Mesahchie Peak is the highest peak of Ragged Ridge. It is one of the hundred highest mountains of Washington State, and resides in a neighborhood of rich alpine splendor. It is the north side of the mountain which provides the most inspiring climbing. There is a North Ridge, a Northwest Ridge, and icefall on the Mesahchie Glacier and an icy couloir route which joins the East Ridge. The easiest route is the South Rib, which requires exposed class 3 climbing and some routefinding skill.
Drive the North Cascades Highway (SR 20) 32 miles east of Newhalem. A short spur road on the right leads to the trailhead. Hike 3.6 miles to Easy Pass (elevation 6520 ft). Leave the trail west of the pass before it begins switchbacking down. Begin an uncomfortable traverse of about a mile, crossing gullies and occasionally brushy slopes. For north side routes, climb to the basin below Mesahchie Col. For the South Rib, continue traversing until directly beneath the peak. Cross a wide, shallow gully (may be snow filled) and ascend the rocky South Rib on it's left.
The North Cascades National Park is open year round, but State Route 20, the highway used to access the peak, is not. The section of road east of Diablo Lake is usually closed from early December to late April or early May.
A permit is required to climb in the Park anytime of the year.
When To Climb
July through September would provide optimum conditions. I'm sure winter ascents are possible (with a snowmobile and a lot of time), but I haven't heard of this being done.
There are no fees required to camp. Camping is not allowed at Easy Pass (fragile alpine area). You can camp in the basin below Mesahchie Col (should be water here). For our climb, we bivied on the North Ridge, which has a nice wide bivy ledge just after getting onto the ridge from the Icefall.
This is a long way from any webcams. I would check the state forecast for Eastern and Western Washington, and take the average of the two.
Mesahchie means "wicked" in Chinook jargon. I can imagine they felt that way, venturing into the tortured gullies looking for mountain goat perhaps?
More recently (May, 2008), Klenke points out that another name for the peak is Panther Peak. J. Roper, an active northwest climber, has proposed this name for the mountain over Mesahchie. Other peaks of Ragged Ridge have also been given alternate names in accordance with local geography. Consult Klenke for more details on the alternate naming scheme.