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Glacier Climb - Sloan Peak/Corkscrew Route

A very wet but successful climb, coming in from Bedal Creek.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Bedal Creek approach is going to be hard to recommend given the rough forest service road, overgrown hike trail, impossible to find climber's trail, and a lot of bushwacking required even on  those trails. We had difficulties finding and staying the climbers trail. The trickiest part was getting from the flat area up to 5000 feet for traverse. We apparently shortcut it both on ascent and descent.

    The campsite at the saddle is nice and would have been spectacular if the weather was clear. There was running water from snow melt and easy access to the climbing route.

    The corkscrew trail was mostly melted out, except for short section where climbing in a moat next to snow gully was required. Some of the moves just above felt like fourth class, but that was probably because the rock was wet. We ran a handline for protection on descent. There are sections above up to the summit block where handline may have been advisable.

Forecast called for rain over the weekend, and it rained... No thunderstorms, fortunately. It was wet going up, on the summit block, and coming down. But we had a good group with positive attitude and everyone in good shape. Since this was the first time on this route for everyone, it was done as two-day. Approach from trailhead (end of drivable section of FS4096, lot of shell casing on the ground) to the saddle at 5350' took about 4 hours, including the bushwacking and searching for trail. We had the whole afternoon to kill, though good part of it was spent in the tent listening to rain or getting an early sleep. Next morning, we left at 5AM. Previous GPS tracks suggested traversing across the snow before heading up, but we chose to go straight up and then veering left above the second rock band. This took us past the rocks, bergshrund, and crevasses, eventually traversing under the west ridge / summit block. Some sign of rockfalls, but not significant. Start of the corkscrew was quite obvious. As soon as the corner was turned, obvious trail led around the summit block. We backed off on any section that looked harder than third class, and managed to eventually reach the blocky summit. Didn't check the exact time, but we probably got there around 9:30 AM. Rain continued on and off all day, so some careful moves on rock were required to reach the summit. After tagging the summit and getting some photos, we headed back down to the snow. Even though we had just come up the route, it was hard to follow back down, requiring some backtracking. Descent on snow began around 10:50 AM, and back to camp around 1:15 PM. Return to car took about two and half hours. That was the wettest part of the trip.

A good trip considering the weather - This was a good group. And I'm sure the route will look even better when it's clear out.

 

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