West Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.47890°N / 120.8322°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: Scramble and / or Moderate Snow
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


The "West Route" (as per Beckey) starts at the col between Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks and is sometimes referred to as the Colchuck Glacier Route since most parties approach the col from the north via Colchuck Glacier. Combined with a descent of the East Route back to Aasgard Pass, this makes for a very pleasant traverse of the mountain and round trip from Colchuck Lake.


From the south, the col may be approached via the Ingalls Creek Trail either from its trailhead accessed from US Highway 2, or via Longs Pass - Ingalls Way Trail - accessed from the end of the Teanaway Road south from Cle Elum, WA. This is certainly the long way - about 11 miles via the Ingalls Creek Trail and up Porcupine Creek or between 7 and 9 miles via Longs Pass and up Porcupine Creek.

CleElum District trails: Cle Elum Trails

From the north, the col is approached via the Colchuck Lake Trail and / or the Stuart Lake Trail reached from Leavenworth, WA. It is about 4.1 miles from the trailhead to Colchuck Lake. The junction of the Stuart Lake and Colchuck Lake trails is about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. From the junction, it is 1.6 miles to Colchuck Lake. The glacier is just above the lake.

Leavenworth District trails: Leavenworth

Route Description

From the col between Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks, ascend an easy gully (snow in early season, scree later) between Dragontail and Pandora's Box to a notch in the south summit ridge.

Crossing through this notch is an easy scramble when the snow is gone. However, in early season the notch is very steep on the east side and can even be corniced. Care, and probably a rope are in order here on early season ascents.

Past the notch, the route meets the South Route and ascends directly north to the summit on easy snow or scree, or one can continue up the ridge also without significant difficulty.

See the Colchuck Glacier Route for more information and photos of the glacier part of the route.

This Site has a trip report, map, and excellent photos of an early season climb of this route.

This Site has photos and a description of a late season climb of this route.


Descend the route, or to complete a nice traverse, and round trip from Colchuck Lake, descend on easy slopes to the south and east to Aasgard Pass and descend from there back to the lake.

Essential Gear

If climbing from the north or in early season - ice axe, crampons, and rope. Some parties may want some snow protection for the notch.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Aug 13, 2011 4:01 am - Hasn't voted

Virtual Map and GPX File

When I went up this route we got a little lost, so I decided to draw up a virtual map which can be seen here. For those who want a gpx file, you can get it here.

skjos - Jun 10, 2013 2:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Climb to the ridge at the notch

In the early season where the down-climb from the notch can be trecherous, climb the ridge on the left of the notch for easier passage to the back side. The access to the ridge is about 20 feet or so below the notch.

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