Glacier Peak All To Ourselves
Three of my friends and I arrived at the North Fork Sauk River trailhead in the afternoon on Thursday May 7th. We hiked to Mackinaw (approximately 5 miles and 1K vertical feet) in trail runners and made camp number 1.
Friday morning we picked up camp, stashed our trail runners and hiked/skinned to White Pass (approximately 4 miles and 3K vertical feet) to make camp 2. We encountered significant winds while traversing around White Mountain and made camp a bit earlier than we should have. This made for a hell of a summit day push. When I do it again in the coming years I will stick to the route described in Washington Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes.
5-9-2020 Summit Day
We started the summit push at 1:00 AM on Saturday "morning". The morning started off with very strong winds. This made us doubt the possibility of summiting, but we were going to see how far we could safely go. We skinned up about 800 feet and descended a ridge line to the east of White Mountain. This gave us our first view of Glacier Peak and man was it awe inspiring. Filled with energy in the early morning hours we started to get in the skinning groove. There was a bit of skin skiing needed while making the long approach on the White Chuck Glacier, this was easy for my two skiing buddies, not so fun for me splitboarding. We encountered very strong winds until passing about 8,000 feet elevation and then it just stopped, I am not sure why this was, but I was happy because if it did not stop we would have had to turn around. Soon we had a clear view of Disappointment peak and realized we were going a bit to fast and needed to slow down to let the snow soften. We started to relax the pace for the last 2K vertical feet, taking breaks and enjoying the early morning sun. After passing Disappointment peak we had a clear view of the summit and my eyes got very wide when I saw a 1,200 foot vertical face with a sustained 45 degree slope (pictured below with our line in black). I told my buddies, "If the snow conditions are good we have to to ski that!". They were skeptical, but the snow conditions turned out to be perfect and we all shredded the hell out of the face. Seriously, one of the most euphoric experiences of my life. We skied/snowboarded for awhile and then had to skin out the flats and up and over the ridge we descended in the morning to make it back to camp 2. All in all it was a 16 hour, 15 miles and 8,000 vertical summit day.
We woke up and had a very tricky skin traverse around White Mountain, hiked back to our trail runners at Mackinaw and hiked back to the car.
All in all it was 72 hours, 33 miles and 12,000 vertical gain. An amazing trip with my best friends that I will never forget. This is why I snowboard.
Summit Ski Route
Does anyone know the name of this descent?