The most remote volcano in the state of Washington, Glacier Peak, was the target for Carl Simpson, Jeff Rich and company during last week’s sunny Spring window. Below are Jeff’s notes along with a sweet edit put together by both Jeff and Carl.
We started hiking the North Fork Sauk trail at 3 a.m., Tue. morning. To try and beat the noon day sun that would surely be cooking the south slopes of Red and White pass. You can drive to trail head. There is a slump about 2 miles from the end that may be trouble for a lower clearance car. We booted in to the Mackinaw shelter, as the snow was firm and was not continuous. (on the way out, we skinned 1 1/2 miles past shelter, skinning over the dirt patches with no problem). Arrived at the shelter at 6:30, meeting Chrols, who had hiked in the following evening to try and get some more sleep. He said that the mice tried to carry him away. The trail was in and out of snow till about 4200k, as the following report stated. After ascending the trail, to where it benches out of the avi swath, we took an ascent route through the heavier timber to the lookers left. Grabbed the ridge and melted some water. The wind was blowing steady at 15 mph, at this point. Which was a godsend, as it was keeping us cool and more importantly, the snow pack… We had one little exposed route to Red pass, but with the early hour and the cooler temps. we opted for that , rather than mess around with the cornice infested ridge. The rest of the trip to camp (@ 6600′ on the south lobe of the White Chuck glacier) went with out any hitch. Enjoying the marvelous scenery along the way. The wind was steady at 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph all through the night, so there was no urgency for an early departure the next day. We left camp for the summit at 9 a.m.. Snow was firm and ski crampons were helpful. By the time we had climbed north of Glacier gap, the winds were dissipating. Before arriving on to the Cool Glacier there was not a breath of wind. We easily skinned to the summit, just as the rime was softening. No wind and a t-shirt summit, had us giddy. We had a little memorial service for my GF’s late father, per his request. A F-18 did a barrel role right over the top of us, followed by a B-25 ( from Paine Field?) that circled the mountain at about 8k. By far , one of the best summit parties of my life! I may add that we did not see a single other soul the whole trip. We skied off the summit at 3 p.m., to nice soft rime pillows. Then most of us did the little boot pack up to Disappointment peak. That skied great with about 2″ ski penetration with no wet slide activity.
After skiing down to just below Glacier Gap, we opted to climb up to point 7829′( that splits the upper reaches of the White Chuck Glacier), so that we could have a better fall line ski to our camp. The next morning we broke camp and headed back home at 9a.m. We opted to turn up valley early, (instead of heading to Red Pass again), to a hanging valley and pass just west of White mountain, to try and gain the ridge as soon as possible, before the oppressive heat baked our exit route. Topped the pass at 10:30. The South facing snow was a little baked, but was easily controlled and We made our descent down the gauntlet of slide paths with out any incident. (I surely wouldn’t have wanted to be on those slopes a few hours later, though) We took a nice long break on the sand bars of the Sauk river, and headed for the barn. We arrived at our cars at 4:00, with plenty of time to get some Mexi food and Margaritas in Granite Falls. Here is a little Video I did of the trip. Freebird has a bunch more vid and will post when he finally gets time to do an edit.