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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Sahale Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier

A two day climb of Sahale/Quien Sabe Glacier with perfect weather.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The washout on Cascade River Rd has been repaired. The trail is rough but easy to follow.  There is still some snow around the lower Boston Basin camp.  There is still excellent snow coverage on the glacier and relatively few open crevasses.  Watch out for cornices on the ridge between Boston Peak and Sahale Peak.

    Sahale 2.jpg

We met at the Marblemount Ranger Station at 9am to borrow bear canisters before driving up to the Boston Basin trailhead.  The washed out section of road has been repaired and the entire way is open even for most low clearance vehicles.  Parking is limited but, arriving just before 10am on a Monday, there was more than enough space for us.Sahale 4.jpg

This trail is not maintained and is a bit overgrown at places (especially the first half) but easy to follow.  There are several stream crossings but, with some nimble footwork, we were all able to stay dry. We arrived at the lower Boston Camp a little before 2pm.

We decided to follow the more direct and steep route on the climber’s right side of Quien Sabe Glacier and started from camp at 5:40am on Tuesday.  We crossed the stream just above camp and made our way mostly on snow up to the glacier.  The snow had been quite soft the previous afternoon but hardened up nicely overnight. Giving excellent traction with crampons on.  There seems to be a little more snow than usual for this time of year so relatively few crevasses are open yet.  The direct route is certainly a steep climb, but with the excellent snow coverage, it was not technically difficult.  The snow was too hard for kicking steps and I did find that my ankles were a bit sore from so much French foot technique on such a steep slope so it was a relief when the two routes converged and we could use some of the steps made by previous climbers.  We reached the saddle between Boston and Sahale about 9:30am.Sahale 3.jpg

There was only a little exposed rock between the saddle and the summit block.  Most of the ridge traverse is corniced so it is important to stay back from the edge.  We didn’t take off our crampons until the final scramble up the summit block.  I set up a hand line for it, but I don’t think anyone in the group found it to be a particularly difficult scramble.  We were all on the summit by about 10:10am.  There was hardly a cloud in the sky or any haziness so the 360 degree view was spectacular!

A 30 meter rope was adequate for the rappel off the summit.  We used a running belay to descend the steepest portion of the summit traverse, but that was mostly out of a desire to practice it.  The snow is steep though so a fall there could be pretty bad.

We descended Quien Sabe Glacier by the less steep route.  There have been a couple recent avalanches near the cliffs below Boston Peak.  It seems likely that they occurred last week when there was some warm wet weather.  The snow remained firm until we came into the rocky area below the glacier and even then it was only the surface that was soft.  I forgot the exact time but we arrived back in camp about 12:45pm.  After breaking camp we started down the trail at 1:45.

It was a great two day climb with perfect weather!Sahale 1.jpg