North Cascades 1968 with the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh

The North Cascades National Park was created just a month after this trip, which we made in September, 1968.  The park was created October 2, 1968, after many years of wrangling, by an Act of Congress.  It is administered now by the National Park Service.  Here is a good site where you can find out about the place.  Here is a map of wilderness areas and National Parks in the United States that shows the general area where these images were taken.  Much of the park and surrounding lands are now encompassed by the Stephen Mather Wilderness.  Glacier Peak is now in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.  Bonanza Peak is in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.

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North Cascades from the air September 1968

Getting Started

This is our first peek at the Cascade mountains - from the airplane flying in to Seattle.  The view is looking north ...

Bonanza Peak from Railroad Creek September 1968

On the way to Bonanza Peak

We used automobile transportation to get from Seattle to Chelan, and then
we caught the Lady of the Lake ferry for a charming boat ride fifty miles up the lake to Lucerne.

Bonanza Peak from Holden Lake September 1968

Climbing Bonanza Peak

At twilight we got our first view of the whole route up Bonanza Peak, from extreme right to the sharp peak above the triangular glacier interrupted by the prominent crevasse at upper left.  The glacier in the upper foreground is the Mary Green.  That's Holden Lake at the bottom.  We were the first persons to climb Bonanza Peak that year (September, 1968) probably because snow conditions (or rain) on the upper part of the climb can make the last pitch quite dangerous.  We found the climb challenging and demanding of constant care.

View from summit of Bonanza Peak September 1968

Views from the Summit of Bonanza Peak

At left the camera is looking southeast.

Below the view is to the north.

North from the summit of Bonanza Peak September 1968

The Trek from Bonanza Peak to the Base of Glacier Peak - Day 1

Panorama looking north from Cloudy Pass September 1968

The Trek from Bonanza Peak to the Base of Glacier Peak - Day 2

Glacier Peak from near Image Lake September 1968
Vista Glacier on Glacier Peak September 1968
              The Glacier Peak Climb
At left is the Vista Glacier that can be seen above the stream in the image just preceding this row.  Below is a good look (south) at the famous "rabbit ears" that were the key to our route up Glacier Peak from the north.
The famous rabbit ears September 1968
The view below shows most of the Kennedy Glacier.
Panorama of Glacier Peak route September 1968
This is the Suiattle River valley under Dusty Glacier.
Suiattle River valley under Dusty Glacier September 1968
Whatcom Peak topographic

Hiking into the North Cascades

The map at left shows our destination, Whatcom Peak.  This link shows the larger immediate area within our view during the climb.  The routes of the first day's hike and the second day's hike.

The maps are scanned from the Mt. Shuksan (1950) and Mt. Challenger (1953) 1:62,500 series USGS topographic maps of the State of Washington.  Here is the entire area of interest.  You can look at the Mt. Shuksan 1:24,000 series topographic map here.  Whatcom Peak can be found here
Looking into the U-shaped glaciated valley east of Whatcom Pass September 1968

The Views from Whatcom Pass

The scene at left is what came into view upon reaching Whatcom Pass.  It looks very much like the view of Crawford Notch from Mt. Willard in New Hampshire.  The glacier that formed Crawford Notch overrode Mt. Willard, plucking rock from its face so as to form a cliff with one of the most impressive views in the eastern US.  Much the same seems to have happened here at Whatcom Pass.

Mike looking into the valley below Whatcom Peak                The Whatcom Peak Climb
In the composite image below, there are climbers crossing Whatcom Peak's west-side glacier and approaching us.  We could see them move.  The route to Whatcom Peak lies along the right-hand skyline, with the summit in the clouds at the highest point in the image.  These climbers reached Whatcom Pass before Mike and I returned from our climb of Whatcom Peak.  They were soaked and miserable, we were given to understand afterwards.  There's a double- wide image of them and the glacier here.
Challenger Glacier - Climbers crossing above crevasse September 1968
Civilization in the North Cascade woods September 1968 Hiking back out of the North Cascades
Tapto Shelter, North Cascades, September 1968