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Ascent of Glacier Peak on 2018-09-05

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Glacier Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:10520 ft / 3206 m

Ascent Trip Report

September 4-5, 2018

Eric Gilbertson

I got back to the Mt Adams trailhead in the later afternoon on Sept 3 after a day-trip to the summit, and started heading north towards my next objective, Glacier Peak. The fastest route had me driving through Seattle, so I figured I might as well spend a night at home before pushing on. On Sept 4 I slept in and left Seattle around 10:00am.

I passed through Darrington and picked up a bunch of junk food at the IGA. At the Glacier Peak trailhead I scarfed down three enchiladas and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, then started hiking at 2:30pm. It was too late to day-hike Glacier, so I brought a bivy sack and light sleeping bag. My hope was to sleep on the summit, if I could get there before dark.

I had already climbed glacier peak in early April 2016, but needed to reclimb it to tighten by Bulgers finishing time window. The trail up the north fork Sauk River looked a lot different in September when it wasn’t covered in feet of snow!

There were plenty of blueberries to nibble on along the way, and I soon reached White Pass. From there I turned off on an excellent climbers trail and hiked around White Mountain. The trail eventually crossed over the east ridge of White Mountain and I got my first view of Glacier Peak. It looked like the south ridge was completely snow-free, which was good because it might allow me to make better time.

The trail got fainter after cresting the ridge, but I was still able to follow cairns basically the whole way. I reached Glacier Gap as twilight was starting, and saw two other people camping out. I pushed on, putting on crampons for a brief snowpatch beyond the gap. I then reached the south ridge and continued following the climbers trail. By 9pm I needed to put my headlamp on, and realized I would not reach the summit before dark. I passed by one solo climber bivying next to the path, and pushed up as high as possible on the ridge by headlamp. I planned to solo the Cool Glacier route, but that seemed unwise in the dark, so I ended up bivying on the ridge.

Amazingly I hadn’t needed to stop and eat anything the entire hike in. Those enchiladas and ice cream had been burning strong the whole time. I laid out my bivy sack on the ridge, cooked some ramen with some meltwater from a snow patch, and went to sleep.

In the morning I got up with sunrsise, put on crampons, and started across the snowfield south of Disappointment Peak. There was a trench through the snow from all the other climbers over the holiday weekend, so the route was pretty straightforward. On the Cool Glacier I had to climb around a few crevasses, but the boot track was straightforward and safe.

I soon crested the ridge north of Disappointment Peak, and hiked up the scree to the summit. The solo climber I’d seen bivying was already up there enjoying the view. I noticed a lot of smoke burning just to the east of the peak, in a fire I hadn’t heard of. Otherwise the views were amazing, and I would definitely like to camp on that summit sometime in the future.

On the descent I decided to avoid the Cool Glacier in the heat of the day, and found a 3rd class scramble route down the south side of Disappointment Peak. It was loose, but not exposed as long as I went just west of the ridge.

I packed my bivy gear back up, and retraced my route back to the car, arriving by early afternoon.
Link to full trip report and pictures.
Summary Total Data



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