Boston Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier
07/20/13 - 07/21/13
Stephen J. Bobick
Ash Way P&R
8,894’, Grade II+ Basic Glacier
Reference & Data • • • •
- Jurisdiction: North Cascades National Park
- Ranger Station: Marblemount Ranger Station / 360-873-4500
- Equipment: Ice axe, crampons, standard glacier travel gear, small alpine rack, 50m single rope.
- USGS Maps: Cascade Pass
- Other Map: North Cascades National Park Complex.
- Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide II, 3rd ed., pp 330-331
- Time, Elevation gain/loss, Mileage
- Seattle to TH 2.5 hrs
- TH to Camp 2-3 hrs +3,200’ ~4
- Camp to Summit 7-9 hrs +2,500’ ~1.5
- Summit to Cars 4-5 hrs -5,700’ ~5.5
Approach • • • • • • • • • • •Drive I-5 N, take exit 232 (Cook Road) at Burlington, turning east to Sedro Wooley and State Route 20. Continue 47 miles to Marblemount for trip permits for Boston Basin Zone at Park Ranger Station. Continue to the Boston Basin TH and park (limited parking) 3,200' Hike the Bostom Basin Trail for approximately 3 miles into Boston Basin. On a warm day the stream into the basin may be full and difficult to cross. Leave early in the day to make the crossing safer. If it is too full to cross, one can ascend the moraine about 600 feet to a flat area where the crossing is safer. Camp on snow or slabs at established sites at about 6400'.
Climbing Route • • • • •From camp continue on climber's left towards the left side of Sharkfin Tower. Rope up around 6700'. Make a rising traverse near the cliffs below Sharkfin to a flat portion of the Quien Sabe glacier. Pick a line up the steeper portion of the glacier avoiding crevasses. Later season, it is usually best to traverse to climber's right to end run the bergschrund, then cut up and left above the bergschrund up to the Boston-Sahale col. Unrope at the col, coiling ropes. Follow the ridge towards Boston Peak. The ridge is initially flat, then widens onto loose rock. Stay on the right, generally following right on the crest. The ridge steepens, widens, then narrows to a knife edge (exposed class 3-4). At the high point of the ridge you will see the false summit ahead of you. Make some class 4 moves down and follow a trail along the edge of the cliff to the right (E) which leads around the false summit. You may find cairns marking this route. After about 100 feet you'll suddenly come into sight of the Boston Glacier and the summit pyramid of Boston Peak. Cross the glacier above the bergschrund (about 200'), and attain a small ledge on the left just before the summit block. There may be a moat here, but usually it is manageable. Note rappel slings above you on the S Face of Boston. Climb up a few feet to a wide, downsloping ledge covered in loose stones, and follow it around the E side of Boston for about 100-200' to its end. Build an anchor here and rope up for the first technical rock pitch. Follow the rock up, trending to climber's right on a series of ledges covered in small rocks and sand. After about a half a rope length, the easiest line starts to trend left. Setup a belay here. Lead up and left less than 1/2 a rope length, up a wide chimney and encounter the crux: either a wide offwidth crack straight ahead or a rib to the right. Climb one of these features to attain the ridge, and set up a belay. The third pitch is just an exposed scramble (class 3-4). Belay from here to the summit placing one or two pieces.
Descent • • • • • • • • • • •Rappel the S Face with either 3 50m rappels or a short rappel and a 60m rappel.
Comments • • • • • • • • •This is a serious climb. It is best suited for strong students and experienced leaders. The climb is more reasonable as a 2-day trip, but can be done as a very long day with a car camp. Consider limiting the party size to 4. Note this climb can qualify for either a Basic Glacier or Basic Rock credit.
Day climb of Boston. Extremely strenuous outing.