Post subject: Wa Volcano Cirque Completion Glacier Peak
Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:53 pm
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm Posts: 529
Glacier Peak is the most isolated volcano within the whole Cascade Range and gets little attention compared to its larger brothers. Earlier in the season I had made a goal to summit and ski all five volcanoes in Washington State realizing that the biggest challenge was going to be Glacier with an approach of at least 35 miles. Earlier in the Season I had spoken with somewhat knowledgeable about the area and he said that the road was closed because of flooding causing an extra few miles. Well after doing some research I found that the extra few miles was 6.5 each way making the total trip 48 miles.
The plan was to start Thursday night directly after work and get as far up the trail as possible before night fall. The team consisted of two people Skier Dan (crstlextrm from TGR) and myself and we planned on summiting and being back in less then 72 hours.
This was the final volcano in my goal to summit all five and it was going to be by far the longest slog with over 50 pounds on our backs on a trail that had not been maintained for at least a year.
After getting off work and meeting Dan in downtown Seattle we left immediately for the Mountain Loop Highway which is officially open. We arrived at the road closure for the trailhead a little bit before 6:00. After packing we were off on the abandoned road at around 6:30 hiking as fast as we could until putting up camp in the darkness of 10:00pm. We decided to make camp at a spot which had both a flat spot and water this was the base of Red Creek we traveled 10.5 miles that day.
Our Only view of the Day Sloan Peak at sunset from the North Fork Sauk Trail
Red Creeks Passing had been destroyed by the floods of 06 so we were going to have to find our own way across. The river was strong so wadding was not an option but we found a few unstable logs and hastily made our way across the creek.
The Sketchy Creek Crossing
Some areas of the trail were overgrow with wetland vegetation (Devils Club) causing our speed to slowdown.
The Dense forest we had to Bushwhack through
After hanging out at Mackinaw shelter for a few minutes we were on our way up the switchbacks towards White Pass which had a total of 27 switchbacks and a few spots littered in avi debris.
I have a feeling an avalanche went through here.
The traverse through alpine to White Pass
The contrast of Green and White at White Pass
From White Pass we were going to have to traverse NE through some snow fingers to access a low saddle.
Traversing Across the Basin.
Once on top of the Saddle we finally got our first view of the objective Glacier Peak
Now we needed to find a snow finger that connect to the Basin below so we traversed the steep ridge for a little while.
Looking towards red pass
Once we found some good coverage Dan switched over to ski gear and dropped in the White chuck Basin.
We hiked up the basin for around a mile to a high point offering 360 degree views, Dry ground and running water, when offered the choice I prefer not to sleep on Snow.
The Views were amazing especially of this Steep Green Peak
We watched the Sunset over the Cascade Range and were resting for the summit day by 10:00 pm.
Sunset to the South with Rainier in the Distance
More amazing Sunset shots
Total Distance Day 2 9.5 Miles
The Next morning we watch the sunrise while making breakfast before our push to the Summit.
Sunrise Alpenglow on Rainier
We were off for the Summit around 6:30 making a steady pass though the White chuck Glacier Basin.
Standing on the Suiattle Glacier looking up the Exposed ridge to Disappointment Peak
Climbing the easy grade on the ridge towards Disappointment.
Looking west towards one of the Steep Drainages off of Glacier
Getting onto the Suiattle Glacier to traverse over to the Cool Glacier saddle.
Traversing the Suiattle Glacier.
The Low Saddle that connects the Cool and Suiattle Glaciers.
Once on the Cool glacier we had to deal with Crevasses so we traversed to were the snow bridges looked safest and made our way up to the saddle of Disappointment and Glacier Peak.
Dan Ascending the Cool Glacier.
Climbing the ridge from the Saddle with the bergshrund in plain View.
Looking South from around 10,000 feet.
The last part of the push up to the summit required climbing up a steep couloir for about 400 vertical feet.
Our climbing routes in the sun, on the right side while our ski decent on the left side.
Climbing the Final Push up to the Summit.
Dan enjoying the View from on top of Glacier Peak.
Myself standing on the High Point of Glacier Peak Completing the last of the Five Volcanoes
Looking North towards Baker and the North Cascades.
Looking South Towards our climbing Route.
The Skiing was not going to be continuous but we were able to find a nice chute that dropped over a thousand feet from the summit before we would have to traverse over to the cool glacier.
Dan Scoping the Ski line.
Then Climbing down into in.
And now what we were here to do The Ski down Glacier Peak.
Dropping the Chute from the Summit (this is snow pack not a glacier)
Dan Entering the open Face
Myself Ripping down the Chute.
Onto the Open slopes
Then we had to boot pack over to the Cool Glacier from the Saddle between Disappointment and Glacier Peak.
Riding Down the cool Glacier.
Over to the Suiattle Glacier.
Dan Looking back at our lines on The Suiattle.
Instead of hiking through the flat White chuck Glacier Basin we decided to traverse the ridge up the North Facing Suiattle Glacier and find a nice spot to Ride the white chuck all the way back to base camp. After some navigating we found a good drop in spot that would lead us right back to camp.
Looking into the White chuck Glacier Basin.
Our Best view of the climbing route on Glacier Peak from the top of the Suiattle Glacier.
Dan Skiing the Upper White Chuck Glacier.
Myself skiing a chute that accesses the Lower white Chuck Glacier.
Riding down the lower White Chuck Glacier.
We made it back to camp a little bit after 4 and decided to rest preparing our bodies for the long slog back home the next day.
Total Distance Day 3 8.5 miles
We woke up around 5:30 got our gear situated and were moving by 6:30 it was going to be difficult so we made small objectives of getting to areas within a certain time.
Heading out of the White Chuck Glacier basin
On the saddle looking towards white pass.
Dan skiing a ways down a finger before our traverse on the Goat trail over to White Pass.
Dan Taking a quick lap on White pass next to the Wild flowers.
Its trail the rest of the way back.
The Final Day was exhausting we traveled 20.5 miles back to the car through steep snow fields across steep fingers of snow, Switchbacks and 11 miles of flat valleys crossing over more then a hundred Trees. The Trail is in okay condition With only 3 avi debris fields you have to deal with that went all the way to the river. Some spots are overgrown mainly in Wet Marsh areas and the road is Easy travels.
Total Distance 48 miles
I now leave with a photo of each volcano and my favorite Ascent/Descent Pics from Each Trip.
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:51 pm Posts: 219 Location: Park City
That's HUGE!!! Congrats!!!!
Great Pics and Posts - way to set it and get it
Glacier doesn't get near the respect it deserves.
My lady and I witnessed some of the '06 flood damage last fall on the PCT - NASTY!!! and flooding again this year? I can't imagine traversing some of those washouts with a splitty and winter gear - and your short time of it demands some respect - you're a tough ship!!!!