Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Shuksan/Sulphide Glacier

Successful summit via Sulphide Glacier and SE Ridge.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
    • Sulphide Glacier was very mellow due to early season conditions; didn’t see any open crevasses. 
    • Gully on the summit pyramid had a large snow field at the base and several more patches of steep, exposed snow higher in the gully. The snow was hard in the morning.
    • SE Ridge was completely snow free and mostly 3rd/4th class except for two short ~5.7 sections.

Approach day: Our group of six set off from the Shannon Ridge trailhead around 10am. The trail presented some short sections of bushwhacking due to numerous blowdowns along the ridge. There was constant snow from around 4000 ft. By 4pm, we arrived at the high camp on the ridge at 6400 ft elevation. Running water from snowmelt was accessible on the ridge crest near camp.

Summit day: We started our ascent up the glacier at 2:45am and reached the base of the summit pyramid around 5:30am. Snow conditions in the gully were not suitable for a Basic Climb, so we decided to attempt the SE Ridge instead. The ridge is mostly 3rd and 4th class except for two short ~5.7 sections. The first crux was gaining the ridge from the snow at the base of the pyramid; it required a couple of awkward smearing moves that felt insecure in climbing boots. I fixed a rope to protect this section for the rest of the team. The rest of the ridge is pretty straight forward but at times very exposed. Therefore, we continued to fix ropes for the whole way to the summit, in total four ~60m rope lengths. We leapfrogged the ropes which made this somewhat efficient. For protection we had six cams (.2 through #1) which, in addition to natural protection via slung horns or blocks, was just adequate. The route mostly stays on the ridge crest and drops to the right side of the ridge in the middle and near the top.  Also near the middle is another ~5.7 move that cannot be avoided due to the ridge narrowing at that point. The whole team made it to the summit at 10:20am. After a short summit break we started scrambling down the rappel station on the left side of the gully (climber’s left). We did one double 60m rope rappel to the rock island in the middle of the gully. After waiting for some other parties we did two more single 60m rapells which brought us onto the large snow field near the base of the pyramid. This snow field is steep and exposed but the snow was softer at that point, allowing safe down climbing to the base without crampons. At the base we roped up for glacier travel again and started heading back to camp at 4pm; we reached camp at 5:30pm. We took a short break and packed up camp before starting hiking down around 7pm and made it back to the cars just before dark around 10pm.


On the ridge.






Near the summit.