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North Face

North Face

North Face

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.49500°N / 120.997°W

Object Title: North Face

Route Type: Snow/Ice Climb

Time Required: One to two days

Difficulty: Grade III; 40-50 degree snow/ice, glacier travel

Route Quality: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: tbnelson

Created/Edited: Jul 22, 2002 / Jul 22, 2002

Object ID: 156708

Hits: 8238 

Page Score: 72.04%  - 2 Votes 

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From Interstate 5 in Burlington take WA 20 (North Cascades Highway) towards Sedro Woolley. Drive 47 miles to Marblemount and then get off on the Cascade River Road. Take this for 22 miles to a turnout (elevation 3,200 feet) beneath the impressive Northeast Face of Johannesburg Mountain.

Follow the climbers trail (originally a road to the Diamond Mine .75 miles above) to the vicinity of the mine site and then traverse open slopes. The climber’s trail is wiped out due to a large avalanche slide from Spring 2002. Continue North for approximately a half mile and cross four streams. A switchback trail leads to a moraine at 5,300 feet where multiple campsites and a compost toilet are located. a second camping area is located at 6,400 feet but remains snow covered until later in season.

Ascend the Quien Sabe Glacier to the Boston Sahale col. In good weather tthe col makes for an excellent bivy site and is about 2-3 hours from the base of the north face of Buckner. Ascend the large chossy southern subpeak of Boston and then descend the Boston Glacier and follow its margin along the Ripsaw Ridge towards the base of Mount Buckner.

Another alternative to gaining access to the Boston Glacier is to cross Sharkfin Col which involves some 5.7 climbing and loose rock with a 150 foot rappel to the glacier.

Route Description

The only difficulty routefinding on the face involves getting around the bergshrund. The North Face route climbs up toward the east for 1300 feet. The true summit is the Southwest summit which is two feet or so higher than the east summit. From the summit one has excellent views of Boston’s summit block, Sahale Peak, Glacier Peak, and Forbidden Peak.

For the descent, one can downclimb the line of ascent or to the southwest through gullies and scree to Horseshoe Basin and the Davenport Glacier and return towards the Sahale Arm and Cascade Pass

Essential Gear

Ice axe,crampons, second ice tool, ice screws/pickets, crevasse rescue gear

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and Corrections

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RaguRoute Comment


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Another option to reach the North Face of Buckner is to hike up to Cascade Pass, and then on up to Sahale Arm. There are a few good bivi sites on the arm below the pinnacle of Sahale. It's about 5-6 miles from the car to camp. From camp ascend Sahale (watch sunrise over Logan and Buckner) and down to the Boston-Sahale col. Follow the route from here (see Qien Sabe approach). The traverse beneath Boston Peak is somewhat loose.

I have also heard of parties climbing light and fast go all the way over Sahale and bivi on the Boston Glacier, just before Ripsaw Ridge.

For the descent downclimb the SW face of Buckner, across the Horseshoe basin, staying somewhat high (above 6000'). Look for a wide snow coulior on Sahale's east face/shoulder, and ascend back to camp (1000'+ gain). This option can be done in 2-3 days.
Posted May 23, 2005 1:13 pm

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