New Morning Peak at sunset from Easy Pass
New Morning Peak above Easy Pass
New Morning Peak is the rugged summit to the north of Easy Pass. From the Easy Pass Trail, it looms as a solitary sentinal on the north side of the pass, and rivals the grandeur of Graybeard
to the south. Indeed, most of the peaks around Easy Pass are very spectacular, and New Morning affords great views of the entire Easy Pass area with peaks like Graybeard
, Mt. Logan, Mesahchie Peak
, Black, and other huge mountains of the North Cascades. New Morning Peak is a fairly quick ascent from Easy Pass, but is likely not climbed that much. In fact, the first ascent of this releatively close peak was only in 1973. This is due to the fact that there is indeed exposure encountered on the ridge accessing the summit block, and on the summit block itself. For great views across the valley to Mount Hardy and Silverstar Mountain, and across Easy Pass to Graybeard
and Black Peak, New Morning Peak is a worthy objective.
At the top of the ridge heading to New Morning Peak
Climbing the grassy slopes near Easy Pass
Summit Block of New Morning Peak
Traversing the ridge back from New Morning Peak with Mesahchie Peak in the right background
Drive the North Cascades Highway (SR-20) east from Burlington through the towns of Marblemount and Newhalem, and past the series of dams at Diablo. Continue past mile-marker 150 to the Easy Pass trailhead (elevation 3800 feet) and park here.
Cross Granite Creek on a very well-built log bridge, and then start climbing. The trail to Easy Pass is 3.5 miles long and gains 2,700 feet, but it is well-graded and a good trail. Approximate hiking time to Easy Pass(6500 feet) is about 2 hours. Easy Pass is a beautiful parkland with lovely larch trees and grassy meadows.
From Easy Pass, climb grassy slopes to the northwest, gaining 700 feet to about 7200 feet. From here, traverse on top of the ridge towards the summit block. In the Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume II
, Fred Beckey makes the climb sound as easy a just a bump along the ridge. It is not nearly so trivial. The ridge starts out broad and easy, but narrows signficantly in to a knife ridge with exposure. The climbing is not especially difficult, but it is loose and dangerous. It is easiest to drop below the ridge on climber's right to avoid cliffs. This will take you to a reddish gully. The rock is most solid on the margins of the gully rather than the middle. The summit is only about 50 vertical feet above once you reach this point. Climb the gully on the margins, taking care with the loose rock.
Red Tape and Camping
A Northwest Trailhead Parking Pass ($5/daily, $30/year) is required to park at the Easy Pass trailhead. You can also purchase an Interagency Pass ($80/year) which is good at any Forest Service trailhead, or for entry into any US National Park.
There is no camping allowed at the Easy Pass trailhead or at Easy Pass itself. Easy Pass is the boundary for North Cascades National Park. The only permissible camping in the area is in Fisher Creek Basin, about 1300 feet below and 2 miles from Easy Pass. The Park Service keeps a very tight rein on those wishing to camp in this area. Don't be surprised to find rangers lurking about who will give you a citation if you don't camp at the Fisher Creek camp and camp elsewhere in the area. You have been warned!
TOPO! Software Image
The North Cascades Highway is closed with the first major snowfall until the late spring. Normal operating dates are late April to early November. Be sure to check with the Washington Department of Transportation.
Also, webcams are available from the Washington State Department of Transportation at:
For camping or other information from the National Park, you can access the Park Service website:
North Cascades National Park
To contact the Ranger Station directly, write or call:
North Cascades National Park
7280 Ranger Station Road
Marblemount, WA 98267-9755