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North Buttress

North Buttress

North Buttress

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.47850°N / 120.8452°W

Object Title: North Buttress

Route Type: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Class 4 to 5 (see Overview)

Grade: II

Route Quality: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: Fred Spicker, Moni

Created/Edited: Feb 8, 2005 / Apr 28, 2012

Object ID: 163922

Hits: 7428 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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This pic will show the routes...
Colchuck Routes from the NE.Click on photo for detailed caption

The North Buttress of Colchuck is an outstanding feature on the peak. I personally think that it is more of a ridge than a buttress, but it is overall wide enough to provide numerous variations for nearly its entire length so one can vary the difficulty of the climbing to suit their ability, mood, and the weather. If climbed as per Beckey who recommends staying up to 200 feet west of the crest, the climbing is Class 3 & 4. If one stays on or near the crest the climbing is very enjoyable easy Class 5 - up to about 5.4. From most places, it should be possible to traverse to the Northwest Route, which is a scramble.

The North Buttress Couloir Route puts one out on the North Buttress at just about where the steep climbing starts, thus avoiding the lower scrambling part of the route and providing a much more interesting start to the climb.


Colchuck from the north
From the north

Reach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. (About 4 miles of trail).

The lower buttress is attained from the south end of Colchuck Lake via a shallow gully leading to a col or notch low on the peak.

Colchuck Glacier is visible from the lake and easily reached over talus or snow depending on the season. (less than a quarter mile). The base of the North Buttress Couloir is obvious from and easily reached from the toe of the glacier.

Route Description

Colchuck Peak<br>Northwest Route & North Buttress
Colchuck Routes from the NW.

If climbing the lower buttress, it is reached via a shallow gully leading to a notch low on the peak. The lower part of the route is scrambling - easiest just west of the crest. When the steeper upper part of the route is reached, there are numerous options depending on what level of rock climbing the group wants to do. Staying directly on the crest is the most difficult with pitches up to about 5.4 if desired. Beckey recommends easier terrain up to 200 feet west of the crest.

There may be steep snow in gullies and pockets early in the season. With care and staying well west of the crest, the route should not be harder than Class 4.

See the North Buttress Couloir Route description for this more interesting variation in reaching the upper steep part of the buttress.

High on North Buttress, Colchuck Peak
On N Buttress
North Buttress Route, Colchuck Peak
On N Buttress
North Buttress Route, Colchuck Peak
On N Buttress
Crest of North Buttress, Colchuck
On N Buttress

Essential Gear

Rope and small rack. Ice axe crampons if descending via the glacier.


High on North Buttress, Colchuck PeakColchuck Peak<br>Northwest Route & North ButtressNorth Buttress Route, Colchuck PeakCrest of North Buttress, ColchuckNorth Buttress Route, Colchuck Peak