OverviewMount Berge is a fantastic alpine, steep granite peak just East of the crest in the North Cascades. However, the mountain is lesser-known and even lesser-seen due to its elevation under 8000 feet, largely hiding it among several of the 100 tallest peaks in Washington and residing in the shadow between the volcanic giant Glacier Peak and the three 9000-footers of the Entiat Range.
The summit is oft-enchained by scramblers with other peaks in the area due to the pleasant alpine peak-bagging terrain. High ridges with easy travel, including the trail traversing from High Pass to Buck Creek Pass lend themselves to these trips, and the continuously-high elevation allows for ski tours well into Summer in the vicinity of Berge.
The peak itself has several long, steep granite ridges and short walls on the East flank which drops into the meadowed basin shared with Mount Cleator and the intimidating Buck Mountain down to Buck Creek. Ridges connect North to High Pass and Southeast to a gap shared with Buck Mountain, while a large basin on the West and South slopes down to the steep valley walls of the Napeequa River drainage.
Getting ThereBerge has very reasonable access from several directions.
The upper mountain can be reached, and often is, in one of three practical ways:
For all make your way to the Chiwawa River Rd, which is closed seasonally, check here for major road condition announcements, currently users are instructed to call the ranger district office for road status, and drive it for at least 19 miles.
1)The Southernmost approach starts at the Little Giant Pass trailhead almost twenty miles down the road. Follow the trail over Little Giant Pass then down to the Napeequa River and on up to the maintained trail's end at the confluence of the creek draining the Southwest side of Berge. From here, previous parties report strenous travel steeply uphill on an intermittent boot track to treeline. At treeline one is in open terrain on the Southwest side of the peak and in excellent position to make a camp or ascend via scramble routes to the summit.
2)The next way to the upper part of Berge leaves from the Chiwawa River Trailhead at the end of the Chiwawa River Road at Trinity. Follow the trail for about two miles to the intersection with the Buck Creek Pass trail which should then be taken for another 4 or 5 miles to the section of trail opposite the basin on the East side of Berge. This spot is well-marked by avalanche tracks descending from the ridgeline to the North almost down to Buck Creek. Find a reasonable way across Buck Creek through some brush and onto the ridgeline trending East-Southeast from Mount Cleator. This ridgeline offers the most brush-free travel to treeline in the Buck-Berge-Cleator basin. Near the 5400' level make a descending traverse Southwest into meadows from which several climbing and scrambling routes can be taken to the top. This is the shortest approach.
3)The last route to the upper slopes of Berge follows the Buck Creek trail as per the instructions previously, but is continued to Buck Creek Pass. Follow the trail to High Pass from there to be on the North side of Berge in position to scramble to the summit. This is the longest mileage-wise but involves the least off-trail travel.