North Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.90100°N / 114.289°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


Route by Luke Casaday

The north ridge is a superb alpine rock route for mid-level climbers. The route affords hundreds of vertical feet of awesome exposure on either side. Even though very little loose rock is encountered on any of the North Trapper routes, that doesn’t mean it is non-existent. Be sure to test any suspect rocks for stability before you trust your life to them.

The climb is rated 5.9 grade III.

Time from car-to-car: 15-18 hours.


Approach via Trapper Creek. Hike up the trail for about 3 miles. When you’ve crossed the creek twice, and you are back on the south side of the creek, start looking for an open talus/avalanche runout slope. You should find the opening at about 5900 ft. just before the trail starts to head back down to the creek. Do not cross the creek for a third time. Follow the talus field up.

Route Description

At this point you can pretty much just follow your nose up the Peak, but a few hints might be in order. The North Ridge has two spurs that come off it at about 8,000 ft. Approaching from the north, the left (east) spur is a VERY thin blade, with a 150 foot vertical section (this can actually be seen from the trail on the north side of the creek, just before crossing the creek for the second time). Consequently, if your goal is to reach the summit before dark, the east spur is probably not the route of choice. (Climbing the east spur would bump the rating of the route up into the upper 5th class—5.11+.) The climbing up the right (west) spur is quite a bit more straightforward. However, there are a number sub alpine evergreens along the way that get annoying after a while. The most straightforward, and time conservative approach is to ascend directly between the two spurs up pleasantly exposed granite slabs.

The scrambling up the slabs is somewhere in the range of easy 4th class to mild 5th class.

As you ascend the slabs, the climbing gets gradually steeper. You will be able to see a gendarme sitting on the top of the slabs; this is where the two spurs join together. The most direct path is to climb over the gendarme. A belay is probably in order here, and since you’ll have to rappel off the other side anyway, it is not a bad place to breakout the rope. A good belay ledge can be found on the right (west) side of the base of the gendarme. From on top of the gendarme you will be able to see most of the rest of the route in front of you. Expect to do some tricky route finding, and at least 3+ hours to the summit from here.

Descent: Follow the ("Olbu") Southeast Face route down.

Who is Luke Casaday?

ACOM logo

Luke Casady, and Ansel Viscaya were caught in an avalanche high on the Liberty Ridge of Mt. Rainier, that swept them to their deaths on June 12. 2004.

Luke and Tim Sharp (T Sharp) co-founded the Alpine Club of Missoula [ACOM]in the late fall of 2003. In a division of labor, Luke did the publishing, promotion, and was the web master of the ACOM web site. Tim did the necessary filing of legal documentation which officialy established the ACOM as a non profit 503c {club}. This allowed them to legaly handle money, and insulated us from liability. At the time of Luke and Ansels` death there were 18 dues paying members of the club, and it was a growing community of adventure minded alpinists. The ACOM still exists, with 2 fewer members, we hope to someday find our way [in the fog], and begin the climb again.



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