Hadley Peak

September 27, 2015

2291m

Mount Baker Highway, WA

At elevation of close to 2300 m the horn-shaped Hadley Peak is not a small one by the North Cascades standard, but doesn’t seem to raise that much attention comparing to other 2300-meter objectives such as Mt. Rexford. The reason is simple – it’s significantly overshadowed by the nearby Mt. Baker, 1000 vertical meters higher and easily the biggest mountain one can see from near Vancouver. Hadley Peak is basically part of of Mt. Baker, but a fairly striking one in its own if you get close enough to it (and will offer some grand views given its location), so when Simon Chesterton (simonc) from ClubTread suggested this objective I instantly agreed. With more than 600 peaks under his belt Simon is one of the most accomplished peak-baggers as far as I know, and I’m glad to finally meet him.

Hadley Peak scramble route via Skyline Divide

Hadley Peak scramble route via Skyline Divide. GPX DL

The ascent of Hadley Peak is basically a long ridge walk over the many, many bumps on Skyline Divide and then Chowder Ridge, with some loose scrambling near the summit, but most of the ridge traverse is in the alpine (so great views), and for the most important, I could finally skip a good portion of the coastal forest slog thank to the logging road that brought us perhaps 1000 vertical meters up from the valley floor. In 45 minutes we broke out of the trees and arrived at the first highpoint of the day. We could see the ridge of Skyline Divide winding its way onwards and our objective a LONG way in the distance, but given the perfect autumn weather our spirit was high. Following this popular trail we managed to skip a couple bumps along the way by staying on the sides.

Simon hiking along the Skyline Divide trail

Simon hiking along the Skyline Divide trail

Looking back from one of the many bumps

Looking back from one of the many bumps

Mt. Baker looming above

Mt. Baker looming above

The typical scenery along this trail

The typical scenery along this trail

Ahead is the highpoint on Skyline Divide

Ahead is the highpoint on Skyline Divide

A panorama view towards NW. Click to view large size.

A panorama view towards NW. Click to view large size.

Another panorama view from Skyline Divide. Click to view large size.

Another panorama view from Skyline Divide. Click to view large size.

The mighty Mt. Baker

The mighty Mt. Baker

Our objective - Hadley Peak

Our objective – Hadley Peak

The Twin Sisters. N. Twin on right and S. Twin at center

The Twin Sisters. N. Twin on right and S. Twin at center

It didn’t take us long to arrive at the highest point on Skyline Divide, which was also the end of this officially maintained trail. After a short but necessary break we descended quite a ways down to the low pass between Skyline Divide and Chowder Ridge. Things started to get a little bit interesting once starting up the other side. There’s a trickier spot with a bit of route-finding and thank to the fresh snow, the rock and grass was slippery making some careful movements. But once through this bit the terrain got easier again, albeit it’s still a long slog even just to get to the base of our objective. From here on we opted to side-hill on climber’s right side of the many bumps along Chowder Ridge to avoid extensive elevation gain/loss/regain.

A beautiful tarn below Chowder Ridge. Note the fresh snow

A beautiful tarn below Chowder Ridge. Note the fresh snow

Looking back towards Skyline Divide

Looking back towards Skyline Divide

Simon ascending up Chowder Ridge

Simon ascending up Chowder Ridge

Fresh snow did make things a little bit interesting

Fresh snow did make things a little bit interesting

Slick terrain...

Slick terrain…

Looking back down towards that tarn once gaining the ridge

Looking back down towards that tarn once gaining the ridge

Looking ahead, still a long way to go...

Looking ahead, still a long way to go…

Icefalls on Roosevelt and Coleman Glaciers

Icefalls on Roosevelt and Coleman Glaciers

Another view of Mt. Baker's N. Face

Another view of Mt. Baker’s N. Face

The broad ridge traverse

The broad ridge traverse

Looking over a small glacier towards Mt. Shuksan behind.

Looking over a small glacier towards Mt. Shuksan behind.

Looking back on Chowder Ridge

Looking back on Chowder Ridge

Up-and-downs...

Up-and-downs…

We opted to side-hill bash

We opted to side-hill bash

Looking back

Looking back

More ridge traverses...

More ridge traverses…

Simon bypassing a scrambly step

Simon bypassing a scrambly step

Eventually with some perseverance we did make to the base of Hadley Peak. Here the route traverses across the horribly loose scree over to the right hand side ridge before bashing up the SW Slopes on Class 2-3 terrain. The rock was indeed very loose – the type that everything you put weight on seemed to move. In other words, it’s bad even by Rockies standard… Once I figured I’d done enough of side-hilling on this crappy shitty terrain I ascended straight up, through a chimney and shortly after I arrived at the summit. Simon had taken a different line and made there a few minutes earlier than I did. Despite the not-so-pleasant slog, the views were gorgeous towards every direction, with the mighty Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan stealing the show.

Back to the ridge crest again

Back to the ridge crest again

Some crevasses on Hadley's north glacier (Hadley Glacier)

Some crevasses on Hadley’s north glacier (Hadley Glacier)

Looking over Hadley Glacier towards the beautiful Mt. Shuksan

Looking over Hadley Glacier towards the beautiful Mt. Shuksan

Finally getting close to our objective

Finally getting close to our objective

Ascending a loose gully

Ascending a loose gully

Looking sideway across the tedious slope

Looking sideway across the tedious slope

Partial summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Partial summit panorama. Click to view large size.

Cheam Range in the distance

Cheam Range in the distance

American Border Peak

American Border Peak

Mt. Rexford on left

Mt. Rexford on left

Mt. Redoubt at center

Mt. Redoubt at center

Mt. Shuksan

Mt. Shuksan

Mt. Blum on right;

Mt. Blum on right;

Some distant peaks by the North Cascades that I'm not familiar with

Some distant peaks by the North Cascades that I’m not familiar with

The N. Face of Mt. Baker

The N. Face of Mt. Baker

Mazama Glacier

Mazama Glacier

The upper Mazama Glacier

The upper Mazama Glacier

Surprisingly we were higher than the Twin Sisters

Surprisingly we were higher than the Twin Sisters

Looking towards the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland

Looking towards the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland

Me on the summit of Hadley Peak

Me on the summit of Hadley Peak

Another look at Mt. Shuksan

Another look at Mt. Shuksan

Another look at the North Cascades peaks

Another look at the North Cascades peaks

After taking hundreds of photos it’s time to head home… Going down the loose slope was easier and much faster and in short time we were back to the side-hill slog across the bumps on Chowder Ridge. On the return we stayed a little bit higher than necessary and had to deal with a bit more up-and-downs (with one optional down-climb). Descending the tricky step back to Chowder/Skyline Divide col was mostly snow-free now and didn’t impose any problem to us. None of us was looking forward to the slog back up to the highpoint on Skyline Divide, but with the views it didn’t seem to take that long, and once we picked up the well-traffic’d trail it’s a mere putting one foot in front of another back to the parking lot. Hordes of hikers were going up for the moon view I assume.

Simon descending from the summit

Simon descending from the summit

Back to the ridge traverse

Back to the ridge traverse

More of the ridge

More of the ridge

Panorama from Chowder Ridge. Click to view large size.

Panorama from Chowder Ridge. Click to view large size.

Panorama from just before dropping to Skyline Divide. Click to view large size.

Panorama from just before dropping to Skyline Divide. Click to view large size.

Looking back towards Chowder Ridge and our objective

Looking back towards Chowder Ridge and our objective

Lincoln Peak is another sub-peak of Mt. Baker, but looks terribly hard...

Lincoln Peak is another sub-peak of Mt. Baker, but looks terribly hard…

This section was bone dry now

This section was bone dry now

Traverse around a harder step

Traverse around a harder step

Back to the Skyline Divide traverse

Back to the Skyline Divide traverse

Looking back towards Mt. Baker

Looking back towards Mt. Baker

Colfax Peak and Lincoln Peak and Coleman Glacier

Colfax Peak and Lincoln Peak and Coleman Glacier

Hadley Peak and Hadley Glacier

Hadley Peak and Hadley Glacier

Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker

Mt. Shuksan

Mt. Shuksan

Looking over Church Mountain

Looking over Church Mountain

Could also see the Ocean!!

Could also see the Ocean!!

One last look before entering the forest

One last look before entering the forest

Our round trip time was just under 8 hours and we were moving reasonably fast throughout the trip, and overall I’d highly recommend this objective for the excellent views it offers. The downside was the delays by Sumas border crossing (which took nearly 1 hour)… I ended up not getting back home till pretty much 9 pm, and with a bit of last-minute preparation it’s time to focus on my next objective

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