The North Ridge of Mount Blum is a serrate mass of impeccable granite rising between two active glaciers over 1900 vertical feet and nearly a horizontal mile. A climb of the North Ridge offers solid climbing of quality rivaling anything else in the North Cascades in a spectacular position. This is a mentally and physically challenging climb in absolute wilderness on great rock.
See the main page for information on getting to the Blum Lakes.
From the Northernmost Blum Lake cross over the Northwest shoulder of the mountain into the scoured rock and ice basin Northwest of the summit. Sidehill across this toward the prominent North Ridge while scouting for a line up the lower walls to the ridgecrest. Many unexplored steep cracks and shallow corner systems criscross the lower ridge. If neccessary cross underneath the North Ridge and ascend the glacier on the East side of the ridge until a reasonable place is found to gain the ridge crest. In August 2007 a solid moat crossing and lower-angle climbing was found just uphill of a prominent chimney with a chockstone in it, a couple hundred feet uphill and to the East of the base of the ridge.
Regardless of where the snow and ice is left behind, expect 150 meters or so of 5.8-5.9 R climbing on very solid, but very compact rock to surmount the crest of the ridge. When the ridge is finally gained, follow it up, keeping to the ridge crest for the best climbing. The ridge winds over mid-fifth class terrain on rock and climbing reminiscent of the Upper North Ridge of Mount Stuart for 3/4 of a mile or so to the summit.
From the summit of Mount Blum open talus, snow, ice, and alp slopes can be followed to the South to a point just Northeast of the deep cirque containing Southeast Blum Lake. A wide gully, mostly snowfilled until late Summer leads fairly gently downhill to Southeast Blum Lake. The lake generally remains frozen until August, and can be easily rounded on its Southeast to the outlet stream leading to lower Blum Lakes. Two loose-rock gullies head downhill to the lower lakes just South of the outlet stream, and a forested ridge also provides downhill access a little further South of the gullies.
Rock rack to 2 inches, rope, ice axe, crampons after July.
"When you take away the glaciers, it's not really alpine climbing."