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Climbing Black Peak NE Ridge | North Cascades

Black Peak's NE Ridge is a popular summit route that requires technical experience, a rope, and climbing gear. It should only be attempted by those with significant climbing experience and all the required gear for protection.

The NE Ridge of Black Peak is a Class 3, 4, and 5 scramble or rope route up Black Peak. It requires more technical skills and is usually climbed using a rope and trad gear.

Make sure to check out our Complete Guide to Black Peak.

Black Peak Summit
Black Peak Summit

Starting the climb from the same trailhead as the South Route, ascend to Wing Lake (where many groups choose to camp). From the lake, go up to a col between the obvious ridgeline (on the right side of the mountain) and a smaller rock protrusion, known as Point 8895.

The route ascends right up the ridge with some sections of Class 5 climbing (most of the climbing is Class 3 or 4 at most).

The rock quality improves as the climb progresses, but the ridgeline should not be underestimated as sections are truly loose, and falls are possible. While climbing, hand, and foot holds may come loose when you aren't expecting them to, so always maintain three points of contact at all times.

Gear Required: standard rack of cams, nuts, slings of different sizes, rope, helmet, climbing shoes (optional). Crampons and an ice ax may be needed to climb the snowfield.

Descend using the standard route on the other side of the mountain.

NE Ridge Map

View and download this map here.


Where is Black Peak?

Black Peak is in North Cascades National Park in Washington State. The trailhead is off of Highway 20.

How long does it take to climb Black Peak?

It takes between 10 and 12 hours to climb the standard route on Black Peak. Your time may be faster if you have experience climbing Class 3 and 4 rock.

Is Black Peak hard to climb?

Yes, as a hike Black Peak is much harder than average. It gains more than 5,000 feet in 6 miles and will force you through several different types of terrain. The NE ridge isn't a hard route by climbing standards, but it's been known to shake experienced mountaineers.

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