Black Peak is on the crest of the North Cascades at nearly 9,000 feet towering over the highway near Rainy Pass. Black Peak is considered the 17th highest mountain in Washington State with 3,470 of prominence making it the 35th most prominent mountain in the state. Because of the location and prominence, the views are incredible few things seem any higher in any direction. The mountain can be climbed in one long day but the scenery getting to the base is a very tempting overnighter. With high alpine lakes, meadows, mountain larches, and cliffs everywhere, the scenery is fantastic.
WillhiteWeb.com - Washington Hiking
Take the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) from I-5 to Rainy Pass. At the pass is the Rainy Pass Picnic Area. Turn right and find some parking inside, elevation 4,850.
The parking area directs people to the trailheads. Find the one signed Lake Ann/Heather Pass Loop Trail. Follow the trail up 1.5 miles to a split to Lake Ann. Go right up toward Heather Pass. Just below the pass, an unsigned right turn goes up into some meadows over the pass. Follow it down the other side until it hits a boulder field. Now follow cairns in the direction of Lewis Lake. At times, a trail exists, so try to follow the cairns. Pick up the trail before Lewis Lake and follow it to the outlet. Now, if wanting to camp, go around the lake to the north to the camps. A trail also goes around the lake on the north side but is the long way. A shorter route is to boulder hop the south side but some donít like rock hopping. If snow covered, it is defiantly faster. The trail continues at the far end of the lake between the boulders and meadows. Follow the trail up through meadows until you reach Wing Lake. Keep on the trail along the lake, camps are on the hill in the trees on the right as you pass the lake. Soon the trail will end when it reaches the end of the vegetation. Still, small scree trails are apparent all the way to the summit.
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet
Summit Elevation: 8,970 feet
The easiest and most popular route on the mountain heads up the moraine and onto a permanent snowfield to an obvious col in the south ridge. When not snow filled, the last 200 feet to the ridge is some ugly loose scree and dirt that is hard to get a good footing. Once reached, a nice climbers trail goes up the south ridge. Soon it goes left a bit into the obvious wide gully. Follow this gully nearly to the summit where you will need to veer left to a flat shoulder on the west side where you now can see views to the north. Now climb back to the right (east) soon reaching a cairned ledge system that is going to traverse below the summit around from the west side of the mountain all the way to the east side of the mountain. This ledge system is easy class 2 but quite exposed at the end, just before the summit block. Keep traversing until you canít go further. If you are uncomfortable with heights, you will not enjoy this traverse part. Once past, you have 70 feet of rock climbing to the top. The first 15 feet is class 4 rock, and then it is easy class 3 to the top.
This is the first 20 feet of the summit block. I used a rope on the decent for a hand line but didn't really use it, mainly it just made me feel better. The same small holds used to get up are good for getting down while facing the opposite direction.
The gully to the summit area
The lower east summit
The wider part of the ledge system used to get to the summit block
View to Jack Mountain
View north to Mt. Baker
Views from the shoulder to Mt. Goodie and Storm King Mountain
Wing Lake and Black Peak
Morning light and the route to the summit from Wing Lake
Black Peak from Heather Pass
From below Heather Pass at the boulder field
Getting close to Wing Lake looking back at Lewis Lake and Heather Pass
Cutthroat Peak and Whistler Mountain
Lake Ann from the trail to Heather Pass
Working up to the south ridge