The Beckey guide calls Mt. Larrabee "the largest reddish rock in the North Cascades" At one time it was referred to as the Red Mountain. Very impressive views from the summit, just 1.5 miles south of the Canadian border, include American Border Peak, Canadian Border Peak, The Pleiades, Tomyhoi Peak, Mt. Shuksan, and of course Mt. Baker. The Southwest Route is Class 3 mixture of loose rock and scree. We did not take a rope. I think a hard hat would be wise, especially if there are several in your party or others are on the mountain. Also an ice ax earlier in the year.
From Twin Lakes follow trail between the lakes until you come to a sign Winchester Mountain or High Pass. Take the High Pass trail for approximately 2 miles to a basin facing the south face of Mt. Larrabee. Do not be tempted to follow the trail to the east ridge. Instead, once above High Pass a few hundred feet, travel west across the scree basin and upward to a small cliff at about 7000 feet. The west ridge route truly follows the southwest skyline you see from High Pass.
From this point you can pick and choose the gullies you feel comfortable with. Down climb the way you came and pay attention to your route. Water is non-existent late in the season so plan accordingly. The views are as magnificent as anywhere in the North Cascades, bring plenty of film. We had the mountain all to ourselves in this late season. Truly a rewarding day with a good friend. If you are trying to get someone into Mountaineering without the equipment and minimal exposure Class 3, this mountain I would reccommend for sure.
From I-5 at Bellingham turn east at Exit 255 onto the Mount Baker Highway. Turn north about 13 miles east of Glacier Ranger Station, road#3065, immediately after the maintenance sheds. There should be a sign on this road to Tomyhoi Lake. The maintained road ends at the Tomyhoi Lake trailhead about 4.5 miles, but if you have a high clearance vehicle you can continue another 2.5 miles to the Twin Lakes parking area. Otherwise, park your car at the Tomyhoi Lake Trailhead and enjoy the scenery. You will need a Trailhead parking pass at either parking area, which can be purchased at the Glacier Ranger Station, inside or machine outside.
The road from Mt. Baker highway is not plowed in winter. People do ski and snowshoe to the Winchester Moutain Lookout above the Twin Lakes.
I would estimate May into November, depending on snow conditions and road maintenance. We climbed it November 2nd, 2002. However, we did travel some on light snow and daylight is short, so we did come out with headlamps.
Camping at Twin Lakes, you can get to this point in a decent high clearance car. High Pass would be a very scenic place to spend the night, approximately two miles from Twin Lakes.
Glacier Ranger station:360 599-2714 or Mt. Baker Ranger station in Sedro Wolley: 360 856-5700. Road is getting worse. Trees, washouts, banks sloughed onto road to Twin Lakes is the worst I have seen ever. (7/4/07