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Jake Robinson
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Jake Robinson
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 10:04 am 
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Glacier Peak has always been one of my bucket list trips. With a perfect forecast and wildflowers in peak condition, I threw out the idea of doing it in 2 days to Aaron (awilsondc on this website). He quickly agreed and informed me that there's a bivy site on the summit. Well, I guess we're hauling all of our overnight gear up there! There was no way either of us were going to pass up the opportunity to camp on top of Glacier Peak. It was to be the first summit bivy for both of us.

We slept in our cars at the N Fork Sauk trailhead and were hiking by headlamp at 4:20 am Saturday morning. The first 5.5 miles to Mackinaw Shelter were uneventful - I felt great, but I could tell these miles were going to be a slog on the way out.

N Fork Sauk trail
N Fork Sauk trail
Just before Mackinaw Shelter
Just before Mackinaw Shelter

Soon after the shelter, the trail gains 2500' in a series of switchbacks and rising traverses. We took plenty of breaks and kept the pace easy.

Flowers along the switchbacks
Flowers along the switchbacks

After about 8 miles, we joined the PCT and began hiking south to White Pass. The wildflowers and meadows were spectacular!

Upper N. Fork Sauk trail scenery
Upper N. Fork Sauk trail scenery
Along the PCT
Along the PCT
Aaron and the Monte Cristo Group
Aaron and the Monte Cristo Group
The Hills Are Alive With awilsondc
The Hills Are Alive With awilsondc
Approaching White Pass
Approaching White Pass

After White Pass the beautiful meadow scenery continued, with excellent views into the Alpine Lakes area.


We crested a small ridge, dropped and then regained a few hundred feet, and reached the first of several snowy basins. Glacier Peak appeared, still miles off in the distance. We traversed easy snow slopes until reaching a broad flat area with large boulders at the edge of the former White Chuck Glacier. We took an extended break for lunch here, 6 hours after leaving the car.

Views of Glacier from lunch
Views of Glacier from lunch

After lunch we traversed the remainder of the White Chuck, climbed some scree, traversed another small basin, and arrived at Glacier Gap. We topped off our water just before Glacier Gap, the last running water we encountered on the route.

Aaron traverses the White Chuck
Aaron traverses the White Chuck
Final slopes to Glacier Gap
Final slopes to Glacier Gap

From Glacier Gap, we gained and lost a few hundred feet, and we were finally on the slopes of Glacier Peak! After another short break, we buckled down and began the long slog up towards the summit. The first part of the route follows a climbers' trail up scree, then gains the gentle slopes of the Gerdine Glacier.

Route transfers onto the Gerdine here, then climbs the left side before angling right under Disappointment Peak to the Cool Glacier
Route transfers onto the Gerdine here, then climbs the left side before angling right under Disappointment Peak to the Cool Glacier
Kololo Peaks
Kololo Peaks
Climbing the Gerdine
Climbing the Gerdine
Near the Cool Glacier
Near the Cool Glacier

At the top of the Gerdine, the route transfers onto the Cool Glacier. This section contained some broken up ice and a few small cracks below. We took our time here since we weren't roped up, but with careful footing it was a non-issue. We never even took our ice axes off our packs. After this minor obstacle, we climbed the steeper slopes of the Cool to a notch at the top of Disappointment Peak.

Climbing the Cool
Climbing the Cool
Summit above
Summit above
A rope team entering the small broken up section at the Cool-Gerdine junction
A rope team entering the small broken up section at the Cool-Gerdine junction
Aaron and the one crevasse we encountered on-route
Aaron and the one crevasse we encountered on-route

The last 900' to the summit was a steep hike up loose pumice and snow. We made the summit at 3:30 PM, 11 hours and 10 minutes after leaving the car. The views are some of the best I've seen in the Cascades. Glacier Peak isn't particularly close to anything, but it feels like you can see everything from up there! The view extends from Mount Adams and Mount Rainier all the way up to the Chilliwacks and peaks of British Columbia, with everything in between. Puget Sound was smoggy, but we could see the Olympics pretty well. We also noticed the Diamond Creek fire out in the Pasayten. It didn't look good, but luckily the wind was blowing all the smoke to the east.

Last bit to the summit
Last bit to the summit
Slog!
Slog!
Aaron explores the summit area
Aaron explores the summit area
Survey marker
Survey marker
Looking down the route with Kololo Peaks, the Stuart range and ALW lie beyond
Looking down the route with Kololo Peaks, the Stuart range and ALW lie beyond
Bonanza and the Diamond Creek fire
Bonanza and the Diamond Creek fire
North Cascades
North Cascades
Fire
Fire

After signing the register and taking it all in, we established camp. The little bivy site is perfect for a small tent, and we even had liquid water! We spent the next few hours before sunset exploring the broad summit area, scrambling, drinking tea, drinking bourbon, and eating our gourmet dinners. Freeze-dried food tastes amazing after 17 miles and 9000' of elevation gain. I'll let the pictures do the talking here:


The wind kicked up a bit in the evening and blew out all the haze from the Puget Sound. It was so clear that we could see the skyscrapers in downtown Seattle. At around 8PM, the sunset spectacle began. Watching the sunset from the summit of Glacier Peak is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced, and will certainly stick with me for the rest of my life. We live in a truly special place. Pictures and words simply cannot do it justice.



After sunset, we hunkered down and tried to get some sleep. We were breaking down camp by 5:30 AM and heading down at 6:40. The wind was pretty strong on the descent to the Cool Glacier, enough that it could knock you off your feet if you didn't brace yourself.

The descent went quickly, and soon we were hiking through the meadows near White Pass. They were just as beautiful on the way out, and made these miles go quickly and painlessly.

Last views of Glacier
Last views of Glacier

The switchbacks and last 5 miles of the N. Fork Sauk trail were a bit of a slog, but we cruised. We got back to the car exactly 8 hours after leaving the summit, tired but still somewhat in awe of the night we spent up there. Of the many amazing trips I've been lucky enough to take this year, this one truly stands out.


North Fork Slog
North Fork Slog
Victory!
Victory!
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awilsondc
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Joined: 03 Apr 2016
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awilsondc
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 10:09 am 
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Truly epic trip. Summit view, camp site, and sunset are all in the running for best ever for me. Here are my photos:

THE ASCENT:

Flower heaven
Flower heaven
Lovely trail
Lovely trail
tiger lilly?
tiger lilly?
long shadow
long shadow
Jake working up the trail, Monte Cristo peaks in the back
Jake working up the trail, Monte Cristo peaks in the back
Nearing White Pass
Nearing White Pass
Another group works towards the saddle
Another group works towards the saddle
Marmot!  They were everywhere!
Marmot!  They were everywhere!
Ahhhh, first views of Glacier Peak
Ahhhh, first views of Glacier Peak
Marmot supervising Jake as he ties his boots
Marmot supervising Jake as he ties his boots
Jake working his way through White Chuck Glacier basin
Jake working his way through White Chuck Glacier basin
Ascending
Ascending
Lake 6433
Lake 6433
Another group hiking through the White Chuck Glacier Basin
Another group hiking through the White Chuck Glacier Basin
Cool Glacier
Cool Glacier

THE SUMMIT:

Glacier Peak summit and bivy spot
Glacier Peak summit and bivy spot
Ridges
Ridges
Baker
Baker
Jake looking out at the Kololo Peaks
Jake looking out at the Kololo Peaks
Bonanza and Jake - he climbed it just a few weeks ago
Bonanza and Jake - he climbed it just a few weeks ago
Glacier Peak summit rim panorama
Glacier Peak summit rim panorama
Jake marveling at the beauty of the Cascades
Jake marveling at the beauty of the Cascades
Shadow fun
Shadow fun
Copper, Fernow, Seven Fingered Jack, and Maude
Copper, Fernow, Seven Fingered Jack, and Maude
Jake peepin the views from a rock
Jake peepin the views from a rock
Jake on a ledge
Jake on a ledge
Admiring the golden hour light on the Kololo peaks and Indian Head
Admiring the golden hour light on the Kololo peaks and Indian Head

THE SHOW:

IT BEGINS!!!
IT BEGINS!!!
Sloan and Co
Sloan and Co
Baker
Baker
Glacier Peak summit crevasse
Glacier Peak summit crevasse
Cascade alpenglow panorama
Cascade alpenglow panorama
Glacier Peak's summit at sunset
Glacier Peak's summit at sunset
Twin Sisters and Baker
Twin Sisters and Baker
Jake on Glacier Peak's summit
Jake on Glacier Peak's summit
Jake - probably thinking, damn this is awesome!!!
Jake - probably thinking, damn this is awesome!!!
Rainier
Rainier
Three Fingers and Whitehorse
Three Fingers and Whitehorse
Sloan
Sloan
It feels like that red sun ray hits me right in the heart.  I love this shot!
It feels like that red sun ray hits me right in the heart.  I love this shot!
Glacier Peak's shadow
Glacier Peak's shadow
Baker in fading light
Baker in fading light
going... going...
going... going...
gone
gone
Glacier Peak sunset panorama
Glacier Peak sunset panorama
Sunset from the summit of Glacier Peak
Sunset from the summit of Glacier Peak

THE HIKE OUT:

Morning alpenglow on Dissapointment Peak
Morning alpenglow on Dissapointment Peak
Camp with Glacier Peak's shadow
Camp with Glacier Peak's shadow
oh, hi there!
oh, hi there!
More marmots
More marmots
Indian Head
Indian Head
White Pass
White Pass
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Hiking_Husky
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Hiking_Husky
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 1:47 pm 
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Hey! Met you guys in the parking lot after our climb (I'm the guy who almost unintentionally stole your pack). Definitely an inspiring report! I camped on top of Baker last summer, and a Glacier Peak bivy is now definitely on my list. Great photos, and what a place to spend an evening!
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Triciaann777
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Triciaann777
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Great shots.  Thanks for sharing.  Really appreciated the sunset pictures on the Mountain, those are rare especially for those like me who cant get there this yr.
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BarbE
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BarbE
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Fabulous trip and pictures! up.gif
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Distel32
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Distel32
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 4:13 pm 
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up.gif
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mbravenboer
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mbravenboer
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Great photos and update of the conditions there! Looking forward to the photos by awilsondc.
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Fletcher
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Fletcher
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PostTue Aug 01, 2017 9:55 pm 
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So awesome guys! I want to bivy up there someday!
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
Brushbuffalo
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 7:30 am 
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Excellent trip report. Thanks for stirring the memories smile.gif  ( trivia: pic at left is a young  BB on Frostbite Ridge en route to one of several GP summit camps)

Jake Robinson wrote:
It was to be the first summit bivy for both of us.

It becomes habit forming, as you can appreciate. One of the privileges of a hard-earned summit is spending a few hours there instead of a few minutes.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Just updated with my photos in the first post.  Sorry it took so long, life is busy sometimes!  lol
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mbravenboer
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mbravenboer
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 9:00 pm 
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Great photos awilsondc! Really enjoyed those. Couldn't have been better smile.gif.
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raising3hikers
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raising3hikers
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 9:02 pm 
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really good stuff guys up.gif

--------------
Eric Eames
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GaliWalker
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GaliWalker
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PostThu Aug 03, 2017 8:31 am 
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mbravenboer wrote:
Great photos awilsondc!

Yeah! My favorite was "Admiring the golden hour light on the Kololo peaks and Indian Head". up.gif

And yes, that's a "tiger lily" (or a Turk's Cap Lily) in your third photo.

--------------
'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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Jackal
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Jackal
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PostThu Aug 03, 2017 10:02 pm 
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Fantastic photos - successful climb vs magical moments is not being in a hurry. Smart decision to savor the summit.

--------------
jackmcleodphoto.com
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contour5
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contour5
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PostFri Aug 04, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Excellent TR and photos. I'm super jelly, having just chickened out for the third time...
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Glacier Peak in 2 days with a summit bivy - July 29-30, 2017
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