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2008 Backcountry Trip Reports => August 2008 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: danhelmstadter on 08/24/08, 04:36 PM



Title: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: danhelmstadter on 08/24/08, 04:36 PM
I was amazed to find the Cascade River Road open all the way to its end - a chink in the otherwise impenetrable burliness of North Cascade armour.
I awoke to the sounds of waterfalls, pines swaying in the wind, and ice fall exploding on rocks from the hanging glaciers of J-berg. Got started on the trail around 9am and found the extent of the switchbacks up to Cascade Pass kind of annoying - it seemed more like a trail built for mountain bikers who seek a gentle ride, rather than for climbers trying to get things done, although I can't complain about the maintenance and up keep of the trail itself...
I made excellent time - passing hordes of hikers - all the way up to the Sahale Glacier. There was about a foot of fresh snow blanketing the glacier - which was at times icy under the fresh mash potatoes. I kicked steps up and around to the climbers left side of the summit rock pinnacle, straying from the established boot pack which went to the right and behind/around to easier scrambling gain the summit. I scrambled up perhaps ~70 feet of steep, exposed - but good rock, with the crux being at the top, always feeling just on the safe side of dangerous.
I found a crowd of about 8 people on the tiny/exposed summit, I believe they said they were the Everett mountaineers. I could not get by them to the north side because they blocked the way, so I waited half an hour for each of them to rappel before I could get up and over, waiting on such a summit in fine weather was not a very grueling hardship.
From the very scenic summit, I was disappointed with the appearance of my ski objective. The Quien Sabe looked like a beautiful ski - from Eldorado last weekend, but from close up - it appeared heavily crevassed, and perhaps a touch lower angle than I had hoped for. I decided to ski it regardless; as it did appear to at least yield several thousand feet of fresh snow.
I had to walk my skis down a little ways to reach the top of the Quien Sabe Glacier. Clicking into my skis on deep fresh snow felt great - even if it was a little wet. The turns also felt great, so nice to be skiing on fresh snow once again. I was able to weave around the crevasse field I had scoped from the summit, and found a moderatly pichted descent fall line to the base of the glacier. One little carry and I was able to ski on old corn well below the end of the glacier. A total of about 2000 feet of skiing.
I was a little worried about not being able to find the trail in Boston Basin, but I spotted it from afar without too much anxious gazing. The upper half of the trail was in great condition - wide - no branches or deadfall - but the lower half was overgrown in areas with alder and bushes, minor deadfall, nothing too difficult, but it was a little burdensome with my skis often sticking on the low overhead branches. Once back on the road it was a short walk to my camper. My skis were a magnet for weird , quizzical looks from the hordes of hikers and parking lot loiterers.


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: danhelmstadter on 08/24/08, 04:46 PM
I may thorw in a couple more pics if I can get the thumbnail posting deal worked out -- this pic is kinda lame cause it does'nt show how steep  the rock was.


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: TonyM on 08/25/08, 10:59 AM
Dan-  climbed Shark Fin and saw this from our camp at 7900 feet ... must have been a tough walk down the trail with skis!  Nice one.


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: skierguitarist on 08/25/08, 11:34 AM
And thankyou for another great tr!!!


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: Scotsman on 08/25/08, 12:48 PM
That photo scares me, especially near those holes at mid photo!!
Good job Dan!


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: skimtner on 08/25/08, 04:14 PM
Dan, that first shot is very impressive. Are you gonna go back into Canada and ski some of those lines. I went to Norway and you can ride a t-bar for some  'intermediate terrain', over there. Keep on rackin' 'em up, Rob


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: Big Steve on 08/25/08, 06:05 PM
Whoa, solo on the Quien Sabe in August?  Yeah baby


Title: Re: 8-23-08, Sahale Peak, Quien Sabe Glacier
Post by: Stugie on 08/26/08, 12:00 AM
Nice work Dan!  Holy crappola, way to nab some gnarly tracks in August!  Major kudos!


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