Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb Overview
A view of Mt. Shuksan from Picture Lake. Mitchell Harter
Mount Shuksan is one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet. The peak presents all of the most spectacular features that an alpine environment can offer - steep walls, hanging glaciers, heathered arms, and alpine tarns. Climbers from around the world look at this striking non-volcanic peak and say one thing, "I have to climb that!"
Mount Shuksan is one of the most photographed mountains in the world, and for a very good reason. The mountain is complex. Mount Shuksan is comprised of seven glaciers, four major faces and five dramatic ridges. Awe-inspiring icefalls and ice cliffs tower above open rock cliffbands, while blue-tinted glaciers snake down between each of the major ridgelines. This is an utterly spectacular mountain. Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb Sulphide Route Description
Sulphide Glacier Route
Ascending the summit pyramid, looking back at the Sulphide glacier. Joseph Anderson.
The Sulphide Glacier offers an ascent within the grasp of most climbers, but this is no "tourist route." Different climbing problems must be overcome at different periods during the season, and there are always a variety of challenge on both rock and ice.
There are two options for this climb, a four-day and a three-day option.
The first option is a four-day program with a rock climbing day at the beginning. After spending a day at the crag, those on this program will make the approach to the mountain on the second day. Those who have limited rock climbing experience should consider this option to polish their climbing skills before getting onto this spectacular mountain.
The second option is a three-day program. In this program, students with previous rock climbing experience will approach the mountain on the first day.
On this spectacular climb, our approach will take us to a beautiful camp at the foot of the glacier where we will review skills. On the second backcountry day, we will get up early and make our way up to the summit. The summit day on this particular mountain requires one to ascend a moderate glacier to stunning summit pyramid. Depending on the time of year, the summit may be ascended via a short steep snow couloir or by a low-fifth class rock scrambling. On the final day, we will make our way out to the trailhead.
Though the mountain is imposing, beginner and intermediate climbers often climb the Sulphide Glacier route. On our skills day, we will review the basics of glacier travel and self-arrest, and introduce the skills of route finding and hazard evaluation. For those climbers who have previous glacier experience, we will use the skills time to review and advance the techniques that you employ in glacier climbing self-rescue.
The Sulphide Glacier can be climbed on one of our group programs, or as a private ascent. Contact the AAI office for more information on private programming.
Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb Fisher Chimneys & North Face
For climbers with an intermediate to advanced level of
skill, we can schedule privately guided climbs of more technical
routes on Mount Shuksan. Here are two classics:
Fisher Chimneys (Grade III, 5.2, 50 Degree Snow/Ice, 3
Situated near the awesome hanging ice of the Curtis Glacier, the
Fisher Chimneys route is a full value climb. The line has a
significant amount of third and fourth-class terrain, glacier
travel, and steep snow and ice climbing. The ascent requires one to
dig deeply into the mountaineer's toolkit to pull out the skills
required to climb this multi-faceted route.
The climb can easily be broken into a series of sections, each
with their own difficulty. The first part is the ascent of the
third and fourth class Chimneys. This is followed by glacier travel
on steep terrain through broken sections and then finally an ascent
up the rock pyramid to the tiny but scenic summit.
The Fisher Chimneys route is an excellent step up from a
straight alpine rock climb or a straight glacier climb. It is an
intermediate route that will provide a significant challenge to
those who are ready to advance to the next level of climbing.
North Face (Grade IV, 5.2, 55 Degree Snow/Ice, Summit
Carry-Over, 3 Days)
A view from Mt. Baker of Mt. Shuksan and the Sulphide glacier
peeking through the dense clouds. Ruth Hennings
The North Face of Mount Shuksan is a classic steep alpine
objective. This intermediate to advanced level climb is almost on
par with an Alaskan experience. Climbers are required to carry all
of their equipment and gear up and over the mountain. Such a
"mini-expedition" provides an excellent training objective to
prepare for the steep north faces throughout the great ranges of
The North Face of Shuksan is classic in another way too. Those
who choose to take it on experience the heart of Cascade adventure
climbing. The approach requires a bit of bushwacking, the route
requires a bit of steep snow and ice climbing and the descent
requires significant fortitude. This is a big climb that is both
physically and technically demanding. Success on such a grand route
doesn't come easily, but when it comes the reward is that much
Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb Dates & Details
Sulphide Glacier Climbs
May 17 - May 19, 2019
May 31 - Jun 02,
2019 Jun 29 - Jul 01,
2019 Jul 12 - Jul 14,
2019 Jul 26 - Jul 28,
2019 Aug 9 - Aug 11,
2019 Aug 23 - Aug 25, 2019
Sep 13 - Sep 15,
Cost - $825/ climber (minimum of 2 participants)
Max Ratio (Climber:Guide) - 3:1
Capacity - 6
Multi-pitch alpine rock climbing experience
Rappelling experience Good physical condition
Private Course Options
The dates listed above are open to the general public for climbs of the Sulphide Glacier. In addition to the dates published above for this climb, we can also set-up additional dates for groups or individuals as they are requested. Reservations for these climbs can be made before May 31. After that, climbing permits are obtained on a first-come, first-serve basis. We have great availability throughout the summer but at certain times our schedule does book up. To make sure a particular date range is available please call us at 800-424-2249.
Fisher Chimneys or North Face Climbs
Climbs of Fisher Chimneys & the North Face are done on a private (1:1) or small, private group basis. Reservations for these climbs can be made before May 31. After that, climbing permits are obtained on a first-come, first-serve basis and subject to limited availability.
Cost - $1275 (1:1), $925 (2:1)
Max Ratio (Climber:Guide) - 2:1
Good physical condition
Rock climbing skills
Ice climbing skills
Mt. Shuksan Skills and Climb Related Courses
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