Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Successful climb on Glacier Peak Labor Day weekend with good weather in general. Glacier passable with snow bridges starting to look sketchy. Efficient team made fairly good time.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Long approach but good trail (some wore approach shoes). No snow until glacier. Some river crossings and boulder field hopping. 

Friday: Met at the trailhead at 9pm for intros, orientation, and group gear distribution.

Saturday: Walking at 6 am with mild weather and cloudy skies. Made it White Pass for lunch after a rest and water fill up at the old Mackinaw shelter site. Beautiful meadows with many late flowers and loads of blue berries. Saw one bear on the slopes below (probably feasting on berries as well). Continued around Foam Creek area and down and up the gulley to the heather saddle then into the boulder fields. Braided rivers made for some interesting crossing with approach shoes giving way to boots to run through the streams. While heading to Glacier Gap a rain squall soaked everyone quickly, causing us to stop below Glacier Gap next to a small silty glacier tarn to set up tents in the sand. Temperatures dropped (7,000 ft elevation) necessitating everyone to scramble into tents for dry clothes and prepare warm food. Made camp at around 6 pm and sleeping around 8 pm with mist and wind. Later we were told that up on Glacier Gap was very windy and no water available, so made a good choice to stay lower at the tarn.

Sunday: Walking at 5 am under clear starry skies with many parties also heading up in headlamps. Sunrise while heading up the edge of the glacier. Roped up and went up the first glacier avoiding the boulders and smaller crevasses all on hard bare glacial ice. Crossing onto the Cool glacier was interesting with large bulges and cracks to negotiate along with hard water ice. Getting across the Cool glacier up to the pumice ridge was also interesting snaking our way through a system of parallel crevasses with numerous snow bridges that may not be there in a few weeks. All of us were amazed at the number of parties crossing the bridges un-roped. Leaving ropes and other gear, went up the pumice ridge to the summit around 10 am with clear weather. Stayed on the summit for about 45 minutes then back to camp at 3 pm. Weather deteriorated on the way down with clouds enveloping the summit and the rest of the day remaining fairly chilly. Packed up and left at 430 pm to move closer to the trailhead heading for the “heather saddle.” Made it through the braided rivers, through the boulder fields and to the saddle around 630 pm. Fortunately some of the team members stopped to fill up all their water systems so we had enough water on the dry saddle. Nice to sleep in the heather after the annoying sand by the tarn.


Monday: Walking at 630 am after a beautiful sunrise and views of the peak during breakfast. With Jerry leading the way down in a brisk pace (and me taking pictures of flowers in the back), made it to the Trailhead around noon. After a short debrief we headed to the Burger Barn in Darrington with outside picnic tables, cool drinks and great onion rings, and beautiful sunshine. Great trip with some great team members.