Hozomeen is the sentinel that dominates the N end of Ross Lake. Its twin summits are only visible from a few turnouts along Highway 20 as it passes Ross Lake, but once they're spotted their high, steep cliffs command attention. The N peak is the highest of the summits and the easiest to reach, via the class 4 NE face. The 8,003-foot (2439m) South and 7,471-foot (2277m) SW summits are so isolated from the North, that they deserve their own pages in SP. While the N peak is remarkable for the density of its contour lines on the map, the other two are remarkable for the number of contour lines that overlap. I'll leave them to someone who's climbed them.
If you're viewing Hozomeen from Highway 20, you're lost. The only road anywhere near Hozomeen is one that crosses the border from Canada into Hozomeen Campground on the E shore of Ross Lake and deadends. Drive to a couple miles (about 3km) W of Hope, B.C. and turn S on the Silver-Skagit road. Learn to enjoy potholes, dust, and slow trailers – this road is the only reasonable way to get a powerboat to Ross Lake. The S half of the road is in BC's Skagit Valley Provincial Park. Follow the links to find a map of the road and a park brochure, including points of interest along the road. In 37.5 miles (60.3km), cross the border into the US. Immediately S of the border look for a “Trail of the Obelisks” sign. It's a short interpretive trail that starts up the hillside & visits the first few border monuments. Trailhead elevation is about 1620 feet (494m).
Maps: USGS Hozomeen Mtn., WA 7.5' series. You'll be at the E edge of the map; consider also carrying the Skagit Peak, WA quad.
You'll be crossing the US-Canada border, so be prepared to prove your citizenship. A free Wilderness Permit may be required, depending on which side of the summit cairn you sleep on. (The Pasayten Wilderness boundary crosses the summit.) Self-issue Wilderness Permits are available at the Ranger Station just S of the border. If you're heading for the S Peak and want to camp at Hozomeen Lake, quotas may be an issue. Good news about Hozomeen Campground: the North Cascades National Park "Ross Lake" web page says it's free. The ubiquitous Northwest Forest Pass is not required at Hozomeen.
When To Climb
Hozomeen might be a reasonable winter ascent if the Silver-Skagit road is open to the border. Check with BC Provincial Parks via the link in the Red Tape section. Most of the approach and NE Face route appear to be relatively safe from avalanches. The NE basin would be the exception, of course, but could be very reasonable in the right winter conditions. June through September is the “normal” climbing season. Leonard & I had a perfect trip on a late July weekend.
As mentioned above, Hozomeen Campground is free and very handy for the night before the climb. It's open from late May until sometime in October. The summit itself is eminently comfortable. The broad basin and ridges NE of the summit offer limitless possibilities, but remember that once you hike up through that 6,400-foot (1950m) pass, you're in the Pasayten Wilderness Area.
Be aware that this is one of those remote areas that the Park Service is using to reintroduce interesting wildlife. I've seen photographs from the late 80's or early 90's of wolves roaming through the kiddie playground at the campground. Our only wildlife problem was the mosquitoes that forced us to swelter in our bivy sacks the night before the climb.
Check the National Weather Service for the latest forecast. Call the North Cascades National Park office in Sedro Woolley, WA at 360/856-5700 for the latest info about Hozomeen Campground and its access road.