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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Ruth Mountain & Icy Peak Traverse

Great one-day glacier climb, perfect conditions and weather window. More snow on the route than usual made for easy travel.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Road to trailhead had a few potholes but was passable by all cars. Most of our group camped overnight at the trailhead: there are several nice, level sites and the bathroom was open. 

    Trail to Hannegan Pass is snow-free until about 4,700. Snow bridges on the trail are melting fast: we crossed them carefully, one person at a time, in the morning and even more carefully in the afternoon (several had collapsed or were visibly thinner):

    ruth_snowbridge.jpg Excellent snow coverage after Hannegan Pass. The infamous gully was now just a snow slope, making for easy travel up and down:

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Several of us drove to the trailhead and camped the night before the climb. Some tented, others slept in cars and were terrorized by resident mice. Beware! 

Our whole group met at 7am and started hiking at 7:30am. Perfect temperatures and excellent views made for a pleasant hike to Hannegan Pass. I love how Ruth can be seen early on from this trail: 

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Snow bridges were the main hazard on this trail, and we probed them carefully on the way up and especially down, after several had thinned out or even collapsed. After a lengthy break at Hannegan Pass, we were delighted to find that the infamous gully was completely snow-covered. In fact, the entire route had good snow coverage from here on, and we took turns leading the group and kicking steps in the perfect consistency snow: 

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We roped up at about 6,000ft on a patch of rocks, and made short work of the glacier ahead, arriving at the summit around 2pm. We enjoyed a typical gorgeous North Cascades day:

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Rope teams started heading down at 3pm; Hannegan Pass at 5pm, plunge stepping the whole way; cars at 7:15pm. 

Ruth Mountain has been called "a long drive for a short walk," especially if you don't traverse over to Icy, but it is also a straightforward, pleasant, very doable one-day glacier climb in a gorgeous area, and a great plan B if you don't have the weather window for a longer trip. 

Many thanks to my mentor Jan for his guidance; Ben R for assisting; and the whole team for their flexibility and good spirits. Special congratulations to Mike for getting his graduation glacier climb!