Black Peak

Black Peak (8,970ft)

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Black Peak

Eric Gilbertson

September 24, 2016

I waited a bit too long to find a hiking partner for Saturday, so ended up going out solo. Black peak looked like a good hundred-highest mountain to solo, given that it was mostly on trails and there would probably be other people there, so I decided to go for it. I left Seattle at 6am, and was parked and hiking from Rainy Pass in North Cascades National Park by 9am.

I quickly made it up to Heather Pass, then left the official trail heading towards Black Peak. The peak is so popular, though, that there’s a very well-defined user trail most of the way. I hiked down a talus slope, past a few alpine lakes, then started up the scree slopes to the south ridge. I passed four or five other parties on their way up.

As I got higher on the ridge the terrain turned to scrambling up a snowy gully. There was about 2 inches of fresh snow, and I had the first tracks in them. I followed cairns up to near the summit, then traversed around to the east face. Just below the summit I scrambled a 20ft class 4 section and found myself on the top.

The views were great of Mt Goode nearby, and many other big snowy mountains. I didn’t stay long, though, because there wouldn’t be room up there if another group came up. I carefully down-climbed the class 4 section, then scrambled back down the ridge. After some fun snow glissading back to the lakes I quickly hiked back to the car, arriving at 2:45pm. Rainy Pass was overflowing with cars, as one of the last snow-free weekends of the year.

I was driving out soon, and made it back for dinner in Seattle.

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