Kennedy Glacier

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
A long day

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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70.88% Score
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Created On: Jul 12, 2003
Last Edited On: Jul 12, 2003


From I-5 north of Seattle, take Exit 208 and head east on Hwy 530 to Darrington. At the ""T" intersection, turn south onto the Mountain Loop Hwy for 10.5 miles to the White Chuck River Rd (FS23). Follow this road east about 11 miles til it dead-ends at the trailhead. USFS Northwest Forest Pass required for parking.
Follow trail #643 for about 4 miles, then ascend (left) Kennedy Ridge Trail #639 for 1.7 miles to meet PCT. Turn left and follow PCT for about 2 mile to crossing of Glacier Creek, and good campsites with water.
Pack-in time 4-5 hours.

Route Description

From campsite follow climbers trail up gulley toward mountain to top of Kennedy Ridge. Descend (right) to foot of Kennedy Glacier. Ascend lower glacier keeping to right. Ascend center of upper Kennedy Glacier, and approach bergschrund at head of glacier by ascending (left) to top of snow dome. Find a snow bridge to pass over bergschrund, and ascend center of 40degree headwall keeping left-of but close to prominent rocks. Top out in center of face, between the two major rocky knobs. Descend 100ft and cross old flat crater, and ascent steep 45degree slope (often icy) about 180 ft to easy ridge leading right to summit.
Descent: Usual descent is past rock formation call Rabbit Ears just east of Kennedy Glacier headwall. On snow, skirt base of rotten rock formation, and then ascend back up a bit to gain Frostbite Ridge. Easy descent down ridge to top of very gentle Vista Glacier which leads down to join lower Kennedy Glacier. Keep to right on descent of Vista Glacier.

Essential Gear

Rope, crampons, ice axe, pickets, 4 ice screws. Conditions on steep sections may vary from icy to slushy. Many parties want protection on exposed slopes, especially when icy.

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 CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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robertjoy - Jul 12, 2003 5:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

This route is by far more aesthetic than the more popular Frostbite Ridge route which is used as the descent route. The glacier has very dramatic, deep crevasses, and is relatively small, lying between two ridges. Route finding is not difficult, but it is best to descend the ridge route to avoid having to descent the steep "headwall" section which lead to a 100ft drop into a very deep crevasse.

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis - Mar 17, 2015 8:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Route update

From the MBSNF website:

"Closed beyond the junction with Forest Service road 27 (5 miles from the Mt Loop) to motorized vehicle use. This road no longer provides trailhead access for trails into Glacier Peak Wilderness and Kennedy Hot Springs"

This will add about 6 miles extra approach each way.

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