Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

No surprises on this strenuous 3-day climb of an iconic wilderness volcano: just a lot of hiking!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail was 99.9% snow free up to White Pass.  From there it was a little bit of snow getting up to Glacier Meadows.  Route was in prime condition with only one crevasse to step over and plenty of snow on the upper mountain.

Fantastic three-day climb featured a lot of ground covered.  Easy hiking through shady forest for the first 5 miles, then the long , character-building grade up to White Pass.  From there its another couple of miles, first on trail then on a climbers trail and snow to Glacier Meadows.  

We camped on a bare, rocky island in a sea of snow at ~6600 feet.  


Awoke at 330am to dense fog enshrouding the upper mountain.  Hung around until 5am in order to be able to see how extensive the cloud cover was and try to determine how nasty the weather was on the upper mountain.  Acting on a hunch that we would likely climb above the clouds (still had ~4000' to climb), we went for it.

We followed the footprints in the snow up over several rocky benches and several parties camping to Glacier Gap where some rather unfortunate climbers were trying to keep their tents from blowing away.  Through the gap and on up the snow to 8400' where we roped up and started traversing the glacier in a white-out on a N-NE heading.  Using altimeter + map + compass (with a couple of backup Gaia smartphones as well) we negotiated the glacier around the shoulder of Disappointment Peak to the base of a very windy scree slope.   Here I had a small fright as I stepped on a snow-bridge and it collapsed into a crevasse -- I chose to go around.

Unroping at this location, we continued to climb carrying a rope with us for the upper snow slopes.  We were one of the first groups up the mountain.  Visibility did indeed improve as we negotiated the scree to the base of a snow field, then up the snow to the summit.  As we summited I looked south to see the distant form of Mt. Rainier!  The hunch had been correct, we were above a sea of clouds.

Lunch on the summit, then the long reversal of course in better visibility to the tents.  We were back at the tents by 4pm, for a 11-hour round trip.  

The route finding proved easy, the route itself was in great shape, the only issue with this climb is it requires a lot of hiking.  Fitness is necessary!  Certainly on par with Rainier or Olympus in the amount of physical effort, but a simpler climb overall i'd say.  

Also quite popular on a gorgeous weekend in July -- I estimated that at least 50 summited on the Saturday we were there.

The next day we hiked out.  Cold beverages awaited in the river calling to me as I put one foot in front of the other, down down down to the cars.  I think we were back by about 2pm.

Another great trip with the Mountaineers! 

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