Mount Shuksan Fisher Chimneys Climb Itinerary
Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.
We’ll do a morning gear check at 6:30am and thoroughly evaluate all the equipment we’ll be using throughout the program and address last minute questions and gear concerns. From the office, we will make their way to Mt. Erie to learn about the basics of rock climbing in a spectacular setting. The climbing areas on Mt. Erie overlook the Puget Sound, with panoramic views of the San Juan Islands, the Olympics, and several of the Cascade volcanoes. Students will learn and review skills on belaying, rappelling, lowering, descending, rope management/knots and climbing techniques. Plan to spend several hours working on technical skills that will be used over the following days of climbing on Mount Shuksan. Finally, in the evening climbers will return to their vehicles and drive approximately one hour and car camp at a campground near the base of the mountain.
The group will pack up and ready themselves for the hike into the mountain. The approach into the mountain is one of the most scenic in the Pacific Northwest with old growth forests, alpine meadows and stunning view of Mount Baker. The trail terminates near Lake Ann, a popular destination in its own right, with majestic views of the calving Curtis Glacier. From near the lake we start the climb up the Chimneys. This is 800 vertical feet of 3rd and 4th class rock climbing and provides an unsuspecting passage to the upper mountain. After several hours in the Chimneys, we top out on the mellow White Salmon Glacier and pull out our crampons and ice axe in anticipation of climbing the notorious Winnies Slide: a 200 foot tall steep snow & ice slope that leads to our bivy in the clouds. This camp is simply spectacular; perched on a rocky rib between the Upper Curtis and White Salmon Glaciers. In the evening, the group prepares for the summit bid.
Depending on conditions, the team will leave camp between 5am and 8am for their summit bid. The technical challenges start directly above camp while ascending the moderate, but icy, slopes of the Upper Curtis Glacier. The route then weaves through massive crevasses towards a passage up towards the Sulphide Glacier. This steep slope, named Hell’s Highway, gives the climber another challenging steep snow pitch. After the steep snow is surmounted, the route mellows out for the next 1000 feet before reaching the famous Summit Pyramid. There are two options to the summit. If conditions allow, we try to climb the SE Ridge, which is a fun and exposed ridge of 8-10 short alpine rock pitches. The Central Gully is a fine alternative if there is poor weather or the team is running behind schedule. The Central Gully will also act as our rappel descent route. This is a big day of alpine climbing that uses a variety of techniques from rock climbing to steep snow and ice. A typical roundtrip summit push is 8-10 hours from camp.
We pack up camp, but the excitement is far from over. The team must still descend the steep sections of the White Salmon Glacier and the Fisher Chimneys. Often guides lower climbers down the steeper sections but much of the terrain requires careful yet efficient down climbing. Once at the base of the Chimneys, the technical challenges are over and it is a pleasant hike back to the trailhead.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.
I cannot think of one negative thing. Everything worked so well, the logistics had to be challenging, yet everything came off as if it were a piece of cake. Even the air travel was smooth, efficient, and well organized. Strengths? You have the best people available. I just can’t articulate well enough how appreciative and pleased I was with the trip.