Mt. Ann is the widely accepted toponym for an unofficially named outlier summit located a few miles south of Shuksan Arm. The mountain is located three miles WSW of Mt. Shuksan
and six miles ENE of Mt. Baker
. Yes, you're thinking correctly. The views of these two mountains from the summit are out of this world, or at least on top of it. But the views don't stop there. You also get an unobstructed view of Baker Lake.
Mt. Ann is bounded by Swift Creek on the west and north and Shuksan Creek on the east. Both of these creeks drain to Baker Lake. Shuksan Creek heads at Lake Ann northeast of the summit. Another highpoint on the ridge just east of the summit is known as "Han Peak." The mountain is moderately rugged--more so at its lower southern flanks than its upper northern flanks. The openness of its summit area and the upper basins and its proximity to Mt. Baker Ski Area make it a prime attraction for backcountry skiers. The mountain can be skied in a reasonable day-trip. The north basin is where we skied (watch me tear it up in this video
). It was 1,500 vertical feet of powdery joy.
Although the mountain is not technically visible from the Mt. Baker Scenic Byway and is on the other side of Shuksan Arm, it nonetheless is usually approached from that side (by way of the ski area). As such, I have included it in the mountain group by that name.
There are two ways to get to Mt. Ann. One is by way of Mt. Baker Ski Area and makes for a good ski tour from there. The other is via the trail up Swift Creek from the Baker Lake side. These routes require totally different driving approaches.
Route from Mt. Baker Ski Area
Drive to the Mt. Baker Ski Area (end of Hwy 542). Proceed to the upper lot where the Mt. Baker Lodge is located. This doubles as the Wild Goose and Bagley Lakes Trailhead. Hike or skin southward up the cat-tracks to Austin Pass (4,700 ft). In summer, a trail leads all the way down the other side of the pass to Lake Ann. This is the standard approach taken for Shuksan's Fisher Chimneys
route. In winter you will have to blaze your own trail (or use a trail put in by other skiers).
The trail/route descends the south side of the pass for about 700 vertical feet over one mile of distance before making a long traverse southeastward through trees to the 4,860-ft saddle north of Lake Ann. Distance to the saddle from the parking lot is about 4 miles. At about 3 miles from the car (2.3 miles from Austin Pass) the trail will come to a junction with the Swift Creek Trail. In winter this junction will not be visible due to snow. It is just about at the crossing of the creek.
In winter it is not necessary to go to the saddle above the lake. You can turn southward before then and make for Mt. Ann's north basin. The summit is on the right. Skin or snowshoe up to the ridge crest east of the summit. In summer this route may also work (or it could be brushy). A ridge route from the Lake Ann saddle would be more open but you'll have to find a way up or around the north side of Han Peak (Pt. 5681). Class 3?
Mt. Ann's final pyramid is not difficult in winter or summer. Class 2.
5 hours from car (winter), 3 hours from car (summer)
500 feet from car to Austin Pass + 1,800 ft from Swift Creek to summit + 700 feet back to pass on return = 3,000 ft.
5 miles one way
Swift Creek Route
This route will be a lot longer with more elevation gain but will be quieter than the bustle you can expect at the ski area. It's probably only a summer route.
From North Cascades Highway (SR-20), drive Baker Lake Road for 20.5 miles to Morovitz Creek Road. This junction is to the left just about at Boulder Creek Campground. Drive Morovitz Creek Road northward for 3.5 miles to Baker Hot Spring
. The trailhead (c. 1,300 ft) is on the right here.
Hike the trail northward up the initially flat valley. The trail goes on and on, arcing rightward to eventually meet the Lake Ann Trail in 8 miles (est. 3,920 ft). From here take the Lake Ann Trail to the 4,860-ft saddle north of the lake then take the ridge southward then westward to the summit, skirting over climbing over Pt. 5681 ("Han Peak") en route. Alternately, from the trail junction, head due south into the north basin and climb Mt. Ann from there. Class 2.
5 hours from car (summer); Gain =
4,500 ft; Distance =
9-10 miles one way
Possible Other Route
There may be a route up Mt. Ann's South Ridge from the Swift Creek Trailhead. The crux will be finding a way up the steep, cliffy terrain to the ridge crest. From there the terrain will be much easier along the crest.
Hike the trail for about 1.3 miles to where it approaches Swift Creek
. Leave the trail and cross the creek (difficult ford?). Your destination is Pt. 4068
on the ridge crest above. Once on the crest, follow it northward as it passes seldom seen Maiden Lake. The summit is about 2 miles from Pt. 4068.
There may be Trail Park Pass requirements at Mt. Baker Ski Area and at the Swift Creek Trailhead. Other than that, there are no restrictions worth noting.
When To Climb
Mt. Ann can be climbed year-round. In winter it's an excellent ski or snowshoe tour. In summer there is a trail most of the way. There is probably a climber's path to the summit. As a viewpoint, Mt. Ann will knock your Smart Wools off.
Mt. Ann can be done in a day. However, if you'd like to stay overnight in the alpine, good camping can be found at Lake Ann or in the meadowy area where the Lake Ann Trail meets the Swift Creek Trail north of the summit. There are no designated campsites on the trails, although there are probably a number of cleared sites at the lake.
Highway conditions to Mt. Baker Ski Area
Views from the Mountain I
Views from the Mountain II
Views from the Mountain III