Copper Ridge/Chilliwack River Backpack

North Cascades National Park

September 5th-9th, 2008

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*Roy McCormick
*Mike Baum

Trip Report: I had decided a North Cascades trip would be ideal for this year's backpack. Mike picked me up at SeaTac airport on Friday morning and we drove to the little town of Glacier for lunch and backcountry permits. The start of the hike was not looking encouraging. Despite clear forecasts we started from Hannegan Trailhead at 1415 under leaden skies and light drizzle. The first night's damp stay at Boundary camp was over 3 miles short of our intended destination at Silesia. This made for an epic 15 mile second day and a stern lecture about sticking to your permitted itinerary from a ranger. Oh well, at least the weather was improving.

By day three the weather was crystal clear and the evening views from Whatcom Camp were spectacular. We even saw and heard several icefalls from the Challenger Glacier. The morning of day four included a scramble up to Tapto lakes with even better views of the North Cascades. This was really turning out to be a stellar trip.

On day five after our friendly encounter with "Bounder the Black Bear" we took a 1 mile, 1000' side trip climb up Hannegan Peak to take in some of the Copper Ridge sights that we had missed on the first two days. I would highly recommend this well graded trail to a former lookout site. Photos don't do the view justice.

For a good description of this excellent clockwise loop see "Backpacking Washington" by Douglas Lorain pages 72-79.

Until the next adventure, Happy trails... -Roy

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Actual GPS Tracks on Topo map:

Day 1
(5.0 miles) 
Day 2
(14.8 miles)
Day 3
(6.0 miles)
Day 4
(9.8 miles)
Day 5
9.5 miles)

Trip analysis by Garmin    North Cascades Custom Weather Page

Hannegan Pass Trailhead 

 About 5 miles into the hike we entered the park The first night was at Boundary Camp at the head of the Chilliwack River 
Typical North Cascades weather Nice View! (mb) Egg Lake on Copper Ridge
We met Mary on Copper Ridge   She does a lot of hiking/backpacking in Washington

Pink Fireweed 

 Indian Paintbrush  Columbine
 Subalpine Daisy Lupine  Copper Ridge Lookout 


 Copper Lake  Mike at Copper Lake

With the weather clearing we could see up to Canada. The lake at the end of the valley is Chilliwack Lake in BC

Chilliwack River ford and spawning Kokanee. (mb) Indian Creek Camp 

Indian Creek suspension bridge  (mb)

 Land of BIG trees  Some Fall color

Clear weather for the climb to Whatcom Pass 

 Mt Whatcom  Mt Challenger

Spectacular Icefall from Challenger Glacier   Note the first quarter Moon over Mt Challenger  Evening light

Alpine Meadow next to Whatcom Camp Day four we hiked up to Tapto lakes (mb)  View of the lakes
One of almost uncountable cascades   To cross the Chilliwack on day four we used a hand operated cable car "Rustic" Bridge
""Bounder" the Black Bear was quite shy (mb) From Hannegan Peak I took some time to ID the mountains. (mb) Mt Shuksan from Hannegan Peak (mb)

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"Bounder" Video

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