The North Cascades are a climber’s playground. They offer big mountain terrain in an unbelievable setting. Their jagged ridges and rocky summits are surrounded by snowfields and glaciers, which will put all of your previous mountaineering skills to the test. On this trip we will attempt Black Peak. Black is the 20th highest mountain in Washington and an all-around gem of a climb. We will attempt either the South Ridge or the North Ridge depending on the conditions and the experience of the group. You can expect 4th and low 5th class climbing, steep snow and whole lot of exposure on the knife edge ridge. This is the perfect introductory climb to the North Cascades.
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How Difficult is the North Cascades Climbing trip?The mountains in the North Cascades are long climbs with heavy backpacks. They can be very strenuous at times. These peaks require technical rock climbing and long approaches as well as steep snow. Prior rock climbing experience is required. You will need to be in top physical condition.
Do I Need Any Prior Experience?The rock climbing and rock scrambles are beginner grades. The most difficult climbing is rated 5.6 but mostly it is 4th-low 5th class. Due to the alpine environment, these climbs take on a more serious perspective than rock climbs of harder grades closer to civilization. Prior rock climbing and camping experience are required.
What Are the Age Limits for This Climb?We encourage participants to be age 16 or over, although exceptions can be made based on previous experience. Participants under the age of 16 will need to submit a climbing resume for review. As long as you are in excellent physical condition, are approved by your doctor, and have are able to legally sign the liability waiver, you are welcome to join us!
How Long are the Climbing Days?Each day is challenging. At the beginning of the climb altitude is not an issue. However, pack weight is heavy. As we ascend, packs get lighter but altitude takes its toll. Summit day can be 14-16 hours long.
What are the Sleeping Arrangements on the Mountain?We will provide tents. To minimize the amount of necessary gear, climbers will share a tent. Your tent will be designed to sleep the number of climbers assigned in it [i.e. a 3-person tent will sleep 3 climbers and a 2-person tent will sleep 2 climbers]. We will only make exceptions to this on rare occasions. Please feel free to contact us if you feel you need your own tent.
How Heavy Will My Pack Be?You can expect a 45lb-55lb pack for the first two days. Summit day will require 10lb-15lb packs.
Why Do We Begin Our Summit Attempt in the Dark?We get an alpine start for many reasons. In general everything is safer at night when the temperatures are cold and the sun has not begun to melt the snow and ice. The terrain is firmer for easier climbing, snow bridges over crevasses are frozen, the snowpack is more stable and rock fall is less of a hazard.
Where Do I Meet My Guide?You will meet your guide at the specified campground and/or airbnb. You will receive this information well before departure.
Can I Rent Gear for My Climb?Yes! We recommend renting boots from the American Alpine Institute in Bellingham, WA. All other rentals can be made through our affiliate climbingrentals.com and we will bring the gear with us.
GENERAL POLICIESNEMs Adventure itineraries are subject to change or be adjusted based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, group dynamics and many other factors. NEM has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including the discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, an NEM credit for the full value is given; however, NEM cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
NEM reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip at any time if NEM determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program. This includes being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.