Hadley Peak is a rather low-prominence peak (~400 feet) on the north flank of Mt. Baker where Chowder Ridge and Dobbs cleaver meet. The views are great, the peak just doesn’t stand out from a distance due to always having Baker in the background from all viewpoints. The wide Hadley Glacier spans the North flank of the peak, draining into Dobbs Creek.
The route described here is from Cougar Divide and is mostly class 2 with a little class 3 near the summit. It is possible to access Chowder Ridge from Skyline Divide and follow all the way to Hadley, but it would be very much longer (although a great trek I bet).
Geologically the peak is composed of the 170 to 120 million year old Nooksack Formation, or Nooksack Terrane. This body of rocks is a group of bedded sedimentary rocks deposited in the sea off of a volcanic island arc, which was subsequently accreted to the continent. Chowder Ridge derives its name from the fossils of belemnites (a pen shaped sea creature) commonly seen in the rocks of the ridge. (USGS Geology of the North Cascades: Nooksack Terrane website)
From Mount Baker Scenic Highway (WA 542) take Wells Creek Road, FR 33 for about 12 miles.
Follow the road past Nooksack Falls (seasonal gate closure here Nov. 1 - July 1); hard right at the first junction.
You cross Dobbs Creek at about 6 miles, the road gets rougher beyond here but I did it in a Buick and I was fine.
Left at the next junction. To the road end in a good sized parking lot.
Follow the unofficial, non-maintained trail (not bad at all), weaving in and out of forest, generally along the crest of Cougar Divide. The trail enters meadows just before Cougar Divide and Chowder ridge meet.
Ascend up to the crest of Chowder Ridge, maybe bear left (East) to a low spot in the ridge.
Follow the climbers/goat trail along the ridge crest and mostly to the South of the crest. You pass a few small rock buttresses in the generally meadow ridge slopes; when you get to what seems to be the final buttress before the actual peak (the buttress is a pretty big rock outcrop in the ridge) go low below it, then immediately high. There may be a doable gully in the rock, or take to the talus, but get on the talus crest of the ridge here. I went low on what turned out to be a goat path that went to the col south of the objective. After passing another small buttress take the loose gully up to the summit.
The route isn’t to hard to figure out, just stay high (on the ridge top) before you get all the way into the head of Smith Basin (South of the peak). Incidentally Becky describes the route as: “continue eastward to Hadley Peak, then walk or scramble to the summit.” (Cascade Alpine Guide v. 3)
Time (car to summit): 5 hrs
Elevation gain: 3000 feet
Distance (approximate): 12-14 miles round trip
I’m not sure if a Forest Pass is required, it’s not a maintained trail, but they may require one anyway; check at the Glacier Public Service Center: (360) 599-2714.
You can camp in the meadows at the head of Cougar Divide (find a rocky spot if you can).