OverviewMount Blum is a very prominent, massive bulk located on a high string of peaks West of Shuksan and East of the Pickets in the North Cascades. It is the northern end and the tallest peak on a ridge of glaciated summits stretching nearly ten miles from Watson Peak on its southern end through Bacon Peak and Mount Hagan. According to Fred Beckey in the Cascade Alpine Guide Volume 3, the peak was named for John Blum, a Forest Service fire patrol pilot killed in a crash in 1931.
The peak sits on the Western edge of North Cascades National Park to the East of the North end of Baker Lake. The wilderness quality of Blum is preserved by virtue of the fact that is surrounded on three sides by the dense, brush-filled track-and-trail-less valleys of Lonesome Creek to the East, Scramble Creek to the North, and Baker River to the West. This mountain has formidable terrain barriers on every side.
Mount Blum is a mass of very firm granite, part of a complicated intrusion which is seen stretching from the Skagit River in the South to the Fraser River in the North. The rock is very soild, forming an island of quality rock among the looser giants of Shuksan and the Picket Range.
The immense area and relief covered by this mountain lends itself to varying terrain; from the deep holes of Lonesome Creek and the Baker River through to steep forest, talus, open meadows, alpine lakes, and finally scoured rock and ice.
Mount Blum supports two very active small glaciers on its northern flank, which are split by a long ridge, and several other ice sheets scattered across high basins and cirques. Notably the Eastern glacier on its Northern side connects to another small, East-facing glacier and forms an aesthetic icy arete Northeast of the summit. Also a small glacier clings to a North-facing shelf above the highest Blum lake, Southeast Blum Lake, and permanent ice sits on the upper Northwest Shoulder and in small pockets on the east side of the long South-trending ridge.
A series of six small lakes, the Blum Lakes, sit on the Southeast side of the mountain at treeline among meadows and boulder fields, forming an inviting destination for overnight stays. If one so chooses to visit these spots, complex scramble routes reach the peak from the South, steep rock climbing is found on its North, and steep snow and ice can be ascended on the North and East sides, offering a plethora of climbing adventures.
Getting ThereThe jungle of the North Cascades protects Mount Blum from intruders on every side except for one south-trending ridge connecting it to the rest of the range via Mount Hagan. The nearest road and trail to the peak exist on the North end of Baker Lake, which when taken to their absolute closest point still leave one 4 1/2 miles and 7000 vertical feet short of the summit. Access to Blum is difficult from any and all directions.
To get to a Western approach of Mount Blum via Baker Lake drive SR 20, the North Cascades Highway, to 14.5 miles East of Sedro Wooley and turn North onto the Baker Lake-Grandy Lake Highway. This road extends 28 miles to the North end of Baker Lake and the beginning of the Baker River Road, which ends in one mile at the Baker River trailhead.
The Baker River trail can be taken upstream on the West side of the river about .5 miles to a bridge which crosses the Baker River. Crossing here puts one just north of the confluence of Blum Creek with the Baker River.
A light tread begins on the North bank of Blum Creek and is lightly flagged as it winds uphill through blowdown and brush roughly East towards Mount Blum. Following this tread steeply uphill through fairly open forest, mostly on the South side of the timbered ridge crest, one will gain some 5000 feet before ascending past treeline. A track exists which will leave the ridge crest somewhere between 4500 and 5000 feet and sidehill across talus slopes to the shores of the lowest Blum Lake; this is generally fastest if accessing the lower Blum Lakes or Southeast Blum Lake. The most direct way to reach the three upper lakes follows the ridge crest uphill until finally breaking out into open meadows just above 5000 feet.
Alternately one could reach the South Ridge of Mount Blum from Berdeen Lake. To get to Berdeen Lake reference a topographic map and the Cascade Alpine Guide Volume 3, sorry. Traversing Northwest from the lake over meadows, rock, and ice around the West side of a prominent tower one can then travel back Northeast across ice and rock to the South Ridge of Blum.
These are the two most practical ways to get to the upper reaches of the mountain.
Red TapeMount Blum is in North Cascades National Park and as such one must acquire a permit at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount for overnight stays.
The Baker River Trailhead and all other trailheads one would concievably use require a Northwest Forest Pass to park at.