View Full Version : Mt Shuksan ( north cascades natl park)

05-20-2010, 09:29 AM
So I wanted to put this one in here to share a few pics that I took Tuesday on my little outing, but also to say a big thank you to all of you who had answered many of my questions over the last few years as I definitively put that knowledge to use in this little situation.... so I would like to start of by saying THANK You all again for all of the guidance you have shared with me over the last few years.

Ok now here goes.. My goal was to actually make it in to the national park boundary allong the sulphide glacier route with a "long shot" of maybee making it to the Glacier (my bucket list now includes visiting all of the national parks in the lower 48, and in the cascades all of the trailheads are in national forest land and hit the park boundary a few miles in, 3 miles in my case on shannon ridge trail)


My wife and I have been out west doing a loop to visit a few parks

PDX airport -> redwoods & Crater -> Yellowstone & Grand Teton -> Pacific NW -> PDX

and she was feeling a day of rest while I was still eager to go. The alarm went of at the hotel at 4am and I was retrieving the rented xterrra from the valley shortly after as I had preped my pack the prior day. Roughly 2 hours from the hotel to trailhead ( and a stop by 7-11 to get some good fruit & nature valley snack for breakfast)... so I didn't quite get an "alpine start" but I was on the trail quite early, maybee 7is, with plenty of good daylight to be on the mountain.

Here is my usual energy breakfast of a gel and plenty of water at the trailhead

Here is my

05-20-2010, 09:32 AM
On the way up everything was going well, the trail was dry at the trailhead and intermittent shortly after then hitting full snow shortly after, around 3500'.

At which time I stopped to put on the snow shoes and took this picture of the valley to the east by the beautiful baker lake with a waterfall enjoying the spring snow melt

05-20-2010, 09:42 AM
Maybe another half mile or so up the trail it started to get a little steep so time to take of the snowshoes, put them back in the pack and get out the crampons and ice tool. Fairly steep ascent here, seemed to be about the same incline as Hunningtons but seemed to be a little longer. There was an alpine ascent group in front of me who evidently went up with a true alpine start so there was some footprints for me to follow, but it looked like they were toting a sled as many of their footprints were smoothed out... Anyways, I could see exactly where I needed to get to so here goes: in goes the axe, kick kick trust your feet and move up, in goes the axe kick kick on and on for a good half hour. Everything went OK and before to long I was at the Shannon ridge.

Here is a shot of which would be a beautiful view of Mt. Baker from shannon ridge, but as you can see it is a little "socked in." Also there is a shot of the alpine ascents guys' base camp on the ridge.

05-20-2010, 10:06 AM
So I took a little break, had the peanut bagel and some more water + of course energy gel. I left a little of my gear here, the snowshoe & poles, as I knew the next part got steep and I didn't need the extra weight... Probably 11:30ish now and I kept on along the ridge and hit the park boundary after a little bit. Then the route really begins and I started to go up the first part, plenty of time/sunlight left in the day to get to the glacier if not the base of the summit cone, but before doing so I evaluated the snow pack. The night before had been cloudy so I don't think a true freeze cycle had occurred and there looked like remnants of a real small slap that had slide... no way I'm going up that hill... OK all fine I made my goal of the park boundary so let's turn around and head back to the hotel. I tried to take a few pictures of the slide / climb but by this time it was really socked in and the picture I took is just white!

Got back to the base camp shortly, little rain picking up, and I reloaded up the gear to head down.. Everything going OK here, but when I got to that steep section a little problem: the rain had completely wiped out all of the tracks to follow.. of course I tried to follow what looked like a trail but ended up just doing a circle following my own step :(

At this time I had that little feeling in my stomach, here I am 2 miles up probably 2500' up, from the trail head with steady light rain and the nearest real road being 30+miles away and only a few little forest dirt roads to find. Stay calm stay calm, take a break get out your compass and read that map. Reading the terrain I figured roughly where I was and if I headed SW I would eventually hit either the trail at lower elevations where it was snow free OR if I was a little further either direction over I would eventually hit the forest road I came up or one next to it that headed to another trail. So I kept my crampons on & set my line SW regardless of the terrain... everything OK when the snow was there but still a little scary... then it went intermint ughhh rough as the snow was slush and a few streams to cross and then after the stream got to get back on that 10' pile of snow, almost like climbing vertical ice except it was slush... Just kept on and eventually I got to a point where it was totally snow free, but steep maybe 40 degrees in parts, and a lot of downed trees to work with. I kept the crampons on, but put away my ice tool and got out the poles to use for balance... After I while I found the beautiful sight of the trail :) What a feeling I did it, 1+ hours of bushwacking in the cold pacific NW rain... everything was wet except me on the inside. Definitively a test in my ability and again thank you to all of you who shared your knowledge with me over the years as I don't think I could have done this without it!!!!

p.s. this pic is a sketch of the actual "route" up Shuksan, of course I didn't get there due to the conditions but I I'll be back up there as the Fisher Chimneys route is on my bucket list

05-20-2010, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the TR!

Looks like you had a great time, thanks for sharing!