WELCOME Pass (Pt. 5933)
Route: Welcome Pass Trail (snowshoe)

TR #: 278

Category: Washington (SR 542)       High Point Elev: 5,933 ft       Rock Type: Argillite, Sandstone

Partners: Matt Burton, Brett Dyson, Barbara Eller, Eric Johnson, Elle Mclees, Tom Nanevicz, Ira Rushwald, Carla Schauble, Tristan Vellema, Izzy

Gorgeous winter day in the Cascades.

Approaching Point 5933 (Brett and Tom on top). (Peaks: Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, Larrabee.)


Welcome Pass sits on High Divide, an alpine ridge that runs east-west for miles of wide-open views of the terrain north of Mounts Baker and Shuksan. Only a few miles and a few thousand feet off SR 542, Welcome Pass can be accessed any time of year. This area provides multiple options for spectacular scenic roaming. It is especially spectacular in the winter, surrounded by gleaming snow-encrusted Cascades.

On this brilliant winter day, our army of 11 chose to head northeast from Welcome Pass to Point 5933 (aka "Keep Kool Butte"), a highpoint on the end of the ridge about 1.5 miles from Welcome Pass. It was a gorgeous day to be out and snow conditions were perfect for quick and easy snowshoe travel. It was hard to believe we were the only group up there.

The following page gives a map, our time stats, and some photos.


Total trip (from GPS track): ~9.3 miles, ~4100 ft gain/loss, ~8 hours (car to car time, includes lots of breaks)
  • 7:57 AM : Sun rises
  • 8:40 AM : ~2,000 FT : Mt. Baker HWY turnoff to Road 3060 
  • 9:00 AM : ~2,400 FT : Welcome Pass summer trailhead 
  • 11:26 AM : ~5,200 FT : Welcome Pass 
  • 12:40 PM : 5,743 FT : Pt. 5743
  • 1:12-1:42 PM : 5,933 FT : Pt. 5933
  • 4:29 PM : ~2,000 FT : Car
  • 4:38 PM : Sun sets


"Park at junction of SR 542 (Mt. Baker HWY) and Road 3060.  Road 3060 is not plowed, and is about 0.7 miles hike up the road to the summer trailhead. Road 3060 is at approximately milepost 45.8 on the north side of the highway. There is a plowed-out parking area on the opposite (south) side of the highway, with space for about five cars."
This photo was taken at the beginning of Road 3060 just off SR 542. It looks like Tom and Eric are about to get into a heated round of rock-paper-scissors over whether to put on snowshoes or not.... =)

(None of us put on snowshoes. 200 feet further the road was completely bare and the snow did not become continuous again until about 3500 ft.)
At the Welcome Pass summer trailhead, about 0.7 miles from the highway.
We hit continuous snow around 3500 ft, shortly after the trail started to switchback steeply uphill. This was a pretty high snow line for this time of year. The trail stays in the forest most of the way to Welcome Pass, so this trip can be a good choice when slope stability is a concern.
Heading NE off Welcome Pass, towards Points 5743 and 5933 (5743 is on the way to 5933).
Beautiful high ridge on the way to 5743.
Looking towards 5933 from the top of 5743. The actual top of 5933 is out of view.
Between 5743 and 5933.
Izzy, who did about twice as much mileage as any of us.
Approaching 5933. In the distance are Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, and Larrabee. Tom and Brett are on the top of 5933.
Tom and Brett on top of 5933. Larrabee behind.
Some of the group on top of 5933. Mount Baker behind.
View from the top of 5933, looking down towards Yellow Aster Lakes. In distance are Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, and Larrabee.
Closer up view of Canadian Border Peak and American Border Peak.
Closer up view of Larrabee.
A view to the east towards Mt. Sefrit (center), Icy (right), and Pickets (distance left).
Eric, somewhere between 5933 and 5743. Mount Baker in distance.
Heading back, somewhere between 5933 and 5743. 
Matt, somewhere between 5933 and 5743. 
Snow snails
    aka snow donuts
        aka pinwheels
            aka SnoNuts
                aka Death donuts
                    aka snow rollers
                        aka storm troopers
                            aka Yodels
                                aka ...
(a warning sign, indicating that the surface is heat-softened and could slide; however, in this case, they were left over from previous days, and nothing was moving on the day we were there)
Snow snails/donuts/pinwheels/nuts/rollers/troopers.
Ira and Barb on the rolling ridge between 5743 and Welcome Pass. You can just make out the summit of Shuksan in the distance.
Ira and Barb on the rolling ridge between 5743 and Welcome Pass. Mount Baker dominates the view.
Heading down towards Welcome Pass. In the distance is Point 5854, on the NE side of Welcome Pass (this is another possible destination from the Pass).
Izzy enjoying some snowball fun. Shuksan in distance.
Continuing down towards Welcome Pass. 
Our small army descending towards Welcome Pass and the treeline. What a glorious day it had been!

For more eye-candy, see Matt's trip report on nwhikers.com.