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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Sharkfin Tower & Sahale Peak

Combo climb with strong group of climbers.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Quien Sabe Glacier broken but quite navigable. Sharkfin approach free of snow once off the glacier.

Jordon organized the trip, coordinated the logistics, and secured the permit (getting to the Ranger station the night before!) Great job!

Started from Cascade Road at 6:30AM. Hiked up past lower camp in the woods for a camp on the rocks by pretty stream at 10:00 AM (elevation 6400 feet). Set up tent, got ready, and noticed showers coming in. So we changed our plan, heading up the direct route to Sahale at 11AM. Hopped over some loose rocks, crossed a few streams, and got on snow at noon.  Visibility pretty much gone by this time, so leader was using GPS to navigate as best as he could. The track kept going straight over crevasses, so quite a bit of circumvention was necessary. However, the route was direct up the glacier, so that we were at the col sometime after 1:30PM. Scrambled onto the ridge, went over short section of snow, and then summit by 2PM. No visibility except for occasional peeks of Boston. Back at the col and headed back down at 3:30. Chose to follow boot tracks of those who came up Quien Sabe to checkout Sharkfin approach and to avoid a steep descent. Got under the cloud layer and was below Sharkfin by around 4PM. Confirmed the approach gully, locating the rap slings around prominent horn. Return to camp by 5:30 after hopping over a lot of rocks.

Woke up the next day to blue skies. Headed out shortly after 7, and found it easier to just go up on slabby rock - good friction. Base of Sharkfin by 8:20. Dropped a few steps into the moat to cross over to the rock gully, and headed up. Very loose. Roped up at the U-shaped col to east of Sharkfin and headed up at 9:30. Despite the guidebook description, the first pitch around the corner felt harder than 5.0 with tricky moves and big steps. Onto the triangle face, where ridge and gully to its left was followed to the top. From there, a scramble along the face, and then up blocks to the summit at noon. Very airy all the way. Gorgeous view of all the peaks. Rappelled partially from the summit and got the rope stuck. Took some effort to free it from the flake. Probably better for last person to downclimb on belay instead. Two more clean rappels down to the notch, then downclimb of loose section to get back to the gully. We chose to climb down to the last rappel station, though we went past the rappel set up dropping into to the top part of the gully. Last rappel down straight onto snow a bit past 4, at which point it started to drizzle. Descent took as much if not more time as the climb itself.

Quick hike back out to the camp, packed up and started descent at 5:30. With wet rock, the nice friction slabs turned into slippery slides. Careful down climbing was required, with a number of us slipping and landing on our bottoms a few times. Next time, don't camp at a site in middle of slabs and streams even if the scenery is gorgeous... Back to the cars at 8:30, in the dark.

Good strong team made for an enjoyable outing.