Pickets Books



Jim Nelson & Peter Potterfield – Selected Climbs in The Cascades. Luna Peak p. 197. “With a hard approach and a 3rd-class route on mediocre rock, the climb of Luna Peak has little to recommend it except the setting and the view – a view into what is probably the most rugged alpine wilderness in the Lower 48. Highest of the remote, almost mythical Picket Range, Luna Peak is not actually a part of either the McMillan Creek Cirque wall (the Southern Pickets) or the Luna Creek Cirque (the Northern Pickets). Instead, Luna Peak is the high point on the ridge dividing the two impressive cirques, thereby affording a view into both the Northern and Southern Pickets that is unmatched by any other vantage point. Luna is a truly fantastic view peak.”

Jim Nelson & Peter Potterfield – Selected Climbs in The Cascades Volume II. Mount Fury p. 201. “But the pilgrim pays a price for a spectacular finish: bushwhacking, potentially dangerous river crossing, lots of exposure on steep heather and snow, and sheer distance over rugged terrain await the climber on this complicated way onto the southeast glacier. As well as any, this route serves as a metaphor for classic Cascades alpine climbing, unique in the Lower 48, where an unavoidably heavy pack emphasizes the steep slopes and lengthens the miles, but the whole package is sufficient reward unto itself.” (This is the one that talks about using crampons on steep heather.)

RW Tabor & DF Crowder – Routes and Rocks in The Mt. Challenger Quadrangle. (The last good book published by The Mountaineers according to Craig Rowley.) Luna Lake Traverse p. 32, Wiley Lake high route p. 39, Luna Peak High Route p. 41. “The arcuate moraine crossed in Luna Cirque is one of the most perfect in the North Cascades. The flattish area behind the moraine dam and above the small lake is underlain by stagnant glacial ice protected from melting by a layer of rock debris.”

Fred Beckey – Cascade Alpine Guide, Rainy Pass to Fraser River. Picket Range overview pp. 94 – 98. sketch map p. 95. Mt. Fury p. 111, Luna Peak p. 115, Mt. Challenger p. 119, Big Beaver Creek Trail p. 385

Fred Beckey –AAC Cascade and Olympic Mountains Climber’s Guide. Overview p. 269, approach and Mt. Fury p. 272, Luna & Mt. Challenger p. 275. “A third route to the northern Pickets begins at Ross Dam with a trail along Ross Lake and up Big Beaver Creek. This route is not recommended because of severe brush-fighting along the Big Beaver (Luna) Creek. A less difficult alternative is to travel cross country W. along the divide from Beaver Pass to the Challenger Glacier.” (Tabor & Crowder point out that the Big Beaver Creek trail wasn’t open until 1967.)

Fred Beckey – Challenge of the North Cascades. Ten Days in the Pickets p. 115. First Ascents of Crooked Thumb and Phantom, second ascent of Challenger and Fury. “After the worst imaginable struggle with flies, devil’s club, willows, and alder on the bottom of the valley flood plain, exhausted by a 3-mile struggle against brush, logs and marsh, we arrived at the Big Beaver trail about 1:30. Our only remaining food was oatmeal and orange concentrate. We ate the oatmeal dry, without sugar.”

Fred Darvill – Hiking the North Cascades. Big Beaver – Whatcom Pass p. 127. (Note that this is the Sierra Club 1982 version – the trail is not included in the more recent edition.) “An upward scramble east from the Beaver Pass camp allows views of the craggy, icy Luna Cirque, seen from the bare slopes above camp better than from the trail.”

Marge & Ted Mueller – Exploring Washington’s Wild Areas. North Cascades National Park Complex p. 73, Big Beaver Trail p. 84, Pickets p. 92. “The North Cascades National Park encompasses some of the wildest, most rugged, and untracked terrain in the Cascade Range. Although there are nominally 390 miles of maintained trails in the park, this figure is somewhat misleading, as most individual trails are quite long, and vast stretches of the park are accessible only by cross-country travel, much of which requires mountaineering skills. Multiday mini-expeditions are required to reach many of these remote areas.”

Mike Woodmansee – Trekking Washington. Hannegan, Whatcom and Beaver Passes p. 80, color relief map p. 81. “From Beaver Pass Camp, trek up the trail-less sidehill to the East (behind camp), climbing several hundred feet to seek an opening in the vegetative canopy providing a view into the spectacularly wild reality of Luna Cirque. It is impossible to exaggerate the stunning beauty of Luna Cirque, certainly one of the most magnificent views in the Cascades, what with Challenger, Crooked Thumb, Ghost, Phantom and Fury forming a wall of mountains that define the cirque. Looking down, the wild valleys of the Pickets offer some of the most unvisited land in the world – their jungles as impenetrable as those of the Amazon.”

Ira Spring & Harvey Manning – 100 Hikes in Washington’s North Cascades National Park Region. Beaver Loop p. 103, Whatcom Pass p. 56. “An hour or three should be allowed here for an easy off-trail sidetrip. Pick a way easterly and upward from the shelter, gaining 500-1000 feet through forest and brush to any of several open slopes that give a staggering look into rough-and-icy Luna Cirque; the higher the climb the better the view.”

Allan May – Up and Down the North Cascades National Park. Big Beaver Trail p. 83, Henry Custer on seeing the Challenger Glacier from Whatcom Pass p. 18, peaks and glaciers p. 35. “The well-kept big Beaver Trail quickly takes you to the huge beaver ponds that give the drainage its name. The dams may be 150 years old. The ponds, interesting in themselves, also are a window through the forest to the valley’s peaks.”