Ascent of Glacier Peak on 2013-07-26

Climber: Austin D. Smith

Others in Party:Mark Smith
Date:Friday, July 26, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Glacier Peak
    Elevation:10520 ft / 3206 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started from the trailhead at our start point and hiked in 5 miles to the first camp... the 800 ft,5 mile mile hike... well it may have 800 ft from trailhead to the camp ground but for every 100 ft you climb you loose at least 50 ft of that and then pick it up and then loose most or all of it again. So we set up camp and spent the night. We got up and a semi early hour that morning and hiked and hiked and hiked up the 3200 ft of hot steep switch back and got up to white pass around 1 and stopped for lunch... we were already pretty tired but we still had to make it up to the high camp. So we started hiking on the foam creek trail, and after passing the last pass along the ridge that you could cross (and not finding the climbers trail which we found out on the way back was only 400 ft away from where we started to cross country hike up to the pass)we took off cross country and came up over the second to last ridge to the right (right as in right of White Mountain or if your coming back from the summit it would be left) we then had to come down a steep scree field (EXTRA hundreds of ft of elevation gain/loss) and then come down a snow field down into the basin which was endless (3 miles :P)of sun cupped snow. The trail is not obvious but if in doubt stay high due to the fact that the snow has started to form lakes low + you have to regain that elevation. So we hiked the basin to our camp (which took over 5 hours due to obstacles (lakes, rocks, forming ponds, and "river crevasses", oh and not to mention the MORE hundreds of feet of EXTRA elevation gain and loss!)and the fact of us already being tired and not sure where to go for sure, but when in doubt stay high, there is a boot path, but its not obvious and there is/are more than one)so we finally got to our camp up on the ridge. It's a nice camping spot, flat ground, 1 ft tall and about 10- 15 ft long, a water source 65ft away, and is a few hundred feet away from your start point up a ridge the next day. But if there is wind... its super strong so make sure that your tent is staked down securely and all of your other belongings for that matter. So we finally got to bed around 9 at night. (As you can see, just getting up to high camp is no give away and is and epic all of it's own if you don't know for a fact when and where everything is). So we got up around 7 that morning and headed for the summit. We had to climb a few hundred feet up a ridge (and yep you guessed it.... more EXTRA elevation gain because you descend the ridge and pick it back up again like always :P)so then we headed up the next ridge to disappointment peak. As we came up to the place of following the disappointment peak ridge up to disappointment peak to the summit or taking off on the Gerdine Glacier up to the Cool Glacier to the summit, these 2 un-roped guys with trail running shoes and a 4 point form of cramp-ons, came blazing up to us,(blazing as in they have rt'ed the trip from car to summit to car in 12 HOURS!, and told us that they had climbed Glacier multiple times and that there was one small spot that you had to cross a snow bridge over a crevasse and then after that if you stayed left you avoided the rest... but it turned out that you had to cross over >>10<< snow bridges, some of which were very small, narrow, and harry, and other that you were crossing that were new routes over due to the fact that the snow bridge 30 feet away had already collapsed and so this was the new route. So if you plan to do that route... I advise you have a team of at least 3 and know what you are doing. Me and my dad roped up and crossed them and safely got to the saddle between the summit push and disappointment peak, and concluded that we would go down disappointment peak ridge because the snow was so soft at that point you were post holing 6 inches to a foot in some places and it was only going to get hotter and we didn't want to cross the snow bridges with only a team of 2. But disappoint peak ridge isn't such a good thing either because there is rock fall happing every 5-30 minutes (both on the ridge and across the gerdine glacier rock wall (the way you cross)). So anyway, we hiked up the step scree field, and snow field with is steep but that late in the day is so soft its not all that big of a deal, you don't need to rope up, all you need is an ice axe and having cramp ons isn't a bad idea but it can be done without. We finally made it to the summit, but when you get on top of the snow ridge you are in another saddle about 20 feet below the summit, go right, that's were the Mazama's sign box is, and if you go right, you crest over the hill to see you are looking like strait down into a massive crevasse and standing on a super soft, sketchy, snow bridge!!, so go left to the summit. So we hiked down the snow and scree field to the saddle and these four nice guys came up and offered to rope up with us so we didn't have to go down disappointment ridge, so while we waited for them to summit and come down I bagged disappointment peak twice and then we headed down off the glacier without trouble. We hiked down to our camp ons spent the night there. So then the next day we hiked all the way out of the basin, out of the big saddle left of White Mountain, and hiked a little cross country down to the hikers trail and headed out on the foam creek trail, down the PCT, down the super steep switch backs (and mind the fact that it took us like an entire day to do this and we are doing all the extra elevation and descent)and then the five miles out, but that last five miles was great pain and now we both have blisters and we got out finally back to the car... sadly 30 minutes longer than 72 hours, so we were out 72 hours and 30 minutes. It has been the hardest one I have done so far and it kicked my butt. But it was fun and has beautiful scenery at least. But I'm glad I knocked that one off my list.... 10/20 cascade volcanoes successfully SUMMITED!! :) Only 10 to go!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:10350 ft / 3153 m
    Total Elevation Loss:10350 ft / 3153 m
    Round-Trip Distance:30 mi / 48.3 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1, Grade II
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Tent Camp
    Weather:Hot, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:9350 ft / 2849 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 8350 ft / 2545 m; Extra: 1000 ft / 304m
    Loss on way in:1000 ft / 304 m
    Distance:15 mi / 24.1 km
    Route:Gerdine - Cool Glacier
    Start Trailhead:North Fork Suak River Trailhead  2170 ft / 661 m
    Time:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:9350 ft / 2849 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 8350 ft / 2545 m; Extra: 1000 ft / 304m
    Gain on way out:1000 ft / 304 m
    Distance:15 mi / 24.1 km
    Route:Cool - Gerdine Glacier
    End Trailhead:North Fork Suak River Trailhead  2170 ft / 661 m
    Time:4 Hours 

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