Access Note (Please Read First)
The White Chuck River approach was heavily damaged by heavy rainfall in the fall of 2003. The White Chuck and Suiattle River roads are closed until repairs are made. In addition, the White Chuck Trail, and the western portion of the Pacific Crest Trail received heavy damag, including washed out sections of trail and destroyed bridges.
Below are some links to more access area for the Glacier Peak area:
Current Repair Status Report.
Detour Information for the Pacific Crest Trail
Following is a description of the approach prior to the 2003 damage. Once access is restored to the area, or an alternate route is established, the following will be updated.
Start at the White Chuck River Trailhead East of Darrignton. Hike 5 miles to Kennedy Hot Springs. Camp here (see the main page "Ceature Cmforts" section for details) or continue to the trails intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT.)
At the intersection, follow the PCT north (left) about 1/2 mile until a forested campsite is reached. Turn east (right) into the campsite, and look for the climbers' path, which becomes very steep a few hundred yards from the campsite. Follow the climbers' path upwards to Boulder Basin, at 5500-6000 feet. Excellent camping is here, and the sunsets are some of the best in the Cascades.
Total miles to Boulder Basin: 9
From Boulder Basin, continue up the climbers path, or ascend the snow field southeast. You will eventually reach a wide snow bowl, where you then head up the glacier towards a gap just to the right of the obvious, large block. Small crevasses may exist here, and this section can become bare ice in late season.
From the gap, the glacier flattens out somewhat. Head for the saddle above Sitkum Spire, an obvious rock finger on the west summit ridge. From here, ascend the pumice ridge to the summit block.
Once you reach the summit block, you have two choices: The first option is to climb up and to the right, traversing the pumice and/or snow covered slope to a chute which ascends to the right of the summit. Alternatively, you can turn left and cross the upper portion of the Scimitar Glacier, then climb steeply right up the summit glacier to the top.
Time 4-6 hours from Boulder Basin.
Standard snow/glacier gear is recommended: ice axe, crampons, rope, harness, pickets, wands. Crevasses do exist, but are not abundant.
Despite the long approach and hike out, made especially brutal with the added weight of ski gear, the west slopes of Glacier Peak provide up to 5000 feet of excellent ski slopes. Most experienced ski mountaineers should be able to skin up all the way from Boulder Basin to just below the summit block.
Good spring skiing can usually be found May-July. The later you go, the farther up you have to carry your skis before reaching snow. Get an early start, and avoid descending late in the day.
Make a note of crevasses on the way up (especially on the lower glacier) and watch out for them on the descent.
Also, if time allows, consider spending an extra day or two at Boulder Basin, just to get some extra ski tours in. This will help make the long approach more worthwhile :-)