This is by far the technically the easiest way up Copper Point. At 13 miles round trip and 3500 feet of elevation gain the route is also the longest way up Copper Point. But for those not excited about doing extended Class 3 over lose rock and high exposure (especially on the north ridge), this route is definitely the preferred route up Copper Point. Adding on to this great route is the fact that the trail up to Copper Pass goes through some very scenic alpine backcountry of the North Cascades. It should be noted that this would be an excellent area to visit in early October due to the it’s colorful berries bushes and the presence of larches in the area.
Hopefully this page will draw some attention to the now unmaintained Copper Pass Trail which is still easy to follow but has now fallen victim to trees falling on it. This is one trail I hope doesn’t disappear for a long time! The trail access a lot of great backcountry, alpine lakes, beautiful larch grooves and lots of berry bushes. When I was on this route I saw both large black berries and mountain goat family. It would be a real shame to see this trail totally disappear. Hopefully someone will see this page and adopt and fix up this beautiful trail.
Getting ThereVIA THE BRIDGE CREEK TRAILHEAD: This trailhead is located on the North Cascade Highway between Rainy Pass and Washington Pass. It is roughly six miles to the west of Washington Pass. NOrthwest Forest Pass is required for this particular trailhead. Parking will be on the north side of the parking area.
From the Bridge Creek Trailhead six miles from Washington Pass take the Pacific Crest Trail south for one mile. This trail goes downhill at a gentle grade but is very well maintained. Once about a mile south of the trailhead you will a sign pointing to Copper Pass make a left onto this trail. You will immediately cross a bridge over stream. The log is a little slanted so take your time crossing this bridge. One over the bridge stay on the on the trail through the woods. Go past the Stiletto Peak spur trail and continue up the trail.
You will pass by a number of fallen trees on the trail and will have to navigate over them or around them as you are heading up the trail. At 4600 feet on the trail you will have to go up a number of steep switchbacks up until about 5200 feet. Though the map only shows four switchbacks there are many more. Some of these switchbacks are starting to become overgrown so take your time on this section. Once past the switchbacks the trail will then flattens out and then go up to the pass at a gradual pace all the way to the base of the last rise to Copper Pass. The last little bit up to Copper Pass steepens up as it rises up through a groove of alpine larches.
Once at the pass take the boot path to the left and head for the ridge. The boot path will lead you right to 10 foot Class 2+ (low Class 3 depending on who is doing the rating) scramble up the ridge. This section is far easier than what awaits you from Kangaroo Pass on the eastern side of the mountain. This is your crux for the entire trip. Once over this 10 foot section continue to scramble your way up the ridge to a small flat spot where a good view of Copper Point awaits. From the flat spot continue to walk up over the scree and to the right of the summit all the way to the point of the ridge where you can follow the ridge all of the way to the summit. From there good views await of the North Cascades.
Essential GearThere will be snow on this route well into mid-July so if plan on climbing before August bring an ice axe. A couple of us brought a helmet but for this peak is doable without though there are some lose rocks in places.
External LinksThe WTA trail description
Here is some trail information about the Copper Pass Trail
A good summer trip report on the region
Here is a good spring trip report on this route