Mt Shuksan Guided Climbs
Posted by Joseph Anderson
Dressed in it’s robe of white and blue glaciers Mt Shuksan receives even more snow than Mt Baker through the winter months. An incredibly decorative and complex mountain, Mount Shuksan has a reputation of being the most photographed mountain in the state of Washington. Along with this candelabra type structure come numerous ice and rock climbs that take the climber up elegant ridges, through impossible cirques, and weave amongst hanging glaciers all to arrive at the final well-defined Summit Pyramid.
Shuksan is the Lummi Native word meaning “High Peak.” It’s summit is at 9,120 which gives it about seven thousand feet of steep relief to the valleys below. Its rock is a green Schist and structurally it’s the remains of a thrust plate created when the Pacific Plate buckled against the North American Plate.
Mt Shuksan Climbs
The Two most popular routes to climb Mt Shuksan are the Sulphide Glacier and Fisher Chimneys.
The Sulphide Glacier
This was the route of first ascent in September of 1906 and is a surprisingly moderate Glacier Hike up to the base of the Pyramid. From here there is the option of the more technical SW Ridge or the very moderate Summit Gulley. Regardless of which route is chosen either choice requires the added excitement of rappelling to get back off the steeper Pyramid and onto the Glacier below. This is the primary route that we use for our Mt Shuksan Guided Climb and our Mt Shuksan Three Day Skills and Climb, which is a basic mountaineering skills course.
The Fisher Chimneys
This is more involved and requires a higher level of fitness, which at the end of the day is worth every bit of extra effort. The Chimneys proper winds it’s way up a sneaky route amongst an incredible back drop. Summit day involves moderate ice climbing and the option to climb the more technical SE Ridge of the summit Pyramid which has some great rock climbing up to 5.6.
Also on Mt Shuksan we climb the SW Rib with 7 pitches of rock up to 5.7, The North Face with steep glacier snow and ice and The Hour Glass for early and late season, which involve two and half pitches of water ice climbing on summit day. Finally the advanced Price Glacier is one of the 50 classics which involves ice climbing and rock climbing. No matter what route you choose Mt Shuksan will unleash near constant diversity in adventures of the best kind.
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Michelle Anderson LMHC