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.
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 Days)
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)
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 world.
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 greater.
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.
Max Ratio (Climber:Guide) – 2:1