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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Shuksan/Sulphide Glacier

A walk through the clouds

  • Road rough but passable
  • The drive in is full of potholes. Our sedan almost bottomed out a couple of times. Trail is snow free (but full of mud) until after the park entrance. Consistent snow from ~5500 feet upwards. Summit pyramid scramble was ~200 ft steep snow and 400 ft scrambling. Some snow in gulley still. There is a single crevasse that needs to be crossed at ~7800 ft.

Day 1:

  • 0830 Permits at Sedro-Woolley
  • 1030 Start hike in
  • 1330 Reach camp at 6400 ft

Day 2:

  • 0300 Get up
  • 0500 Roll out
  • 0730 Base of summit block
  • 0930 Summit
  • 1215 Back down the summit block
  • 1315 Back to camp
  • 1400 Out of camp
  • 1630 Back at cars

The weather forecast called for less than half an inch of rain of Sunday and clear skies Monday. We decided that was an acceptable amount of rain and brought extra clothes for the situation.  When we set out from the parking lot the skies were overcast and the brush was very wet. There is a lot of mud everywhere as well.

We reached high camp at 6400 ft in short time. We were the only party at the camp. At that point we were in the clouds and were treated to a heavy mist, which quickly became rain. Some of us managed to collect a bit of rainwater, but it was still quicker to melt snow at that point. We retreated into our tents quickly enough to not get completely soaked through. I spent the rest of the night drying my clothes with body heat. 

Later in the evening, with no visibility in sight, we made the decision to re-evaluate the conditions at 3am. If visibility was okay and precipitation was low we would make an attempt. We decided on a later wake up time as we did not want to potentially navigate through a whiteout in the dark. Since the chance of rain the next day was 40% for later in the morning we didn't get our hopes too high. I enjoyed another few hours of sitting doing nothing.

The weather pulled through and we awoke to clear skies with the clouds below us. Still, we took our time getting ready and eventually set out at 5am. After two hours on the glacier we saw another party come up the Fisher Chimneys. There was a nice bootpack all the way to the summit block, which crosses a crevasse at ~7800 ft. Since the other party went up the SW ridge, we had the route all to ourselves.

We climbed up steep snow for ~200 ft to the base of a rock ledge below a gully on the summit block. From there it was another 400 feet of scrambling on solid rock and some snow to the summit.

After the previous group left, 3 30m rappels brought us to the ledge where we began. Anchors were cordelettes slung over rocks.

We made it down to camp quite quickly where we were greeted by another cloud. After 30 mins of packing in the whiteout, conditions cleared up for hike down. We passed maybe 15 people on the way down, including another Mountaineers party coming up.

All in all, the weekend was good.

PC: Julia Syi

 

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