Mount Shuksan is one of the most heavily photographed mountains in the world. I can't recall any mountain calendar from the Northwest that has escaped its image. The photos are often taken from near the Mount Baker ski resort at the end of SR542. They depict its rugged Northwest side -- hanging glaciers and steep rock faces. However, there is a bit of deceit involved. There is a relatively easy route up the south side of Shuksan (the Sulfide Glacier) that would rank in line with the South Spur on Adams if it were better known.
Perhaps it's the relatively low elevation that keeps this mountain of the checklist of the average climber. However, its modest elevation provides some of the best climbing and skiing in the state. Climbers are not faced with sickening altitude and are left to focus on the technical difficulties and the beautiful scenery that surrounds. The North Cascades National Park was established in 1968 and extends its border to include Mount Shuksan and the surrounding area. Mount Baker keeps a watchful eye to the West.
Our first experience with Shuksan came while skiing Mount Baker resort during the first winter of my college years. I was overwhelmed by the enormous alpine region and its proximity to the resort. We made several attempts to climb Shuksan during the winter via its West Face. This proved to be long and cumbersome. We nicknamed the mountain "Sucksan" after several failed attempts. Our feud with Shuksan was put to rest after climbing the Sulfide Glacier during the spring and skiing off the top in perfect conditions. This was obviously the "easy" route to the top and it remains on our annual hit list. The area surrounding the Mount Baker ski resort keeps us content during the winter but I'm sure we'll make another attempt at Shuksan's West Face. The North Face has been calling for some time now and we hope to explore its deceit soon. Donít let your calendar fool you.