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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Sahale Peak/Quien Sabe Glacier

Excellent trip with a stong group. The nice weather was a benefit and a curse as the snow quality deteriorated for a summit push.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Note:  The road is closed at mile marker 20 (Eldorado trailhead), which adds an extra two miles to get to the start of the Boston basin trail (and is 3.2 miles from cascade pass parking lot).

We were planning for a one day push from the Boston basin trial head and return from the Sahale arm.  Due to the road closure, we drove out Saturday afternoon and hiked into the trail head and set up camp there. 

We started hiking at 3:40AM.  The trial was easy to follow and snow started right at the tree line.  Route finding was easy as there were no crevasses to navigate and we had a clear day with visibility.  We did have to kick steps as no other teams were on the route; all rope leaders helped out!  The snow was in good shape for most of the climb as its in the shade.  We made it to the notch just below the summit in about 7 hours.   This is where things got interesting.  On the ridge the sun was out and it was hot so the snow started to lose its integrity.  I led the first section.  There were cornices on one side, steep rock/snow exposure on the other and in the middle was a narrow strip of angled rock with 1-2 feet of soft snow breaking up.   There wasn’t enough quality snow to get my ice axe consistently in or make good steps without hitting rock with my crampons.  I placed a few pickets for protection where I could, but was not optimistic they would hold due to how soft the now was.  When i got to the top of that section I looked at the summit block up close which was much the same and called it there.  It looked like more mixed climbing with bad snow and hard to protect.  I also didn't want the students down climbing the section i just did if we didn’t attempt the summit block.   (The student behind me did really well following up part of this section).  The condition made it much more difficult than a basic climb should be.   I think if it was later in the season and a rock scramble it would have been fine, or if it was colder out and the snow quality better we would have made it.

We had a good stroll back to the trailhead.  We ran into another team attempting Forbidden that turned around for a similar reason.

Bummer we didn’t summit, but 100% happy with the call and overall a great trip.  We did see some bears at a distance!

I did give the glacier credit since we traveled the entire glacier portion twice :-)