Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (70).JPG

Trip Report    

Glacier Peak/Disappointment Peak Cleaver

Amazing 3 day Glacier Peak trip with wonderful weather, great party and route is in beautiful shape.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
    • Didn't encounter continuous snow until above Glacier Gap traveling along Geradine Ridge, to the right of the scramble route.  
    • Ridge was pretty much snow free, except for a few small spots.  Can stay on dirt/rock boot path or scramble path until time to move over to snow on Suiattle Glacier.  Almost to the base of Disappointment Peak.

Party of 3  in a Covid year. For two of us it was our first time up Glacier Peak. Our third person has been to the summit over 20-30 times and is a wealth of information.  It's definitely a long way in and out. Pack as light as you can to have the needed gear and food. 

Day 1 approach -

  • Left trailhead at 7:30am. 
  • Came across two hikers coming down from White Pass who asked if we could send out an SOS. There was a hurt hiker on the PCT North near Red Pass.  Used Garmin InReach to send an SOS and found out that SAR was already engaged through a request made earlier. There was a helicopter on the way to rescue the hurt hiker.
  • It was warm as we took the switch backs up to the pass, everyone was in shorts and 2 of us had on approach shoes. 

Sloan Peak from North Fork Sauk Trail

  • Stopped at White Pass to take off our packs, have a snack and enjoy the views.  There were a number of hikers and a party of hunters in this area. After leaving the pass we didn't see any others for the rest of the day. 

White Pass

  • First views of Glacier beyond a tarn as we moved through White Chuck Basin.

First views of Glacier Peak from White Chuck Basin

  • Made our way through the basin and camped below the remaining White Chuck Glacier at 6,700 about 150 feet to the west of the scramble boot path route towards the summit.  There is a big lake (6'400) to the south west and we were able to get water coming off the White Chuck, tons of glacial streams flowing down. 
  • Initially had planned to camp at Glacier Gap high camp (7,200 ft) but after seeing the great spots here and a long day with heavy packs we knew this was our perfect base camp. 
  • We were the only group camping in the basin.  Enjoyed a warm dinner and beautiful sunset as we got ready to head out in the morning.

Basecamp with tent at 6'700 with Glacier Peak in the distance

Day 2 Summit Day -

    • Left camp just before 5am with headlights. Followed the rocky basin up to Glacier Gap not taking the shortcut through the cliffs.

Sunrise in White Chuck Basin

    • Took a quick break at Glacier Gap. Tons of great camp sites with rock walls for wind protection. The area was empty with no people camping at high camp - 7,200. We didn’t cross paths with any other parties until we had been on the summit for 30 minutes. 

Glacier Gap tent spots

    •  Headed up the ridge where we encountered the first snowfield on the backside. Put our crampons on. There were two snowfields with a melted out dirt section in between. After the second section of snow took crampons off and followed the dirt for a long time.

climbing route

  • Looking back, see boot path here with Kololo Peaks in the distance.   

Looking back, Kololo Peaks in the distance

    • We made our way along Geredine Ridge. Staying on the ridge (dirt path or rocks) as long as we could, as we enjoyed some fun scrambling over big boulders as we got closer to the base Disappointment Peak and the glacier route.  Eventually we moved off the rocks and onto the snow of the Suiattle Glacier.

Suiattle Glacier with Disappointment Peak

    • We passed the Disappointment Peak rockfall area, noting the debris and keeping a safe distance. 
    • Heading up towards the Cool Glacier it got steeper.  We had a surprise air force jet that flew directly above us (seemed to be very close) and over the summit as we were making our way up the steep snow.   

Cool Glacier

  • Roped up and made our way across some fun hard ice on the Cool Glacier.  

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (174).JPG

  • Crossing the Cool Glacier there were a few openings, with long cracks traveling perpendicular to our travel route.  

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (184).JPG

    • Reaching the end of the glacier we removed our glacier gear  and made our way up the sandy moraine bank to the scramble route. The dirt/small rocks on the moraine are very loose it was hard to make our way through this short steep section.

Jet flying next to Glacier Peak

    • Looking back to the Cool, saw a party of two walking on the glacier un-roped side by side and one solo climber traveling along the Cool Glacier. 
    • Made it to the summit at 12:25pm after seeing the air force jets circle back flying close by on the western side of the peak. The jet was  practicing barrel turns. Signed the summit register in the metal Mazamas box. We were the first group for the day. The register is getting full fast and has so many entries for the weekends. 

Glacier Peak Summit Registry

    • Took tons of photos, ate a quick bite and admired all the peaks in the distances.  White Horse Mtn and Three Fingers were especially beautiful in the west from this vantage.  Checked out the eastern side of the summit and then headed back down at 1:10.
    • Saw the solo climber coming up to the summit when we were leaving, first person we crossed paths with all day.  Pretty remarkable, week day trips are a treat!  On the scramble down, passed the party of two making their way up to the summit.  The dirt and rocks were loose in the steep section near the top of the peak, we slowed to be sure to not send any rocks down as we crossed paths and then moved quickly to get out from below them. 

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (236).JPG

    • Before heading back onto the snow we followed the ridge making a detour to the summit of Disappointment Peak. It was a quick side trip (+20-30 min) to another high point with great views of the route. We weren’t Disappointed on the summit of this peak! The views to the east were splendid. Spotted the forest fire that was burning near Trinity in the east.

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (247).JPG

    • Saw another roped party coming across the cool glacier as we were at Disappointment Peak.

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (253).JPG

  • Crevasse openings on the Cool glacier. 

cracks in the Cool Glacier

  • This was the widest opening we had to step across.  Maybe 2 feet.

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (263).JPG

    • Enjoyed the hike back down to camp. Stopped at a tarn before Glacier Cap to fill up on water.  Passing through Glacier Gap high camp noticed it was getting full. Lots of tents in place for the weekend.
    • We took the notch in the ridge through the cliffs on the way down.  This shaved off a little bit of distance.  Passed maybe 20 more people that were heading to high camp.  Reached our camp at 5:25pm.

Day 3 Return -

  • Packed up and left camp at 7am.
  • Passed many parties that were camped or just starting to head heading in for their summit day.

Glacier Peak with backpack

  • Once out of the basin, heading along the traverse to White Pass we found tons of sweet berries (blueberries or huckleberries). 

Glacier Peak_Aug 2020 (301).JPG

  • The Marmots were out playing, saw at least 10 on the sides of the route. We didn't see them on the way in because it was warmer in the afternoon. They were out eating and playing during this cool cloudy morning. 

// Timetable //

Day 1 - approach  (North Fork Sauk River Trailhead to base camp 6'700 near White Chuck Glacier)

  • 7:30am left trailhead
  • 12:40pm called in SOS for other party, about 45 min slow down.  From just below the junction with the PCT
  • 2:00 pm lunch at White Pass for 30 min
  • 5:00pm arrive at base camp @ 6'700

Total travel time:  9 hours 30 min 

Stats: 13.6 miles, 6'586 ft gain, 2,080 ft loss

Day 2 - summit day (6'700 base camp to Glacier Peak summit to Disappointment Peak Summit and back to base camp)

  • 4:50am leave camp
  • 6:30am reached Glacier Gap took 20 min snack break
  • 8:45 am moved onto the snow of Suiattle Glacier
  • 10am roped up to move up and onto Cool Glacier
  • 11:15am up the moraine between Disappointment Peak and ridge to the summit
  • 12:25pm summit with 40 min break, 1:10pm head down
  • 1:45pm summit Disappointment Peak
  • 2:05pm roped up, crampons back on heading down Cool Glacier
  • 5:25pm back at camp

Total travel time: 12 hours 35 min travel time

Stats: 12 miles, 4,721 ft elev gain, 4'705 ft elev loss

Day 3 - camp to trail head (6'700 base camp to White Pass and to North Fork Sauk River Trailhead)

  • 7am depart camp
  • 2:25pm back at trailhead

Total travel time: 7 hrs 25 min total travel time

Stats:  12.7 miles, 1,073 ft elev gain, 5,843 elev loss