Glacier Peak, Wa July 2013
We climbed Glacier Peak from 7/4/13 - 7/9/. Two days in, one day rest, summit day and then hike out day. We registered at the Darrington Ranger Station on the 3rd. They have a simple self-register on the outside of the building (pull hard on the box - the magnet keeping it closed is really strong, and I almost thought it was locked). We camped at Sloan Creek Campground - which has no signs designating it as such, but was obviously the trailhead for the climb. There were about 5-6 campsites with tables and fire-rings and one (unstocked) port-a-potty. The morning of the 4th we met with the others of our team, and headed in. The first part of the trail is a beautiful walk through old growth forest.
The first 5.5 miles is easy gradual up and down trail. There is an trial intersection at about 2.5 miles - keep left. Great place to track your time and see if you are on-pace. The Shelter is at about 5.5 miles. Here you can get water and fuel up for the next 3ish miles of uphill switchbacks (gain about 3,000ft). This, in my opinion, is the most grueling part of the journey - both uphill and downhill. When you get the the top of the switchbacks there is an easy traverse across a high meadow. The only danger here was small creeks with unstable snow bridges. Camping at White pass was great. Dry spots and running water. We still couldn't see the mountain - but the trail looked great. We camped here for the night.
The next morning we started out late (11amish). The conditions were not great, heavy clouds & low viability. We used compasses and maps to navigate up to Glacier Gap. The travel here was mainly easy with a one steepish traverse right when you pop over the ridge.
Camping at Glacier Gap was great. Lots of dirt tent platforms & running water. Soooo Pretty! What a great place to camp. Below you can see our tent shadow and the view from our 'front door'.
We decided to take a rest day and just chill out in camp - resting, eating and exploring. The weather was great and I brought my sleeping pad out and rested in the sun in my shorts.
The next day was summit day (Yea!!). We got up and moving about 3am. Weather was great. Snow was softish - but I still used my crampons for the steepish section that you go down when you come out of the basin where camp is. After this snow traverse, it is an uphill climb on dirt until you reach the Gerdine Glacier. Here we roped up and headed across to the Cool Glacier. After the crossing of the cool, we ascended a dirt trail up the the final (steep!) snow slope. The summit was windy, so we took some photos, had a snack and headed down.
We climbed down, and arrived back at camp about 2pm. My husband made a great pasta dinner, and we crashed out. The next day we packed up and headed out for the long (14mileish) hike back to the car (and waiting beers!). All in all this was one of my favorite trips - a great, fun, easy climb.
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