gunsight Range:
East Face   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 600'   Middle Peak
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Gunsight Range

Featured Route For The Gunsight Range
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Hilden aiding the short (easily avoidable) pen...

Gunrunner 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C1  Washington : Northwest Region : ... : Middle Peak
This route is the complete N->S traverse of the range, summiting the Northeast, North, Middle, and South peaks. The route will require carrying over, likely with ice axes and crampons. It begins and end on glaciers, although for us it began on the Chickamin and ended on the Blue Glacier. Most of the climbing is in the 5.9 range....[more]   Browse More Classics in Washington

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By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Mar 1, 2009
It is time to re-think the approach to Gunsight described in "Selected Climbs in the Cascades" by Nelson and Potterfield, 1993. According to a 2008 ranger report, an additoinal nine miles of the Suiattle River Road has to be hiked to reach Downey Creek. Also, hiking Bachelor Creek was reported as getting very brushy in the same NCNP route conditions summary. Climbing Dome Peak as an approach is very committing. I was once stormed into Agnes West Fork and it really sucked. Finally, crossing a glacier like the Chickamin is a bit of a crap shoot for small parties.

So how to get to the best route in the Cascades? I like the Skoog beta:

Map added 2015:
Rock Climbing Photo: Gunsight-Dome Peak Map
Gunsight-Dome Peak Map

By Darin Berdinka
May 1, 2009
The standard approach these days is to approach from the east side of the range via the Pacific Crest Trail that extends up Agnes Creek. While still a major undertaking it is much more reasonable than coming over the top of Dome Peak particularly if carrying gear for the hard rock routes.

First you need to get to Stehekin at the the northern tip of Lake Chelan. Take the boat or you might be able to take a float plane (last I heard it flipped while landing at Stehekin killing a couple people. I'm not sure if they're back in service). If you take the boat take the Lady Express and meet it at Fields Point to minimize what can be a very long boat ride.

A shuttle bus runs to the PCT at High Bridge and will leave Stehekin shortly after the boat arrives.

From High Bridge hike the PCT approximately nine miles. The forest here suffers from extensive deadfall. In early summer 2007 we had to crawl over, under or around well over 300 trees (we stopped counting) that had fallen across the trail. You need to leave the trail and forde Agnes Creek just downstream of it's confluence with Spruce Creek. This is ~ 2 miles past Swamp Creek Campsite. Leave the trail when it crosses a short wooden boardwalk (~20 feet long) over a swampy area. This is a very obvious and unique landmark on the trail. Hopefully there is still a good log for crossing the creek as it is wide and fast.

Once across Agens Creek head upstream maybe 200 yards to avoid a brush filled avalanche path. Now punch it straight uphill on game trails ~2500 vertical feet until you break out of forest. Begin a long, steep uphill traverse to the northwest gaining another 1000' or so until you cross an open shoulder at 6400' where you catch your first view of Gunsight Peaks. From here a level traverse (stay high) leads to a beautiful granite filled basin approximately 1/2 mile east of Blue Lake.

Continue traversing up and left (west) to the ridge crest and follow it west towards the Gunsights. Wonderful campsites are found on the ridge crest between Blue Lake and the Blue Glacier.

Give yourself two days for the approach. Day 1 to the crossing of Agnes Creek and then a relatively short Day 2 to camp below the peaks. We tried it in 1 day from home and pulled into the beautiful granite basin completely destroyed. Day 2 was a waste.

When planning the return keep in mind the last boat leaves Stehekin at 2:00 pm and the shuttle from High Bridge leaves at 12:15pm, 3pm and 6:15pm. We hiked all the way out in one day, caught the 3pm shuttle then arranged for a 5pm flight downlake getting home late that night. Otherwise you could hike out over two days then catch the 12:15 shuttle downvalley and the 2 pm departure of Lady of the Lake II (slow) or have an afternoon/evening to kill drinking beer on the deck of the lodge that overlooks the lake, before taking the Lady Express downlake at noon the next day. Certainly well deserved.
By blakeherrington
May 5, 2009
Wow, someone from Golden Colorado has enough knowledge/interest of this place to be concerned about the approach. Crazy!
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Dec 26, 2015
Being from Colorado, when a ranger told the two juniors that Agnes was a "brush fight" they thought that sounded cool. He tried to warn them!
Rock Climbing Photo: Above Downey Creek
Above Downey Creek

Rock Climbing Photo: Gunsight from White Rock Lakes
Gunsight from White Rock Lakes

Rock Climbing Photo: Andy Purcell @ the West Fork Bridge  by K Trout 19...
Andy Purcell @ the West Fork Bridge

by K Trout 1973

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