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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Dome Peak/Dome Glacier

A long approach in great weather and a summit day in the rain. Great camping at Cub Lake.

  • Road rough but passable
  • Suiattle River Road is paved for ten miles and then dirt for ten miles.  Lots of potholes on those last ten miles.

    Downey Creek trail is smooth sailing with no blowdown and good creek crossings.  Bachelor Creek trail has 60+ trees over the trail and long sections which are very overgrown but passable.

    Cub Lake has excellent camping and plenty of water in the basin.  Itswoot Ridge also has good camping and water but I don't see a large benefit to pushing camp up another 900' onto the ridge; it doesn't save a lot of time on summit day.

    The traverse through the basin after Itswoot Ridge is well-marked with cairns and it easy to follow even with reduced visibility.  

    The upper Dome glacier is very mellow and the transition to the col and then the Chickamin does not present problems.  There was one crevasse near the top of the Dome glacier which was easy to walk around.  Take the Chickamin around the summit block to the South side of the summit block for better access to the final rock scramble.  A handline on the last summit block is strongly encouraged.

We hiked in to camp in about nine hours on Friday.  The Downey Creek trail is fast and easy; there is a good log to cross before starting up the North side of Bachelor Creek.  The Bachelor Creek trail is steeper, has lots of blowdown, and can be hard to follow higher up.  We crossed over to the South side of the creek at 4000' on a good log.  I think some parties cross higher, around 4400', but we found decent trail after our crossing and I would recommend it.  The trail is very overgrown from 3800' to 4400' and we had to swim through the brush, often without a view of our feet, but the trail is always there and one simply has to be sure to stay on it.  Higher up we lost the trail a few times but always found it again after poking around for a minute.  There is a good camp in the forest at about 4500'.  Above 5200' there is a great climbers' tread through a beautiful meadow.  We crested a saddle at 5800' and then dropped down to Cub Lake at 5300' and made camp.  Other campers caught Rainbow Trout in the lake.  Sunshine and clear skies all day.

On Saturday we left camp shortly after 3 AM.  We gained Itswoot Ridge quickly.  We followed GPS tracks through the next basin and also found good cairns.  It started to rain very lightly and intermittently at 4 AM.  As we climbed higher the bouts of rain would last a little longer and would bring more rain.  We had almost no visibility for most of the day although when the clouds did lift a bit we took advantage of the opportunity to scout the route ahead.  The glacier crossing was quick and easy with one crevasse to circumvent.  Once we crossed over to the Chickamin the rain picked up and would not relent.  We stepped off onto the rock easily and climbed very easy sandy ledges of class 2 until we were about 40 yards and 20' vertical away from the summit.  We were very close and could see the top through the thick mist and we had an extra rope and rock pro, but we were also cold and wet at this point and the smart decision was to turn around and leave the final summit boulder for another day.  We walked back down, roped up again and started back to camp.  The rain finally stopped about an hour after turning around.  About seven hours camp to summit and about five hours summit to camp.  At camp we were able to dry out a bit as the weather had finally cleared.  Hot meals and an early bedtime followed.

We left camp at 5:30 on Sunday and hiked about eight hours to the cars, using the same creek crossings.  The weather was once again sunny and clear.