Mount Ann is the commonly accepted name of a 5,840-foot backcountry high point in the Mount Baker Wilderness Area just outside of North Cascades National Park. Almost centrally situated between Mount Baker to the southwest and Mount Shuksan on the northeast, the open summit grants astounding views of each, in addition to views of Baker Lake sprawled out just a few miles to the south. Because of its proximity to the Mount Baker Ski Area, Mount Ann makes for the ideal winter outing and is most popular as a backcountry skiing and snowshoeing destination, although enjoyable ascents can be carried out year-round.
The climb begins in the ski area's upper parking lot (which is also where you can find the Bagley Lakes and Wild Goose trailheads). You begin by following curving snowcat tracks for a quick 400-foot climb to Austin Pass at 4,700 feet. Wave your goodbyes to the folks taking it easy on the chairlifts before making your 1-mile, 700-foot descent down into the Swift Creek Valley, where Mount Baker, Shuksan and Ann all make their first appearances. Continue into the forest for a lengthy southeast traverse with one or two manageable creek crossings and minimal elevation change. Upon exiting the tree cover, the remainder of the route up into Mount Ann's northern basin is clearly visible. In the summer months when there is no snow cover, this will be near the Lake Ann/Swift Creek Trail junction. After gaining the ridge crest east of the summit, make your final ascent up the block and behold the magnificent 360-degree views!
Note: Always make sure to check weather and avalanche reports when traveling in the backcountry.