Mount Shuksan's Fisher Chimneys is one of the very classic Cascadian alpine routes up the arguably most iconic peak in North Cascades National Park. You will do it all: hike through amazing scenery, climb a complicated series of chimneys, camp in an amazing setting, cross several glaciers and climb the spectacular summit pyramid at the top of Mount Shuksan.
Mount Shuksan's Fisher Chimneys is one of the very classic Cascadian alpine routes up the most iconic (and most photographed) peak in North Cascades National Park. To get to this 9127 foot summit, you will do it all. Start with a scenic hike, climb a complicated series of chimneys, camp in an amazing setting, cross several glaciers and climb the spectacular summit pyramid to the summit of Mount Shuksan. The Fisher Chimneys route is longer and more involved than the standard Sulphide Glacier route and our three day program offers an ideal itinerary to make the experience enjoyable. The Fisher Chimneys route is also a great preparatory climb for any of our climbs offered in the Alps. All routes on Mount Shuksan culminate with the imposing 700 foot summit pyramid. It is commonly climbed up a central snow and rock gully, or the aesthetic mid fifth class rock of the southeast ridge.
Even though the climb is a "guided climb" and not an "instructional course", we love to teach along the way and you can expect to be exposed to movement in exposed fourth class terrain, extensive roped glacier travel, potentially some crampon front pointing and some mid fifth class rock climbing. It is important to be physically well prepared for this exciting climb. The climb is strenuous and the terrain demanding. Strong physical fitness will make your experience much more enjoyable.
Overall Difficulty: Difficult
Skills Required: Prior mountaineering skills required. Must be comfortable with exposure.
Fitness Level: Very strenuous
Day 1: We will meet at the Ranger Station in Glacier, WA to conduct a gear check before proceeding to the Lake Anne trailhead. From here we actually descend 800 feet of vertical into the headwaters of Swift Creek before ascending to the beautiful Lake Anne. Not far from here we will start climbing into the Fisher Chimneys. There is no hard climbing here (it is all 3rd and 4th class), but there is some exposure in sections. From the top of the chimneys we are not far from our camp at the bottom of a spot called Winnies slide. The camp spot near the top of the White Salmon Glacier is very scenic and located at about 6800 feet.
Day 2: An early morning start gets us up the short remaining section of the White Salmon Glacier, then up a section of the Upper Curtis Glacier, onward through Hells Highway and on to the Sulphide Glacier on the south side of the mountain. This section alone is very entertaining and spectacular, though never technically difficult. Now we still have to climb the 700 foot summit pyramid of Mount Shuksan. Most of the time this gets accomplished by climbing the classic "summit gully", which is a 4th class scramble for the most part. More experienced parties can opt to climb the mid fifth class South East Ridge. This route offers moderate rock climbing on solid rock in an unforgettable ambience. We will return back to camp via our ascent route. Camp to Camp travel time hovers usually between 7 to 8 hours. A beautiful evening in a relaxed post-climb atmosphere with the sunset over Mount Baker will conclude this day.
Day 3: After a little bit later start than on the second day, we will pack up our gear and head down the Chimneys and back to the trailhead. You can assume to be back in the Bellingham area in the middle of the afternoon and Seattle in the early evening.
Some prior mountaineering experience is recommended.
Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat amount that you are comfortable with.
Yes, it is perfect for that.