Summit Black Peak
Washington › Heather-Maple Pass Loop Trailhead
Added by Bryan Carroll
Black Peak is one of the higher non-volcanic mountains in the Cascades. Sitting just under 9,000', Black Peak offers fantastic scrambling to reach the summit.
Starting at the Heather-Maple Pass Loop Trailhead, jump onto the trail that will take you counter-clockwise along the loop. After about 1.25 miles, you will come to a split in the trail, take the right path and continue for just under a mile until you reach Heather Pass. Off to the right there are some less-traveled goat trails. You want to follow these.
Following the goat trails, it will take you to a boulder field. Make your way through the boulder field and you will end up at the shores of Lewis Lake (5,700'). On a hot day this is a great spot to take a break and cool off. Continue around the left side of Lewis Lake and follow the trail up the northwest slope another 1,200' until you reach Wing Lake (6,905').
Wing Lake is a great place to set up camp. There are a few sites close to the water with fantastic views of Black Peak, or you could travel Northeast no more than a 1/4 mile to an area that overlooks much of the North Cascades. Be wary of the goats, they aren't as used to people as the ones in some other areas of the Cascades, and they get agitated very quickly (especially if you brought a dog with you).
Once you set up your camp and lighten your load, get ready for the push to the summit. Make your way around the Northeast side of the lake (right side) until you find the outflow from the upper snow field. Follow this until you reach the snowfield. Depending on time of year and your assessment of the snowfield, you can choose to walk directly through it, or skirt around the snow. Past the snowfield is a steep scree field. Your goal is to reach the Southwest ridge line of Black Peak.
Standing on the ridge line, your next step is to make your way North up and over the boulder fields and the "staircases" of rocks carved out from the yearly snow melts. This 1,000' of elevation gain doesn't necessarily have a set path to follow, you kind of have to make your way up until you come to an overlook point just West of the summit. From here follow a little boot path South then East underneath the summit until you get to just East of the summit. This is the best spot to climb/scramble to the top. From the top (8,970'), you can see all of the North Cascades, out into Eastern Washington, the Chelan area, and beyond!
- Sleeping Bag
- Cook Stove
- Bug Spray
- Helmet for scrambling on loose rock
- Ice Ax (season dependent)
- Ropes (safety, can be done without ropes)
- Crampons (season dependent)
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This hike is rather diverse on what you will encounter. Starting from the trailhead, its a steady climb to the boulder fields. Heading into the field, there is actually a path in the trees right on the edge of the drop off that we discovered... we rock hopped the entire way in and found it on the way out. Both ways are equally fun. We made our base camp at Lewis lake for the 2 days and is what I'd recommend. The climb from Lewis to Wing had my quads on fire with my day pack, let alone the 35 lbs I left behind! Black peak itself is fun. The scree is a challenge and unorthodox if you haven't dealt with much of it, but you'll pick it up quickly. The write-up above is spot on. Be mindful of how quickly thunder clouds can roll down the valley in late afternoon!
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