Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

A strenuous glacier climb to the top of a sprawling massif in the heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Climb Glacier Peak by the Disappointment Peak Cleaver and/or Kololo Peaks by by the White Chuck Glacier.

getting there

From Darrington, drive south on the Mountain Loop Highway. After about 10 miles the road turns to gravel. Follow the gravel road another 8 miles, then turn left onto Sloan Creek Road. Drive for 6.6 miles, take the left fork and continue a short distance to the North Fork Sauk River Trailhead (2,050 ft).

Approach

white pass

Hike the North Fork Sauk River Trail through old-growth forest approx. 3.5 mi to Red Creek, then anther 1.5 miles to the Mackinaw Shelter and good camping. Shortly after the shelter, the trail ascends steeply ~3 miles to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (6,000 ft). Turn right, and hike 0.25 mile to White Pass (5,900 ft). Continue ENE on a boot path under the southeast side of White Mountain for ~1.3 miles to a high shoulder southeast of Point 6770 at the west edge of the Foam Creek drainage. Head northward to a pass at 6,600 ft and enjoy the first views of Glacier Peak. Head down the slope about 400 feet traversing to the right. Continue onto low angle terrain up to the edge of the White Chuck Glacier at ~6,700 ft. Numerous campsites are available here on flat snow and among rock islands, and a tarn at 6,433 ft.

Red Pass

Hike North Fork Sauk River Trail through old-growth forest approx. 3.5 mi to Red Creek, then anther 1.5 miles to the Mackinaw Shelter and good camping. Shortly after the shelter, the trail ascends steeply ~3 miles to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (6,000 ft). At the junction, turn left and hike 1.2 miles to Red Pass (6,500 ft). From here make a short detour up a boot path to the summit of Portal Peak (6,999 ft) for some outstanding views. Follow the Pacific Crest Trail as it descends east from Red Pass. Leave the trail at ~5,300 ft and head east until reaching the edge of the White Chuck Glacier at ~6,700 ft. Numerous campsites are available here on flat snow and among rock islands, and a tarn at 6,433 ft.

ASCENT ROUTE

Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver (10,520 ft)

33 miles round trip with 8,200 feet of elevation gain

Traverse northward across the White Chuck Glacier for some time on low-angled terrain. If camped on climber's right of the glacier, ascend just above glacial lakes on the left. Follow low angle terrain that arcs slowly to the right or climb steeper snow and rock bands (loose Class 2) that ascend to a col adjoining the edge of the Suiattle Glacier (7,300 ft). From here descend about ~100 feet 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 it steepens, and then descend to the snow (~8,600 ft). Climb a rising traverse on the glacier to the right under Disappointment Peak, avoiding rock fall in this area, then in an 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 9,600 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, a final 200-300 feet of climbing.

Kololo Peaks/White Chuck Glacier (8,197 ft)

25 miles round trip with 6,150 feet of elevation gain

From the tarn, hike up to the west side of the peak to ~6,800 ft where the once mighty White Chuck Glacier used to flow. The remnant White Chuck Glacier occupies the higher cirque. Keep left on talus and rubbly terrain (snow in early season), passing up through a couple of minor cliff bands (Class 2+). Pass the outlet of an ice-filled sub-cirque WNW of the summit and continue up slabs to ~7,700 ft just below the west summit. Climb directly up across a low-angle ice sheet (150 yards) to rock beyond. Climb to the west summit (Class 2) then descend below its south side on easy ledges and up to the true summit.

  • In late summer and early fall, this route can be done with little or no glacier travel.

DESCENT route

Descend the climbing route. Consider making the return a loop by hiking out the other other approach.

TRIP PROFILE

glacier Peak/disappointment peak cleaver

SEGMENT TIME (hR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT) Elevation Loss (FT) Distance (MI)
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

kololo peaks/White Chuck Glacier

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Trailhead to Camp 6-7 4,400
Camp to Summit 2-3 1,800
Summit to Trailhead 7-8

EQUIPMENT

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
Map
  • USGS Glacier Peak West
  • USGS Glacier Peak East
  • USGS Sloan Peak
  • Green Trails Mountain Loop Highway No. 111SX
  • Green Trails Glacier Peak No. 112
  • Trails Illustrated Glacier Peak Wilderness
Activities

Upcoming Activities



Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
3 day cascade classic!
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Thu, Jun 27, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
5 participants on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closed Jun 2
Tacoma Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
Glacier Peak is perhaps the most unique of the “Classic Summits,” the Cascade Range's lone
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Sat, Jun 29, 2019 - Mon, Jul 1, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
2 participants on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closes Jun 26
Kitsap Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier & Kololo Peaks

Climbing Trip
A beast of a climb for thoroughly conditioned climbers!
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Tue, Jul 2, 2019 - Thu, Jul 4, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closed Jun 1
Everett Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
Long, but moderately paced climb over 3 days. More info TBD
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Jul 5, 2019 - Sun, Jul 7, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 2 leaders
Canceled
Seattle Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
A long approach to an iconic peak!
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Sun, Jul 14, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
4 participants on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closes Jul 10
Seattle Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
A Cokus/Shih all womens reunion climb.
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Mon, Jul 29, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
1 participant on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closes Jul 23
Seattle Branch

Basic 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
2 participants on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration closes Jul 27
Tacoma Branch

Basic Alpine Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Climbing Trip
Five-Day Glacier Peak Climb - Olympia and Kitsap students have priority until June 25!
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Aug 9, 2019 - Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closes Aug 1
Olympia Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Kololo Peaks/White Chuck Glacier
  • Glacier & Kololo Peaks
  • Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver & Kololo Peaks/White Chuck Glacier
Resources

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