Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Sahale Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier

Sharkfin and Sahale success. 3 flat tires.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Road was open to Cascade Pass. Creek crossings were easy. Continuous snow to access the glacier. Gully on Sharkfin was crux, as expected, but went with minimal shenanigans. Sahale via QS is in perfect shape.

We left the Boston Basin TH a bit after 6:30am on Friday. In 2.5hr we were dropping packs at the lower bivy in Boston Basin. The trail is in it's usual shape (worse slide alder down low, open up high) and all the creek crossings were easy.

From camp we picked our way up towards the glacier, steering climber's left on slabs with minimal snow crossings. At the highest possible rocks we roped up for the short approach to Sharkfin Tower. At the (correct) gully, we noted a snow bridge giving access to the gully that has about two weeks (or less) left. Since the gully was quite loose and class 4ish I led a short (30m) pitch that gave way to scramble terrain, with 3 followers on a cow's tail. The scrambling after this (unroped) was wet and not super pleasant, but was over quick enough. From there we made our way to the base of Sharkfin tower on easy snow and a bit of loose rock near the notch.

Sharkfin tower was great. Two pitches of solid and enjoyable rock at a low grade followed by a traversing pitch which I fixed at both ends (full 60m) and the team traversed with a prussik and a backup. To get down we reversed the traverse (I downled), one rappel (suggest rapping closer to the fall line off the west side of the ridge, then scramble to base of p2) and a short third rap brought us back to our packs.

On the way back to camp we were able to take continuous snow down to almost level with camp. We were late and the sun was setting on the longest days of the year.

We left camp at 620am on day 2, now knowing the fastest way to gain the glacier: hard left from camp and then continuous snow all the way to the glacier. Crampons made travel quick. We roped up and made good progress across the glacier. Access to Boston-Sahale col was easy; we carried crampons and ice axes (used) to the base of the Sahale scramble; we left the rope at the col.

The scramble up Sahale was easy and fun. I used a cordellete to fix a handline (two cams) for the move to pull onto the summit, since it's potentially a big move to down climb in boots. As I was pulling the move to the top I thought "Is someone making coffee up there?" It turns out someone was smoking on top! Takes all types I guess. Reversing the route went by without event and we were back into camp around 1230pm.

The hike out was cruiser. The creek crossings were all simple, even in the later part of the day.

On the drive down the Cascade River Road, we hit a big rock and got a flat tire. The other car in our group stopped, about one minute behind us. As they helped with our car, it was noted that one of their tires was leaking and about to go flat. Both cars limped down the rest of the Cascade River Road on donuts, and slowly made their way back to Bellingham. Upon returning to the in-town meetup spot, it was noted that there was a third flat tire waiting on one of the vehicles there! Luckily, my car was spared by the curse (they come in 3's right?) and I was home a bit after 7pm.