For many people the idea of climbing and being in the mountains is a dream, however sometimes figuring out the right progression to get there can be daunting. At Northwest Alpine Guides we pride ourselves in helping those new to the sport with instruction and guidance to best suit their needs. Below are the Top 5 Bucket List Climbs in the Pacific Northwest.
Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park
As the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier (also known as Tahoma) with its 26 major glaciers provides an excellent climbing experience situated within a pristine wilderness environment. “The Mountain“ as referred to by locals has all the features of much higher glaciated peaks making it an exceptional training ground for aspiring climbers. Northwest Alpine Guides climbs the classic Disappointment Clever route to the upper Emmons glacier reaching the Columbia Crest summit at 14,411 feet. Mount Rainier’s Muir route is approached from Paradise Meadows and ascends the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir at 10,080 feet.
Photo: A beautiful summer day looking up from Paradise parking lot.
Mount Baker, Mount Baker – Snoqualime National Forest
At 10,781 feet Mount Baker (also know as Kulshan) is one of the most picturesque volcanoes in all the Cascade Range. The mountain renders the second largest glacial system in the lower 48 States second only to that of Mount Rainier. In 1998 Mt. Baker’s annual snowfall amounted to 95 feet exceeding the world record. Mount Baker is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. The mountain presents a fantastic objective for those seeking a challenging climb in a pristine alpine environment.
Photo: Looking at the summit of Mount Baker
Mount Shuksan, North Cascades National Park
At 9,127feet this mountain is considered the crown jewel of the North Cascades. Its stunning relief and iconic summit pyramid make this climb a mix of snow and rock. With multiple routes or varying difficultly Shuksan is an ideal location for any skill level of climber. On a clear day it is possible to peer over into Canada, see the Pacific Ocean, and view the jagged and rugged peaks of the Cascades.
Photo: Approaching the summit pyramid via the Sulphide Glacier with Mount Baker behind.
Forbidden Peak, North Cascades National Park
This peak was made famous by “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America,” by Allen Steck and Steve Roper. Located in the heart of the North Cascades National Park the trail ascends through prestine old growth forests to an expansive meadow called Boston Basin. Combining rock, ice, and snow climbing disciplines, this peak offers it all. A must do for any serious Cascade climber. Ascents typically take 2-3 days via the West Ridge, Grade II 5.6.
Photo: Climber ascending the summit block with Eldorado Peak in the distance.
Mount Olympus, Olympic National Park
The tallest and most isolated peak in the Olympic Peninsula, this peak stands at 7,962 ft. The mountain is also one of the most aesthetic peaks in Washington State and offers a truly unique wilderness experience. The climb is demanding due to its eighteen mile approach hike up the Hoh River. The final summit pyramid (West Peak) climbs low fifth class rock and offers fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains and the distant Cascade Range. Guided ascents traverse the Blue Glacier and ascends Snow Dome gaining the Olympus Massif to its West Peak summit.
Photo: Looking at the impressive Olympic massif from Hurricane Ridge.