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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

A fabulous reunion trip for the Cokus/Shih SIG

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail is in great condition. The glacier had perhaps four very small crevasses that were easily stepped over. The summit block is mainly gravel with one short steep snow portion that was soft and easily navigated in the huge pre-kicked bucket steps. We used crampons but saw many with none or only micro-spikes moving quite happily. 

We arrived to the packed parking lot around 8am on Saturday and were on the trail by 8:30. The intermittent showers and low-hanging clouds kept the ascent nice and cool. The flowers were out in abundance! Also in abundance were dozens of climbers beating a speedy retreat after being turned around by miserable 40-50mph winds in the alpine that morning; we were quite happy we had adjusted our dates to the finer weather forecast.20190727_131914.jpgWith a number of short stops along the way we hit the intersection of the Foam Trail at approx. 2:30pm. 

We headed up the trail with our trusty Costco-sized bag of potato chips coated in long-traveled Himalayan sea salt with our eyes peeled for the left-hand turn up the climber's trail. IMG_20190727_145216.jpg

Unfortunately both the clouds and a misleading GPX track  convinced us to head for a different saddle than the one  normally taken (though surely we were not the first through this saddle as footsteps and cairns were to be found). We scrambled up a slope of heather and came through a snow-filled saddle to scramble back down into the basin through fields of lupine.GlacierPeakJuly2019 015.JPG

We arrived at low camp around 6300' at approx. 4:30pm, found enough gravel spots to pitch our tents and endured the cold winds long enough to eat before retreating into our tents.

The next morning after dusting the mouse droppings off our belongings (bring rodent-proof bags!) we had a leisurely hot breakfast at 5:00am and set off on the climb around 6:15am. We passed many higher camps (definitely recommend camping up around 6800', so many beautiful lakes and views up there) and followed an easy to follow trail, hitting Glacier Gap at 8:30am.20190728_085515.jpg

We put on our harnesses and crampons and hit the snow around 10am and roped up around 8200' around one hour later. There was significant rockfall on route, but we stayed low enough to avoid the rather awe inspiring chunks of mountain falling in thunderous roars with resultant giant clouds of dust. We stepped over possibly four small crevasses, the largest of which was perhaps a hopping step.By 12:30 we were back unroped and hitting the summit scramble. At 1:30 we were basking in glory on top eating summit chocolate. 

 

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The descent was uneventfully awe-inspiringly beautiful and we were back to calm sunny camp by 7:00pm to attempt finishing two pounds of chips, a feat to be celebrated in itself.

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The next morning we had a leisurely departure time of 9:15am. We went over the traditional saddle (if we had just stayed on the Foam Trail a while longer on Saturday it would have been so obvious!) and followed the obvious bootpack all the way back to the car, arriving at around 3:15pm. A lovely trip by all soaked in sunshine and the perfume of Sitka Valerian!