Glacier Peak via White Mountain and Glacier GapNF-49:
snow free between start and mile 7, currently closed to motorized traffic for culvert replacement and maintenance until this summer according to Darrington Park Rangers. Walk, bike or ride your horse.
North Fork Sauk River Trail #649:
patchy snow starts around 1/2 mile mark, continuous snow starts at 1350 m, about 1 mile past Mackinaw Shelter. There are some longer sections of very dirty and cupped snow in the forest, generally it was easier and faster to walk rather than to skin.
The plan was to take 4 days and ski Sitkum Glacier from Baekos Creek. After seeing the terrain from the ridge between White Mountain and Portal Peak and realizing we would be bushwhacking part of the way we changed our minds. The fast approaching front sped up our decision making too. We would have enough time to deal with the bushwhack from Pacific Crest Trail to snow line but would not be able to escape the almost certain rain on Monday.
We skied the N side of White Mountain then skinned up toward Glacier Gap via White Chuck Glacier. Set up camp just below the Gap, had a great afternoon in the sun watching the wall of clouds approaching slowly.
Woke up at 4 AM, left the camp at 4:45 and made the summit at 8:30 (after a slightly off turn on Cool Glacier which resulted in unplanned bagging of Disappointment Peak). We skinned to 9,600 ft then switched to boot crampons. Both summits were in cold and wet condition and in a near zero visibility, which was the real disappointment. We saw remnants of a skin track above 9,500 ft, it looked few days old.
The ski down was not too great but we got to practice skiing in whiteout. Am I going up, am I going down? We escaped the clouds once we were off Cool Glacier. The ski along the ridge below Disappointment Peak was pretty good. 15 minutes before we reached our camp the snow started. Packed up and skied out via White Pass back to Mackinaw Shelter.
Picked up our hiking boots, cooked food and decided to get the long wet hike out done in one go.
Summiting was nice but next year I hope to get the views as well.
Slideshow (with Google Earth map and a screenshot of the forecast)
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