Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 48.67486°N / 121.1462°W
Additional Information County: Whatcom
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 7182 ft / 2189 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Pyramid Peak is an imposing-looking peak in the North Cascades, that looks more intimidating than it actually is. Connected by a long south-trending ridge toward Snowfield Peak and the Colonial and Neve Glaciers, it passes directly beneath Paul Bunyan's Stump and Pinnacle Peak to access its nearly-flat, easy summit.


While famous for its sheer, pyramid-shaped North face that's visible from the Diablo Lake Overlook, and the Diablo Dam, what makes it most notable is its steep approach, and non-technical summit, requiring little more than basic hiking and glacier-travel gear.


It is advised to take 2-3 days for Pyramid, not for Pyramid itself, but to explore and climb it and all its neighbors at a leisurely pace (its more famous parent, Snowfield, is definitely a 2 day adventure, but if you're making the effort to go up Pyramid, you might as well set up camp at the Colonial-Neve Col and do several peaks over a weekend and enjoy yourself)



Getting There

The most common route is via the Pyramid Lake/ Pyramid Peak Climbers Trail, which starts on Highway 20 6.5 miles east of Newhalem. The trail begins at 1,150 ft at the Pyramid Lake Trail, and ascends gently over 2 miles to Pyramid Lake.


From Pyramid Lake, turn right (West) and follow a small bootpath up over a small rock knob, down a brief depression, and then follow steeply straight up the ridge for the next 4 or so miles. The trail becomes indistinct in a few places, but in peak season, it's easy enough to follow. At one boulder field below a steep knob, look for cairns, and follow them into the brushy path on the south side of the boulders, and begin the root pulls and low-grade scrambles that will put you onto the next section of semi-level trail.

Eventually you'll end up around the timberline, and follow the path (marked with cairns) across slabs, heather, and past small tarns. This is the last spot for water you'll find til the glacier basin, so fill up here if needed

From near the top of the now open ridge, take a path that veers left down a cedar bench/ forested ledge, and down some cedar pulls and low-grade rock scrambling to put you into the Colonial Creek basin. Look for boot paths that occasionally appear, but generally try to trend upwards toward a spot just above and to the right of the waterfall (late season). From the upper edge of the waterfall, proceed straight south into the glacier basin, and admire the views, before looking for more cairns and the bootpath up over the rocky rib that encircles the glacier basin.

From the trail + cairns, go east and south toward the NE tongue of the glacier, and cross west onto dirt/ rock slides that streamed out onto the glacier. They provide a solid path that puts you far enough up the glacier to find safe lateral routes that put you above the worst of the crevasses, and in between the smaller clusters of crevasses. Rope up and cross out onto the glacier, and at near the center of the glacier, proceed up (south) the glacier, and when you begin to near a small rocky outcropping extending out into the glacier on the SW, look for the spot of red rocks with large flat ledges and benches (possibly marked with a small cairn) to exit the glacier. Late season there are huge, deep moats and bergschrunds surrounding much of the edge of the glacier, and they are invisible from lower down, so proceed near the edges of the glacier with caution.

Once off the ice and on the rock, walk and scramble up onto the ridgeline below Paul Bunyan's Stump, and hike north along the ridge. Keep your crampons and ice axe with you - even late season snowfields still cling to PBS and Pinnacles' eastern sides, and some are quite steep and hard. There are some rock lips and talus fields that are a buffer against the cliffs directly over the glacier basin, but a fall on these slopes would still not be fun.

From the saddle between Pinnacle and Pyramid Peak, continue straight up to the nearest access point, and the remainder of the trip is an easy hike up to the summit of Pyramid. From here, relax, enjoy views of Pinnacle Peak, Paul Bunyan's Stump, Neve Peak, Colonial Peak, Snowfield Peak, The Horseman, Horseman's Pack, Cat's Ear, The Needle, the Neve Glacier, Davis Peak, and you can even see into the southern Pickets on a good day.

Red Tape

As this is in the North Cascades National Park, you will need a camping permit, and a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead. Parties are limited to a maximum of 6 people.

When to Climb

As long as Highway 20 is open to Diablo, this peak can be climbed year-round, although when you choose to climb is up to your preference. For summer ascents, July to September is when the trail is easiest to follow, and the weather is most cooperative. Winter will lessen crevasse dangers, but increase avalanche and route-finding issues lower down.


There are flat spaces and prepared sites on the ridge just below Pyramid Peak, in the Colonial Glacier Basin, and at the Colonial-Neve Col. If you come late enough in the season, Pyramid Peak's summit itself also has a few small tarns and plenty of flat spaces to camp on.

External Links

Pyramid Peak Climb August 2019



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