Glacier peak had been my nemesis. Having reached the summit of Washington's other four volcanoes, I only needed this one to finish the list. Twice before I had been foiled in summit attempts, and was hoping the third time would work out better. I enlisted the help of five other NWHikers to go along. Rob (OneLuv1), Greg (EastKing), Michael (Jimbopo), Fletcher and my youngest son Derek (Rocknclimb).
We left the North Fork Sauk TH on Tuesday morning, hiked to White Pass, and set up camp. We arrived early enough that Rob and Fletcher took a side trip and tagged Portal peak (6999'). Derek, Michael, Fletcher and Rob then decided to summit White mountain (7043') to watch the sunset.
On Wednesday we hiked thru the White Chuck glacier basin enroute to camp at Glacier Gap (7200'). The glacier is almost gone, but has left behind an almost moonscape-like setting. When I had been there the previous year, it had all been snow filled. Without snow, it was filled with boulders, streams, lakes and tarns. A really beautiful area. That night we watched one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen. The sky looked like it was on fire. My pictures didn't do it justice, so hopefully someone else will add some.
Summit day welcomed us with clear skies, and we left camp at 6:30 to begin our climb. We stayed on the ridge until 8000' elevation, then hopped onto the Gerdine glacier and a well-established boot track. The crux of the climb was going around Disappointmentpeak. There is a short, steep section of icefall that has to be carefully negotiated before continuing upwards on the Cool glacier. Rob led us thru that part without difficulty. Shortly after, we reached the ridge (snow-free) that leads to the summit. It took us about four hours from camp to reach the top of Washington's 5th-highest mountain (10,520').
Beautiful weather allowed us to spend an hour on the summit. We played "Name That Peak" as we gazed out on seemingly hundreds of other mountains beyond. The views were spectacular in all directions. Sadly, we soon headed down, but spent an extra few minutes while we scrambled over to the summit of Disappointmentpeak. Once again Rob led us thru the icefall safely and we made it back to camp about 2 hours from the summit.
We packed up and headed back to White Pass. Due to work, Fletcher needed to go all the way out to the car. He amazed all of us by making it from Glacier Gap to the TH in just over 4 hours. The rest of us spent one last night at White Pass before returning.
Thanks to everyone who joined me on this special climb. I wouldn't hesitate to join forces with any of you again. And an extra special thanks to Derek, who waited for me below the summit so that we could reach the top together to complete our WA volcano list.
11,000' total elevation gain
(Stats don't include side trips of Portal, White and various other high points)
-------------- Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff
This trip was absolutely epic. 2 epic sunsets, 2 awesome nights of stargazing, awesome weather, 4 awesome peaks, and 5 awesome dudes to enjoy it all with. Thanks to all, I had a great time (except for maybe the last few miles back to the car on day 3 when I thought I might just fall over and die on the side of the trail ).
Congratulations! 'Looks like you assembled a good team for this one. Great photos and report. That same day, Flow and I were a few miles south, high above Big Heart Lake. We were looking straight at y'all and discussing your route and where you might be. ~z
Could not have asked for a better group of people to climb Glacier Peak with!!! Having the oppurtunity to climb Washington's five volcanoes w/ my father made it extra special.
Managed a few side trips up White Mountain, DisappointmentPk, and Kololo (nearly)...
Fletcher: that time from glacier gap to the car is insane Glad you made it safe!
Some extra beta on the route:
The trail from Mackinaw shelter to White pass is covered in blueberries and Huckleberries.
A climbing group reported seeing the northern lights on Wednesday, but unfortunately we had no such luck.
The sunsets and stargazing were some of the best I have ever seen.
-------------- When asked "Why do you climb"? Simply respond "Why don't you"?
Congratulations to everyone on this trip!! What a beautiful area!!!
-------------- "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one." by John Lennon
I hope to do some summits and waterfalls this year with my husband EastKing.
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