Best Climbing in District of Columbia

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British Columbia, Fraser Valley Regional District County

17 :56 hrs
7.8 mi
1924.8516 ft

The Silver Lake Glacier pours off of the north face of Mt Spickard, a high and rugged peak just south of the international border, and makes for an interesting alternative ascent in place of the standard South Ridge route. While it's possible to reach the base of the glacier from Silver Lake, a much quicker approach is to follow the climber's trail to Lake Ouzel then take the large gully heading northeast toward the obvious notch northwest of the mountain. The toe of the glacier is right around the corner. The best way across the glacier normally is to make a rising traverse to the east, aiming for an 8,500 foot notch in the Northeast Ridge. There are several large crevasses on the glacier, so roping up is advised. From the high notch, follow the crest of the Northeast Ridge or venture onto the East Face where necessary to avoid steeper sections. Most of the climbing here is Class 3 but there are also several areas of Class 4, but unroped climbing is possible. For an easier return to Lake Ouzel, descend via the normal South Route along the South Ridge.


British Columbia, Fraser Valley Regional District County

17 :55 hrs
7.7 mi
1931.6548 ft

Mt Spickard is the highest peak of the Chilliwack Group of mountains in the northernmost portion of North Cascades National Park. The best way to reach the start of climbing on the South Route, the shortest and easiest way up, is via the Depot Creek Route, which begins near Chilliwack Lake in B.C. (the road to the trailhead is full of potholes; high clearance vehicles recommended.) Be sure to obtain the necessary camping permits and border documents before beginning your journey. The route up the valley of Depot Creek follows a logging road to the border, then a rough trail past a spectacular waterfall, along the edge of a large wetland, and up a lateral moraine to silt-laden Lake Ouzel, where a camp is normally established. From the lake, follow a large gully heading northeast until a break in the right wall of the gully is reached (near 6,850 feet.) Head southeast across loose scree to a small glacier southwest of the peak. Near the top of the glacier, locate a snow finger leading to an 8,000 foot gap in the south ridge of Mt Spickard, then follow the ridge directly to the summit, venturing onto the relativley low-angle south slope at times to avoid cliffs.


British Columbia, Fraser Valley Regional District County

15 :18 hrs
19.6 mi
1598.8674 ft

Bear Mtn is a remote and infrequently climbed summit. This is primarily due to its inaccessibility; the North Buttress has some of the most aesthetic and sustained alpine rock climbing in the state. The shortest access route is via the long and bumpy (high clearance recommended) road to Chilliwack Lake in B.C. – obtain North Cascades National Park camping permits in Sedro-Woolley or call the permit office before you embark. Note that crossing the border back into the U.S. on foot is not technically legal. A gate just after the turn-off for Depot Creek Road may be closed, forcing an additional walk of almost 1.5 miles to the south end of Chilliwack Lake. Follow the trail through old-growth forest to the boundary line. The trail deteriorates once in the U.S. and is impossible to follow at times, but improves once in the vicinity of Bear Camp, where you turn east to follow an old fire-break trail up the ridge toward your objective. The trail is very faint and if you get off of it, just follow the ridge top to treeline, then on the south side of some rocky knolls to a flat area near a col at about 6,500 feet. Descend to the north over scree/snow and round the Northwest Buttress, circling back up toward the North Buttress. A direct route has been done from the base of the buttress, but an easier and more established way to go is to begin climbing up a couloir toward "The Diamond," a face of sheer rock due north of the summit. The rock route begins at approximately 6,600 feet or wherever it's convenient to cross onto the buttress (possibly over a moat.) Traverse slabs toward a bench that holds snow year-round and begin climbing on the buttress proper. Approximately 6 pitches of climbing on the crest brings you to a short (optional) downclimb to get off the crest and into a chimney for the remaining 3 pitches to the northwest summit. From this false peak, it's Class 3-4 scrambling to the summit. Descend via the same route to the col between the two summits, then proceed west and south down a moderate slope to a gap in cliffs, then traverse north to return to the 6,500 foot col (a decent place to camp.)


British Columbia, Fraser Valley Regional District County

14 :24 hrs
17 mi
1922.3694 ft

The Northeast Face route on Mt Redoubt is a challenging climb with a long but scenic approach in a very remote area. The trailhead for the Depot Creek route is located near Chilliwack Lake, B.C., so if coming from the U.S., be sure to have all of the appropriate camping permits and border crossing documents before leaving. At the border crossing, leave behind the old logging road and begin on a trail that leads to the spectacular Depot Creek Falls. The trail continues on the left side of the falls with some fixed ropes to assist climbing over the slippery rock. Above the falls is a large wet meadow which you avoid by way of the talus slopes on its northeast side. Good camping is found at Lake Ouzel, but the water is full of glacial flour. To reach the bottom of the face, weave through cliffs west of the lake to reach a traverse leading west to the Depot Glacier, which is heavily crevassed. Find a narrower lobe of the glacier on its far western end. The lobe forms a snow/ice apron that leads to a relatively level ridge with a large snow/ice arête. The apron has several large crevasses/bergschrunds that should be avoided. From the snow arête, enter the snow/ice gully that leads to a gap southeast of the summit. From the gap, traverse west to join the South Route in the gully on the South Face. At the top of the gully, go onto the north side briefly and scramble up the West Ridge to the summit. Return via the South Route over the Redoubt Glacier to Lake Ouzel. Even though there is little actual rock climbing on the route, it's a good idea to bring some rock protection for the narrow gully, in addition to glacier travel gear and ice screws, pickets, and a second ice tool.


British Columbia, Fraser Valley Regional District County

18 :50 hrs
8.5 mi
1920.2751 ft

Mt Redoubt is the second highest point in the Chilliwack Group of peaks located just south of the U.S.-Canada border. The primary trailhead is located in Canada at the end of a long, pothole-ridden road. It's important to obtain camping permits from North Cascades National Park before leaving and to note that, if coming from the U.S., you should declare your intention to re-cross into Washington on the Depot Creek route. The route starts as a logging road then turns into a seldom-maintained trail that leads up the valley of Depot Creek to Depot Creek Falls, a truly spectacular cascade considered to be among the very best in the state. A fixed rope along the slippery rock at the base of the falls aids the climbing there. At the top of the falls is a wide, swampy basin with extensive talus slopes on the left side. Follow these rocky areas to Ouzel Lake, formed from glacial meltwater and a good place to camp. The route to the south side of the mountain weaves through cliff bands to reach the northern edge of the Redoubt Glacier. The lower section is heavily crevassed, even in spring, so you might have to travel along its base until you can find somewhere to cross onto it without landing in a crevasse field. Climb up the low-angle glacier to a gap in the South "Flying" Buttress and descend into the south basin. Traverse to a gully on its west edge and climb left onto a second, higher snow/scree slope due south of the summit. A gully leads steeply (Class 3-4) up to the ridge just west of the summit about 50 feet below it. Scramble along the ridge to the summit and enjoy the spectacular views. The rock on the mountain is somewhat chossy, but many parties go unroped except when on the glacier.

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