This is a fun/great peak for two reasons or more. One is the moderate climbing required to summit. Two is that this is still a North Cascade Peak not climbed by hordes of people giving you some remoteness without bushwhacking or spending days getting to the peak. Some reports are from climbers doing the Ruth to Icy Peak traverse and back to the car in one day. Some spend a night on Ruth's summit with the fantastic views of Shuksan, Pickets and more.
Drive to Hannegan Pass off the Mt. Baker Highway 542 East from Bellingham Washington. The unpaved road to Hannegan Pass is 13 miles past the town of Glacier. It is well signed...just past the Road Maintenance shops.
Climb Ruth Mountain. Descend from the summit west. If the snow has melted off the summit, you can see a faint path in the loose rock taking you toward the gully that looks worse than it is. You should be able to see Icy Peak clearly from this gully. Ruth is 7,106 feet, the saddle at the bottom of the gully is about 5500 feet. We began our ascent of Icy by staying near the rock ridge now on your left or east. This separates the Spillway Glacier from the unnamed glacier that will take you just below the dramatic north face of the Northwest Peak of Icy. It is a multiple summit peak, but this is the one with the register that we all climb... I recommend staying high on the glacier to minimize crevasses en route. At about 6500 feet you should step though a notch in ridge coming west off the summit. From here you have another 500 feet or so to the 4th class summit gully worn clean from climbing. Several minor variations to get to the last 75 feet and summit!
Depends on time of year, and your climbing skills. Crampons, Ice Axe for sure. Glacier travel across Ruth and Icy, but some do it without... gear...??? The last 75 feet on Icy is 4th class. There are rap slings near the top, so some are choosing to be careful and well prepared. I don't find fault... be safe and smart, you are a long way from help. I should mention that my son's Verizon cell phone did work here....