Icy Peak is a great peak to climb for several reasons. First, it probably has the best view of the North side of Shuksan possible. Also close ups of the Price Glacier, North Face, Jagged Ridge, Cloud Cap Peak and Blum. Second, Icy is reasonably close to the Hannegan or Nooksack Cirque Trailheads, so it is feasable to tubo leg Icy in one day, but easy in two. Third, it has a nice mix of snow, glacier and rock, but not a technical climb to discourage noobs. Icy Peak has three small, closely spaced summits. Our Guidebook from Beckey says that the Southeast Peak is slightly higher, but the Register and the one most mortals climb is the Northwest Peak with easier access.
This pictures shows the Nooksack Cirque Route that basicly follows the river to the end of the Cirque. It is amazing to be there, staring up at a perspective of Shuksan you can't see anywhere else. You also get the "remote" feel for the North Cascades since there is little to no traffic at this point. I have an old 1970 "101 hikes in the North Cascades" by the Mountaineers which list this hike as a 8 mile (I thought it was longer) round trip to high point of 3500 feet at the end. The book says, " A wild, lonesome cirque, a wasteland of glacial violence, one of the most dramatic spots in the North Cascades. Icefalls, waterfalls, moraines, a raging river, the stark pinnacle of Nooksack Tower, and the 5,000 foot northeast wall of Mt Shuksan." Get to both Trails, Haggegan or Nooksack Cirque,travel the Mt Baker Highway, the famous 542 East, that takes you to the Mt Baker ski/snowboard area off I-5 in Bellingham, Washington. Look for the Transportation Shed for Highway maintenance. The Hannegan Pass and Nooksack Cirque Trails are a left just past this Shed to the left or East. Hannegan Pass Trail is about 6 miles up this unpaved road. The Nooksack Cirque Trail starts about a mile or so on the same road with a right fork taking you to trailhead. My trip report climbing Icy is from the Nooksack Cirque route, so just read it if interested. Most climb Icy from the Hannegan Pass, up and over Ruth Mountain. I will try to link the report that is on summitpost or several reports on this route are found on cascadeclimber.com. You may find reports on nwhiker too. Hannegan Pass trailhead is 3,110 feet to give you idea of elevation gain to 7,073 summit of Icy. If you do the Hannegan Pass, climb Ruth,you must descend some to Glacier of Icy Peak, so take that into consideration. The Nooksack Cirque route is more mileage on a partially maintained trail, but no ups and downs...just a long walk up the North Fork of the Nooksack River to it's source...which was a unique experience...
You need a Northwest Pass parking permit. If you need to get it at the last minute, the town of Glacier has a Ranger Station and the last time I checked, they had an outside vending machine for day permits. Yippee.
There are several campgrounds on the Mt Baker Highway..plus if you do the Hannegan Pass Trail, there is a nice, small primative campspot or two with restrooms right at the Trail start. Nice place. As you can see from this pic, a summer weekend with good weather makes this place a really popular destination, understandably. This is the launching for many hikes and climbs with great views no matter where you go on a clear day.