Sahale Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier

An excellent route and experience, with 3,200 feet of gain up a glacier, then a 100 feet class 4 rock scramble. Boston Basin/Cascade Pass area is renown for its alpine environment. Most parties report using crampons. Times: 2-3 hr trailhead to camp, 4-6 hr camp to summit.

getting there

Take I-5 to just north of Mount Vernon, then go east on SR 20 (North Cascades Highway) to Marblemount. Sign in at Ranger Station and get permit. Continue east on Cascade River Road about 21.7 mi to the old Diamond Mine Road (fork in road about 1.5 mi from the end of Cascade River Road, 3,220 ft). There is limited parking at the fork.


From the fork, walk about 1 mi on the old mine road to where the trail leaves the road sharply right and steeply up. Follow this steep, well worn, and obvious trail to Boston Basin. Camp in Boston Basin (6,200 ft).


There are two ascent routes.

The easier route follows the left side of the Quien Sabe Glacier to the top of the left side then traverses right along the base of the rock face below Sharkfin Tower. Continue traversing until the Glacier begins to steepen toward the Col.

The alternate ascent is significantly shorter and much more direct. Scramble from camp to the right side of the Glacier. Work through the crevasses of the lower section of the glacier (up to 45° and very exposed).

The two ascent routes merge about half way up the Quien Sabe Glacier to the Boston-Sahale Col. From the col traverse right to the summit. Take ice ax and crampons for short but exposed snow traverse on Col to summit block. Scramble loose rock to summit (class 3).


Descend via the easier climbing route.


Trailhead to Camp 2-3 3,180
Camp to Summit 4-6 2,600
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 2


Standard glacier gear-fluke or picket in early season, screws in late season. A small rock rack for the summit may be useful.


  • The direct route is a lot shorter on the ascent but is only for experienced climbers who do not mind some exposure.
  • This climb can be done as one long day (12-14 hr) but best done as two days to avoid a late return.
  • This is an excellent late season climb.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 3, Technical 2
  • Elevation Gain: 5,780 ft
  • 8,680 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
    Stephen Mather Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Green Trails Cascade Pass No. 80
  • USGS Cascade Pass

Upcoming Activities

Glacier Climb - Sahale Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier

Climbing Trip
Peter's yearly Sahale 1 day climb via the Quien Sabe. Mentor Lead for Matt K
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 3, Technical 2
Sat, Aug 3, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 0 leaders
Registration opens Jul 20
Seattle Branch
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