Route: North side (snowshoe)


TR #: 112
TR #: 180

Category: Washington (SR 542)       Summit Elev: 5,860 ft        Rock Type: Sedimentary

Partner (Dec 2011): Brian Walkenhauer     Partner (Jan 2015): Sue Abegg

An athletic day of snowshoeing to the top of a peaklet positioned between Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. And again three years later with my mom for our traditional New Years Day snowshoe adventure.

On the summit of Mt. Ann, with the rugged walls of Mt. Shuksan behind (taken on the December 2011 trip).

This page contains two trip reports for a snowshoe adventure to the top of Mt. Ann.

December 2011 Trip Report
Athletic snowshoe to the top of a peaklet at Mt. Baker Ski Area.

The Route

As winter 2011 neared and the North Cascades began to put on their gleaming white coats, I had been able to get out and enjoy a series of Saturday adventures. Although unintended, over the last few weekends each subsequent summit had progressed northward, from Evergreen (HWY 2) to Vesper (Mountain Loop Highway) to Ruby (HWY 20). It had been a great mix of snow-capped views. Now that it was the last weekend before winter officially began, it made sense to head northward one final notch. The destination: Mt. Ann near the Mount Baker Ski area (Hwy 542).

Mt. Ann is the widely accepted toponym for an unofficially named outlier summit located a few miles south of Shuksan Arm. Positioned between Mt. Shuksan and Mount Baker, the views (If you can see them of course) are some of the best to be had. Mt. Ann can be climbed year-round. In winter it's an excellent day-trip ski or snowshoe tour, especially considering its proximity to Mt. Baker Ski Area. It is most commonly approached from the north (i.e. from the ski area), but there is also a trail up the south side from Baker Lake. Note that the slopes of Mt. Ann have some avalanche potential, so it should only be climbed when the conditions are stable.

Shortly before sunrise, Brian and I arrived at the upper parking lot (4270') of the Mt. Baker Ski area. We strapped on snowshoes, and off we went, heading towards Austin Pass (4770'). The route descends the south side of the pass for about 800 vertical feet before making a long traverse southeastward. This section brought back memories of approaching the Fisher Chimneys route on Mt. Shuksan with my sister Jenny in late June of 2006. In fact, the ice axe that I had brought with me for Mt. Ann was the very axe that I had found near the summit of Mt. Shuksan; it had never been claimed, although I still hold out hopes that someday I will learn the story behind this climber-less axe.

At about 3 miles from the car (at about the location of the buried junction with the Swift Creek Trail) we turned southward and headed towards Mt. Ann's north basin. The 5860' summit is clearly visible on the right. We headed for the ridge to the east of the summit, removing and reputting our snowshoes a few times as we dealt with a fascinating mix of snow conditions. There was even some ice on the windy ridge. At 11:06, just under 4 hours since leaving the car, we were on the summit! It was pretty windy, so we didn't hang out too long before heading back down. The heavy snow was more conducive to sticking then glissading, so we just booted it down, enjoying a peek-a-boo Shuksan show as we descended.

Mt. Ann is a great choice for a weather-change a day like we had. It was a good day. After all, any day spent in the mountains is a good day.

A map showing our GPS track for the route is given above.


Roundtrip distance: 9.4 miles (according to my GPS)
Elevation gain: 3200’ (500 feet from car to Austin Pass + 1900 ft from Swift Creek to summit + 800 feet back to pass on return)
Ascent: 3 hours 56 min; On Summit: 14 min; Descent: 3 hours 6 min; Total car-to-car: 7 hours 16 min
  • 5:30 am: Met in Sedro-Woolley
  • 7:00 am: Arrived at upper parking lot at Mt. Baker Ski area (4270')
  • 7:10 am: Started snowshoeing
  • 7:40 am: Reached Austin Pass (4770')
  • 7:55 am: Sunrise
  • 11:06 am: Summit (5860')
  • 11:20 am: Began descent
  • 2:26 pm: Arrived at car
  • 4:11 pm: Sunset

January 2015 Trip Report
New Years Day snowshoe with my mom.

Over the years, it's become a family tradition to go snowshoeing on New Years Day. Growing up in Abbostford, British Columbia, the Mount Baker Ski Area just across the US-Canada border was a mere 1 hour 20 minutes from my doorstep (if the border traffic was light). Nestled between Mounts Shuksan and Baker and providing access to several backcountry areas on its perimeter, the ski area is a backcountry skiers' and snowshoers' paradise. My parents still live in Abbotsford, but I had moved to the south side of the border for grad school, and as of 2015 I teach math at Western Washington University in Bellingham. My doorstep was now located 5 min further from Mount Baker Ski Area than my parents' doorstep in Abbotsford, but without the unpredictable border waits; so the Mount Baker Ski Area has remained my go-to snowshoe destination, and has also became a convenient place to meet up with my parents for a day in the mountains. 

So when New Years Day 2015 rolled around with a great forecast and stable snow conditions, I proposed a jaunt up Mt. Ann. Only my mom was able to join this year, but she was eager to do so. We had a great day. Nearly 65 years old, my mom is one of the few people who can keep up with me. Almost. =) 


Roundtrip distance: 9.4 miles (or so)
Elevation gain: 3200' (500 feet from car to Austin Pass + 1900 ft from Swift Creek to summit + 800 feet back to pass on return)
Ascent: 3 hours 55 minOn Summit: 1 hourDescent: 3 hours 25 min; Total car-to-car: 8 hours 20 min
  • 6:50 am: Met in Maple Falls
  • 7:45 am: Arrived at upper parking lot at Mt. Baker Ski area (4270')
  • 8:00 am: Sunrise
  • 8:03 am: Started snowshoeing
  • 8:40 am: Reached Austin Pass (4770')
  • 11:58 am: Summit (5860')
  • 1:00 pm: Began descent
  • 4:22 pm: Sunset
  • 4:25 pm: Arrived at car