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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Superb climb with perfect weather.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Route is in excellent shape, very easy to follow assuming decent visibility.  Should stay in good shape for a while.  As noted in other reports the approach trail is closed July 27 to August 3. 

Three day climb Saturday-Monday.  We got incredibly lucky with weather.  Friday (according to another climber who gave up a summit attempt Saturday) featured horizontal rain.  Saturday was a whiteout high up but cool weather low for our approach.  Sunday then featured the crystal clear skies you only get right after a storm.  Sunday afternoon after we descended some clouds started moving in, but Monday stayed mostly clear.

We had a very strong group.  Started from the trailhead Saturday at about 10am, and arrived at the 6400 foot basin 7 hours later.  The basin was fogged in but there was enough visibility to explore.  Very cold and windy at the ridge but the basin was sheltered and quite pleasant.  Other groups had set up camp but there were other free flat dirt islands in the snow and plenty of room for everyone.  No need for shovels or to melt snow--we had a nice stream right next to our island.  There are also excellent camp sites at 6700 feet and 7200 feet but they are more exposed to wind, and my preference is to carry the full pack as little as possible.  I'd consider even camping at White Pass since we had so much free time at the end of our summit day and it would make the hike out shorter.  That's also a spectacular location.

Summit day we got up at 5am just when it started getting light and started off a little after 5:30.  Perfect clear skies.  The biggest objective hazard is the rockfall area at the traverse from about 8400 feet to the col at 9200 feet.  No crevasses there so we didn't rope up and moved through quickly.  There was some rockfall when we were going up but none reached the climber's path.  We roped up at the col but there were already crevasses there so better to rope up just below at a flattish area near a rock island--we unroped on the way down there.

Just a couple very thin crevasses on the boot path up Cool Glacier--easy to step over.  We didn't use crampons the entire trip since there was such a good boot path and the snow was never terribly hard, but they should certainly be carried just in case.

We unroped at the top of the Cool Glacier at the pumice ridge and scrambled up from there.  5.5 hours from camp to summit, on the summit for about 40 minutes and 3 members of our group also went up Disappointment Peak.  About 3:50 back to camp for a 10 hour day.

Monday we got up again at 5am and left a bit after 6am to avoid the heat and beat the rush hour traffic.  Everyone was back to the trailhead at 11am, and the descent stayed cool although there were mosquitoes at the trailhead.

 

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