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| | |-+  July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
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Author Topic: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH  (Read 3300 times)
Jeff Huber
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July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« on: 07/01/13, 02:19 PM »

For several years I’ve wanted to ski Glacier Peak. Each summer when my friend Jonathan would visit we would plan to ski it but every year something came up – the weather was bad, the road was closed, etc. This year we finally made it happen. We were joined by two very fit skiers, Brian Edmiston and Mike Hagen from Colorado. We brought full glacier gear and two ropes along with lightweight ski mountaineering gear. My partners had Scarpa Alien 1.0 boots and lightweight Hagan skis with race bindings while I carried “heavy” TLT5s[1] and Dynafit Seven Summit Superlight skis with Dynafit Comforts. Our glacier gear consisted of a 30m and 46m rope, lightweight CAMP Alp 95 harnesses, and hardware sufficient for self-rescue and setting up a hauling system.


Caption: Glacier Peak from the ridge east of White Peak.

June 28th
After spending the night at the Darrington Motor Inn (reasonably priced and nice – but also your only lodging option in Darrington!) we drove to the NF Sauk TH and hiked to White Pass. The trail was in good shape. The crux was brutal heat going up the switchbacks after Macinaw Shelter. After White Pass we contemplated continuing further but concerned by dark clouds we setup camp at snow-free spots on White Pass next to running water. That night it rained lightly and there were a few distant roars of thunder.
 
June 29th
We awoke in a whiteout at White Pass but prepared as if it would soon break which it indeed did. We crossed the ridge east of White Peak with half of the party booting and the other half skinning to a notch in the ridge. From there we skied a high traverse and then skinned to Glacier Gap and then north to the moraine west of the “Gerdine Glacier”[2], which we booted up and then skinned seasonal snow adjacent to the moraine. At a flat bench at 8420' we roped up and skinned across the Gerdine Glacier to the saddle east of Disappointment Peak where the Gerdine and Cool glaciers meet. We gained the Cool Glacier carefully navigating over a few snow bridges and headed west to the ridge south of the summit snowfield. We encountered a brief but intense rain shower that lasted for about 10 minutes but soon we were in sunshine heading up the southwest summit snowfield. Half of the party booted while the other half skinned.

The views from the summit were fantastic and I was excited to have finally reached the last of what I consider the "skiable" Cascade volcanoes above 10,000ft[3]. It had taken me 12 years to ski them all with my first being Lassen Peak in 2001. This was also Brian and Jonathan’s last > 10,000ft volcano.


Caption: Jonathan Shefftz, Mike Hagen, and Brain Edmiston and their Hagan skis on the summit with Sitkum Spire in the background.


The snow down the summit snowfield was heavy, slushy snow but below the snowfield the snow skied well. We were able to ski to near Glacier Gap after which we had several sections of booting. Crossing the White Chuck was much slower than expected as it was covered with bumpy algae-laden snow which was not optimal for glide and required poling or skating even on descending slopes. Back at White Pass we packed up camp and headed to the TH. We arrived in the dark tired but satisfied. My Garmin had the trip distance as 34.95 miles.

I’m glad to have Glacier Peak done. It’s a beautiful volcano in a beautiful setting but a long walk. I was the least fit in the group and appreciate my partners' patience.



[1] – Although I use to think of the TLT5s as best in class for lightweight general ski mountaineering, the trip is making me reconsider. The Scarpa Alien 1.0s are 1.4lb lighter per pair per manufacture specifications and functionally very similar: the tradeoffs being price ($1800 MSRP for Aliens), stiffness (the Aliens have more carbon fiber and hence greater stiffness), and the Aliens let in more water as the boot liner is more exposed. The Hagan skis are also very light and seem highly functional.

[2] – The name “Gerdine Glacier” doesn’t appear on the USGS topo but several sources use this name.

[3] – I’m only including summits greater than 10,000ft with at least 500ft of prominence and I'm excluding: Little Tahoma, Mt Jefferson, and North Sister. My reference for peak prominence is http://www.peakbagger.com/list.aspx?lid=21317.
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telemack
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/13, 02:26 PM »

Congratulations; two days for Glacier is a pretty good pace.  Those switchbacks are a HUMP in the heat. 
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Kyle Miller
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/13, 05:17 PM »

Awesome work!!! I hate that flat bench in the foreground of your 1st photo. Smiley
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
danpeck
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/13, 05:31 PM »

cool trip.
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Jonathan_S.
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #4 on: 07/02/13, 12:12 PM »

What a great way to finally finish up our volcano quest!
(Now we can just ski only the places we really want to ski...)

Here's our route overview:






This elevation profile conveys very well the initially flat hiking trail, then the switchbacks, after that the mainly flat and rolling on-ski approach, and finally the skin up to Glacier Peak:






And the best part of the tour -- quantitative data analysis:


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Splitboard Graham
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #5 on: 07/02/13, 04:05 PM »

Great to meet you guys up there! And thanks for scraping the slush out of the coulior to the summit! Congrats on the final summit - especially in two days!

Anyone know of a splitboard as light as those Hagan skis?? Kyle??

This was my last summit of WA volcanoes over 10k (still gotta go back and ride some of them, though). I'll put up a separate post with links to pics. 
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chieftaffy
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #6 on: 07/02/13, 04:41 PM »

Nice work JS and crew!
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mikerolfs
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #7 on: 07/04/13, 10:35 AM »

Great report.  I enjoyed every word.  Thanks for the gear comparison.  I ponder the cost per ounce question quite frequently and I have my eye on the new Voile ski as a summer carry ski.  Here is a link.  http://www.voile.com/voile-skis/voile-wasatch-speed-project-skis-2013-2014.html
If it were available for purchase right now I would have it.

I've pondered lighter boots too (I use the Scarpa F1).  I ordered a pair of the F1 race model but sent it back because of the exposed liner above the heel cup.  After your mention of this on the Alien I won't consider that boot either.  I think it is important to be able to walk through a stream, wet grass, wet or deep snow, etc. without introducing water into your shells.


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Jonathan_S.
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Re: July 28-29, 2013, Glacier Peak via NF Sauk TH
« Reply #8 on: 07/04/13, 12:10 PM »

Nice to see Voile getting in the game, and they’re only about half a pound or so off the benchmark of three pounds per pair, so about the same price and weight as an econo model like the 2013-14 Hagan X-Lite.  But those dimensions is kind of ridiculous.  Even compared to the X-Lite, although the waist is off by only 1mm, the tip is 10mm narrower, and the tail is 6mm narrower.  That’s even skinnier than the old Atomic MX:20.  I know that all these dimensions might seem equally narrow to anyone coming from a triple-digit waist, but I’m dubious about the Voile’s utility for any actual backcountry skiing (other than entry level rando racing and fitness skinning).

The non-cf Alien is supposed to come equipped with a separate lycra gaiter.  For the Alien 1.0, the idea apparently is that you use your gaiter-equipped race suit, use pants/tights like the Dynafit Movement, or just don’t care.  But the North American website now lists the gaiter as an after-market option:
http://www.scarpa.com/scarpa/alien-gaiter
The Dynafit EVO/PDG are more sealed up, but the bootsole rubber almost immediately starts sheering off lugs from even moderate off-snow use.

I posted my entire 2003-10 volcano ski quest here:
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/264957-TR-(of-sorts)-PNW-Volcanic-10k-Quest-amp-Glacier-Peak-2003-2013
... with most of them done with Jeff.  Funny to look at some of that heavy gear I was lugging around back then!
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