Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Glacier Peak via the Disappointment Peak Cleaver is a Grade I glacier climb.

getting there

Take the Mountain Loop Highway from either Darrington or Granite Falls to Forest Road 49, about 7 mi south of Barlow Pass. Travel 6.5 mi on this road until reaching Sloan Creek Campground (pit toilet available). The elevation here is about 2100 ft.


From Sloan Creek Campground, follow Trail 649 along the North Fork Sauk River. After 5.5 mi, reach the Mackinaw Shelter. Camping is possible here, but not recommended for a 3 day climb. Continue on Trail No. 649, which soon begins switch backing for about 2,500 ft gain. Some water may be available here from snowmelt in numerous spots. Continue on the trail which does a rising traverse to White Pass, intersecting the Pacific Crest Trail just prior to the pass. Early season you may need to break your own trail here.

At White Pass look for the Foam Creek trail and follow it as it does an ascending traverse under White Mountain to below the eastern-most col along the ridge above you on climber's left. Leave the trail and head up to the col at about 6,600 ft.

At the col you will get your first views of Glacier Peak. Head down the slope about 400 ft traversing to the right. Continue onto low angle terrain up to the edge of the White Chuck Glacier at about 6,700 ft. Numerous campsites are available here on flat snow and among rock islands. Look for possible nearby water sources.


Traverse northward across the White Chuck Glacier for some time on low-angled terrain. If you camped on climber's right of the glacier, you are likely to ascent just above glacial lakes on your left. You can either follow low angle terrain that arcs slowly to the right, or you can find steeper snow/rock bands (loose, class 2) that will get you to a col adjoining the edge of the Suiattle Glacier (7,300 ft). From here descend about 100 ft or so to flat ground and cross it to the nose of the Disappointment Cleaver.

When melted out there is an obvious climber's trail on the right side of the cleaver. Ascend it until you get close to where it steepens, and drop to the snow (about 8,600 ft). Make a rising traverse on the glacier to the right under Disappointment Peak, avoiding obvious rock fall in this area, then arc up and left to steepening snow slopes to the col adjoining the Cool Glacier at 9,100 ft. Ascend the Cool Glacier to the 9600 ft col above Disappointment Peak. Continue north-northwest on snow or pumice slopes up and left until an obvious, moderate slope that leads north straight up to the summit ridge (final 200-300 ft).


Descend the climbing route.


SEGMENT TIME (hR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT) Elevation Loss (FT) Distance (MI)
Seattle to Trailhead 2.5
Trailhead to Camp 7-10 5,000 400 10.5
Camp to Summit 5-7 3,800 6.5
Summit to Camp 4-5 3,800 6.5
Camp to Trailhead 6-7 400 5,000 10.5


Standard glacier equipment.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
  • Length: 33.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 8,200 ft
  • 10,520 ft
  • USGS Glacier Peak West
  • USGS Glacier Peak East

Upcoming Activities

Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
Glacier Peak via the Disappointment Peak Cleaver is a Grade I glacier climb.
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Aug 2, 2019 - Sun, Aug 4, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 0 leaders
Registration opens Jun 1
Tacoma Branch
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