Rainy Pass | North Cascades
3.79 miles, roundtrip
(This is from what we recorded on a Garmin Fenix 6x)
Gain: 1167 ft.
Highest Point: 5865 ft.
We have a love/hate relationship with Rainy Pass. It provides access to some amazing backcountry touring areas, but it can be a pain to get to the good slopes. You have to tour through the forest first, and depending on how brutal the winter was, you could have blowdowns and branches to deal with.
That being said, once you get out to the open, there are so many different lines you can chose from! It is a backcountry paradise for those dedicated to longer touring days.
First off you have to make sure that Highway 2 is open, which is usually cleared by the end of April. If it is open, then you are parking on the side of the road and heading west towards Lake Ann.
There are a couple ways to go. You can follow the summer route for Heather Maple Pass, but that leads into a steep bowl area that can be a pain to tour across. Or you can make your way to the creek that flows out of Lake Ann, being careful not to fall through any hidden snowbridges into the water.
We usually opt for the creek passage.
At about 1.5 miles, the trees will start to thin out and you can finally see what you are dealing with. Lake Ann will be in front of you, and may be partially frozen. The bowl around it and above can be fun to ride, but the sides more exposed to the sun will melt out quickly. Or if you want to put in some work, head north over the ridge and make your way towards Black Peak.
This is where your adventure is up to you. There are very few wrong options, and every year you do it gives you something new to try. Explore, have fun, and be safe out there!
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Practicing LNT Principles, and Giving Back
We really want to encourage everyone to practice LNT principles when they explore these beautiful places. We spent years trying to minimize social impact on these locations, but the cat is out of the bag and these places are easy to find online. So it is our mission to share more about ways to keep these places as pristine as possible.
We also donate 3% of all our profits to organizations supporting the outdoors and working hard to keep these areas protected and safe.