Black Peak-NE Ridge 

I was hoping to get the full report written before I left for a business trip to the flatland (St. Louis), but I didn't quite make it that far. Here is a brief report:


Black Peak from Mount Goode (July 6, 2003)


Autumn Colors at Lake Ann

Sergio and I started up the Lake Ann Trail at about 6:20am after a trailhead bivy. At about a mile and a half we took a right on the Maple Pass trail which reaches Heather Pass in about a mile. A way trail crosses through the pass and descends heather and talus slopes before regaining elevation and reaching Lewis Lake (the trail stays on the right edge of the talus). From Lewis Lake we followed the path around the right side then continued up to reach Wing Lake (6905'). We headed for a heather bench below the snowfield on the east face (low angled but icy). We ascend the snowfield then loose class 3 to reach the 8000' notch in the NE Ridge. 

Black Peak from near Heather Pass
(The NE Ridge is the right skyline, The descent route is on or near the left skyline)

At the notch we roped up and Sergio took the lead. After climbing a short class 4 step we began traversing the left side of the ridge. The Lower ridge is loose and rather unpleasant. After a fair bit of guessing where to gain the ridge crest Sergio lead up more loose  rock to a small notch (est. 8200-8300 feet). Sergio led 200-300 feet of the ridge crest on class 4 and low 5th rock. The quality of the rock was improving but every hold should be considered suspect until tested. 

Lewis Lake, Wing Lake and Corteo Peak from the Notch


Traversing below the Ridge Crest


Sergio On the Ridge Crest

At 8500-8600 feet I took the lead. Sergio got a raw deal as the rock was now generally solid and the climbing enjoyable. A tower at 8700-8800 feet is reported to be 5.6 but can be bypassed on easier rock. We climbed the tower which at first appeared to be of modest difficulty. If you find a hidden hold (up and left), it is easy. Above this the route becomes easier with a little more class 4 then class 3 to the summit.

Sergio on the NE Ridge-Golden Horn and Tower in the Background


The West Peak of Black from the NE Ridge
(Buckner, Boston, Forbidden, Logan, Primus and Baker in Background)


Ragged Ridge from the Summit of Black Peak

We reached the summit in about 6.5 hours from the trailhead. After about 40 minutes on the summit we headed down the south route. The easiest descent from the summit rock is to the NE. A ledge can then be taken to the west side of the summit and down to a short chimney. A couple hundred feet below the chimney the route enters a gully near the south ridge. At the bottom of the gully the south ridge is followed until it is possible to descend scree back to Wing Lake. We reached the trailhead just before 5:00pm.

Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 2, 2nd Edition; Fred Beckey; Pages 322, 323, 358-359 
Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Volume 2; Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield; Pages 169-174
Climbing Washington's Mountains; Jeff Smoot; Pages 47-51