Ascent of Sahale Peak on 2021-10-03

Climber: Reed Russell

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, October 3, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bicycle
Peak:Sahale Peak
    Elevation:8680 ft / 2645 m

Ascent Trip Report

Start Time: 0359
Start Elevation: 2,160’
Start Location: Eldorado Peak TH

@ Cascade Pass TH: 0511, 3,630’
Time Elapsed: 1:03
Distance: 3.16m
Elevation Gain: 1,440’

Depart Cascade Pass TH: 0525

@ Cascade Pass: 0700, 5,385’
Time Elapsed: 2:25
Distance Total: 6.7m
Elevation Gain Total: 3,200’

@ Doubtful Lake Split: 0745, 6,075’
Time Elapsed: 3:15
Distance Total: 7.5m
Elevation Gain Total: 3,820’

@ Sahale Peak Summit: 1145, 8,681’
Time Elapsed: 7:15
Distance total: 9.7m
Elevation Gain Total: 6,350’

Depart Summit: 12:30

@ Toe of Sahale Glacier: 1320, 7,690’
Time Elapsed: 8:28

@ Eldorado Peak TH: 1640

Tons of water below/along the Sahale Arm, even in October.

Cascade River Rd was washed out, and has been all summer, so if you’re looking to his Cascade Pass you’ll have to park at Eldo TH and walk in an extra 3 miles. I brought Mindy’s bike and pushed it up about 2 miles, storing it near the washout and covering it in leaves for the return back to car.

It snowed lightly on the way to Cascade Pass TH, but obviously nothing stuck. The weather called for cloudy in the AM briefly, and sunny thereafter; that would be a very incorrect forecast. Bathrooms at the TH.

The initial switchbacks were long, and not very steep at all. Once out of them, the trail hugs above the Cascade Valley and provides sweeping views of the large peaks to the South, Johannesburg, the Triplets, Mix-Up Peak. Cascade Pass has a toilet facility right, and some benches where you can enjoy views. There were none for me on the way up.

From here, made a left and continued up and onto the Sahale Arm. Trail becomes less defined a ways up, but there’s enough cairns and visual stimuli to know where you’re going up the arm. Eventually there were tons of wind breaks for places to establish camp all along the arm. It felt very similar to Lunch Counter on Adams.

I sat in a windbreak at the toe of the Sahale Glacier to try and wait out the weather, which by this time was extremely cold and windy, not what I had been expecting and I’m glad that I brought my down, I almost left it in the car. Conditions quickly became white out, but I decided to try my luck along the glacier. A few climbers I passed suggested that the crevasses were easily identifiable, but that it had snowed a few inches over night. I wasn’t worried.

I stepped onto the glacier with some tracks loaded, put on my sunglasses to try and help see, which it did a little. There’s an initial gain at this point in the year to make the glacier “ridge,” and from there I saw a few large crevasses that were opened but were easy to end run. Rather than split two of them, I found a bridge over a moat connecting the glacier with a rock formation, which I used to dump myself back out onto the glacier. There were no tracks, which told me the snow had in fact fallen several inches, or I was blazing my own path.

I tried to stick to the rocks as best I could when making my final push up to the summit block. Straight ahead if you hit it from most tracks, you’ll run into a 3rd class gully, which is what I used to rappel down from here. However, the rock was so wet that managing the climb in my boots was not going to work, and I had to bail and reassess. also, I grabbed a large boulder on the way up, pulling myself, when I felt it go. It cascaded down the mountain, destroying everything in its path. Fortunately I was to its side when it pulled loose, otherwise significant injury would have occurred.

I went climbers left around the west side of the peak and thought the rock looked like class 4, but more dry and with better holds, so I went up. It was a good clip up, with some exposure, at least I thought. The white out continued but I could briefly see Boston, and its traverse, which looked super fun, I need to come back and do it again.

I set up rappel on the summit block, three wrapped cords with two rap rings. My 30m rope wasn’t quite long enough, and when I reached the end of it, I was forced to place a nut into a crack, extend a runner to it and clip in as anchor while I came off the rope. The remainder of the down climb was easily manageable. The whiteout cleared on the way down the glacier, and I could appreciate the size of these few crevasses.

The bike ride from mile 2 where I stashed it had me cruising back to the car in about 9 minutes. Definitely worth pushing it up in the first place.

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Bicycle, Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Route:Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm
    Start Trailhead:Eldorado TH  
    Time:7 Hours 16 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 10 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Reed Russell
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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