IntroductionWhat is it?
The 5 most prominent peaks in Washington State.
How difficult is it?
The Five Peak Pins are not too difficult technically speaking, but do require a high level of physical fitness and mountaineering ability. All of the peaks require snow and glacier travel.
How long do they take?
Each peak takes anywhere from 1-5 days.
Washington is famous for bad weather all year round. Be ready for lots of rain, snow, and negative degree temperatures on the mountain. Conditions can turn from sunny to stormy in a matter of seconds.
Mountaineering is dangerous and avalanches are common on the major Cascade mountains. Climbing solo is not recommended and going with a guiding service the first time up the peaks is recommended. Crevasses are common and roping up is highly recommended.
Having good gear is important. Plan on rain and snowstorms but also plan on temperatures from -5 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. An ice-axe, sturdy climbing rope, crampons, harness, carabiners, and helmet are all needed for safety. Bring multiple layers and size them to fit on top of each other. Get a good pair of plastic or leather mountaineering boots. Also, a mountaineering tent, sleeping pad, and a synthetic or down 0-15 degree Fahrenheit sleeping bag will make sure you have an enjoyable experience.
Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft)
Mt Rainier is a huge mountain. It is the fifth highest in the contiguous United States and the highest in the Cascades. Although Rainier is over 200 feet higher than Mt. Shasta, it has less volume. The higher altitude and less volume results in a steep and difficult climb. Rainier is almost completely glaciated and takes 4-5 days to complete. The mountain offers many routes and a high variety of altitude gain. By its easiest route, the Muir route, climbers are required to ascend 9000 vertical feet. Three companies are allowed by the National Park Services to guides clients to the top. The are Rainier Mountain Guides, International Mountain Guides, and Alpine Ascents International.
Mt. Adams (12,276 ft)
Although the second tallest peak in Washington, Mt. Adams is often forgotten about. It lies further east than the other major Washington State mountains and is far away from any big city. It has glaciers on 3 sides but on the other side is permanent snow that allows for a non-technical ascent. Guiding companies that will take you to climb Mt. Adams are Mountain Madness, Alpine Ascents International, and Northwest Mountain School. I am sure there are others and Rainier Mountain Guides offer custom Cascade climbs and I believe you can request Mt. Adams.
Mt. Baker (10,781 ft)
Mt. Baker is the third highest of the Five Peak Pins. Although there is great crevasse danger and constant avalanches, Mt. Baker is a great first mountain for those learning to climb on snow and ice. Although the Easton route is the easiest, the Coleman/Deming route is the most popular because the Easton route is the only place on the mountain snowmobiles are allowed.
Glacier Peak (10,520 ft)
Glacier Peak is often forgotten about due to its remoteness. All approaches to the mountain are far, with the approach to the standard route at 8.2 miles and the longest at 14 miles. The mountain is not very technical but is fairly steep and dangerous.
Mt. Olympus (7969 ft)
Although the shortest of the Five Peak Pins, Mt. Olympus is a major accomplishment to be proud of. Its long approach and difficult terrain make for a difficult and exciting climb. It has many routes and requires technical skills. Because it is in the most precipitous region of Washington State, the success rate is not very high.
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