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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Kololo Peaks/White Chuck Glacier

Foul weather and poor visibility be d*amned! We made the summit!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We did not find it necessary to rope up for ascending the N. Guardian Glacier. YMMV as the snow melts throughout the season. Crampons, helmet and ice ax were essential, however. 

The 13-mile approach was pretty brutal in the hot weather. It took us 8 hours to reach our 6600' camp. From White Pass, it looks like Foam Pass isn't all that far away.  Just when we thought we'd gotten to "Foam Pass," though, we discovered we had to descend a couple hundred feet, traverse, and then climb up again. At Foam Pass, we thought all we had to do was drop down to our tarn to camp, but there were two more down and ups to get there. Soul sucking!

Camp was busy - lots of folks looking to climb Kololo's big brother Glacier Peak. We found just enough space at 6600' for our tents and bivy sacks. Water was plentiful and easy to come by. Lots of snow melt run-off was collecting in little tarn-lets everywhere. We at a hot meal and watched the weather roll in. By the time we retired for the night, clouds had enveloped Glacier Peak and the west summit of Kololo Peaks.

When we woke, the weather had not improved. Despite calls for going back to bed for a half hour to see if it would improve, we set off at 5 a.m. up the mighty White Chuck Glacier. The clouds came and went, giving us peek-a-boo views of our route. At about 7200', we exited the glacial cirque left and up a large snow ramp to attain the shoulder west of the summit and continued eastward on more snow in a sub-cirque of the mountain. At about 7800' we crossed over a rocky band and traversed on snow on the east side of the ridge extending NNW of Kololo's west summit. 

The west summit is marked on the map as the "summit," but our research had shown that the summit immediately to the NE was actually about 60' higher, so off we went. We descended scree on the south side of the summit about 50', walked over to the notch between the two summits, and headed back up to the true summit, climbing 2nd class rock to reach it. 

By the time we got to the summit, the wind was howling. Rime ice was forming on the little plants and rock. We snapped a hasty summit picture and made tracks for camp. 

Back at camp, we enjoyed a "proper" cup of tea, packed up and headed out. The descent was unmemorable and long...

TH to Camp: 8 hours
Camp to Summit: 2 hours
Summit to Camp: 1.5 hours
Camp to TH: 7 hours