The Best Summit Views Ever on Sahale Mountain

Where: North Cascades, Washington
When: July 2008
Partners: DB & Ranger Chris
Route: Sahale Glacier
Mileage/Gain: 14/5,100

Armed with heavy packs, DB and I headed up the Cascade Pass Trail in anticipation of doing an overnight climb of Sahale Mountain, a mountain most folks improperly call 'Sahale Peak'. Eventually cruising over Cascade Pass and gaining the Sahale Arm Trail, we caught our first view of our objective.

Our first view of Sahale Mountain

As we continued up the trail, we were able to look down to Doubtful Lake and out to the unbelievably and impossibly delicious alpine peaks that surrounded us!
Looking down to Doubtful Lake and out to the high peaks to the south

Gaining snow near the toe of the Sahale Glacier, we slogged across to find an available camp in this, the highest designated camp site in North Cascades National Park, and reportedly the finest high camp in the entire mountain range!
Looking for a spot to camp near the toe of the Sahale Glacier

On the hike up, we'd bumped into a young man named Chris. He introduced himself as a new NPS ranger who'd been assigned as that day's task to explore his national park. He'd never climbed a mountain before -ever- and asked to accompany us to the summit. Sure!
Glacier Peak in the distance as we head up Sahale Glacier

Setting up a quick camp, we tied a rope around Chris' waist, put DB in the middle, and I led out - in my tennis shoes!

As we approached the class 4-5 summit pyramid, we headed directly up the final, short 50-degree firn slope that would put us on terra firma. Gaining the rock at the top of the snow, we traversed left and then I led up what proved to be only class 3-4 rock.
Scrambling up the summit pyramid

On top, the views were the sweetest I've ever seen!
Looking northwest to Mount Baker, Eldorado Peak & Forbidden Peak

Boston Peak to the north

Rather than climb back down the west side of the summit crag, we rappelled the south face and started back down the glacier.
DB rappelling from the summit pyramid

Returning to camp, having bid Chris farewell so that he could hike back out to civilization, DB and I had dinner and marvelled at the intense scenery around us. A fun climb, and a terrific day!
Rising the next morning, I opened the tent flap, gazed out, and saw before me...

Enjoying the brief company of our mountain goat, we had breakfast, broke camp, and began our descent.
With camp broken, it's time to head out

Looking south to Mix-up Peak on the descent

Looking south/southwest to The Triplets

Paul and Liza below Cascade Peak and Johannesburg Mountain