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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Long approach, but worth the effort!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trails are in fine condition. The off-trail travel is pretty straightforward. I do recommend camping as far north in the White Chuck Basin as possible; it's a long trudge to the foot of the cleaver! No crevasses to dodge except a couple of narrow ones when getting onto the Cool Glacier.

Day one - Sloan Creek Campground to camp in southern White Chuck Basin. Day two - Finished approach, climbed peak via Gerdine/Cool Glaciers. Day three - Hiked out. Lots of green meadows and wildflowers, especially Sitka valerian, mountain bistort, and yellow paintbrush. Marmots are getting tame.

This is no longer lonely backcountry, as it was when I visited the area last in 1996. The Foam Creek trail has been extended by climber's boots to White Chuck Basin and campsites are appearing throughout the basin. We saw at least 50 other climbers, including four other parties on the route. Write the Forest Service, folks, and ask them to replace the Milk Creek Bridge, washed away in 2003, providing at least one alternative route to the south side and, thus, less impact in White Chuck Basin.

The White Chuck Glacier has shrunk to maybe 10% of its 1980s size. In 1973, when I climbed the Vista Glacier/Rabbit Ears route, the summit had a glacial cap; this has all melted away to reveal the crater. Climate change is very real...