Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Sahale Peak via Sahale Arm Trail and Cascade Pass (Sahale Glacier out and back)

Out and back day trip to the summit via Sahale Glacier!

  • Road rough but passable
  • Road is passable by the average sedan. Saw multiple Prius/Corolla/Civic type vehicles at the trailhead. Lots of washboarding in first mile after paved road ends. Much of road is not too bad but there are a few potholes to watch out and slow down for. Trailhead parking fills up early but if you are arriving the night before, very high chance of spots still being open.




Late season conditions on Quien Sabe had us a little concerned and multiple people who had done it in the past week recommended we stick to Sahale Glacier so that's what we did.

2am start from Cascade Pass Trailhead. Ascended up the switchbacks and roped up at the base of Sahale Glacier. One party of 4 was camped at Sahale Glacier Camp. Fantastic toilet with a view! We did not see any others on the way up. Plenty of flowing water at the camp as well as at the base of the glacier. 


Sahale Glacier is has multiple large crevasses and is covered in gullies where ice has melted and water has flowed down, making it difficult to discern where actual crevasse danger is. 



We decided to go up and to climber's right, climbing diagonally up the gullies which were icy but could be gripped well by our crampons. Ice axes could barely stab into ice so this was a no-fall zone. We took small steps and felt that the traction was good enough that we did not need to place any ice screws. The steepest portion actually was not very long. Some long horizontal crevasses are apparent in the middle of the glacier so we went far to climber's right to navigate around the largest one that was wide open and had no snow bridges in the middle of the glacier. 

We unroped, changed back into approach shoes, and stashed glacier gear at the rocks immediately after the glacier. Then, hiked up to the ridge on climber's right and then veered climbers left toward the summit. Summit felt like 5.0 max, closer to 4th class moves. Some folks wore climbing approach shoes and others wore trail runners, which did not seem to make any difference. Lots of solid hand holds and foot ledges. We scrambled up this unroped and made it to the summit at 9am, then descended by rappelling off the established slings and rappel ring at the summit. One 60m rope as a double strand rappel (30m) got us to the second belay station, another sling and locking carabiner that looked pretty new. Second rappel got us to the ground where we then hiked back to where we stashed our stuff and started descending. 



On the descent we first went skiers left (climber's right) the way we came and then moved toward skier's right, following the boot path of another party that had come up after us. This path turned out to be fine as well, though we did have to jump over two crevasses. Most of the snow bridges felt sturdy but two crevasses had soft snow that someone had poked holes through with their axe so to be safe we jumped over them. Many of the spots we thought were crevasses were actually iced over and quite solid with no give, but had looked like openings from afar. Some areas had flowing water underneath but the majority of the steep section was doable with just taking careful steps. 



Once we got back to the rocks at the base of the glacier it was just a downhill hike from there. Spotted a large black bear on the Sahale Arm trail. No goat sightings today. 


Lots of day hikers were coming up while we were descending. Be prepared for a crowded descent. 

All in all a fun glacier climb that felt pretty safe and had spectacular views.