Ascent of The Sugarloaf on 2017-04-15

Climber: Richard Shaw

Date:Saturday, April 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Sugarloaf
    Elevation:7789 ft / 2374 m

Ascent Trip Report

McClure Rock - Sugar Loaf - Cowlitz Rocks traverse. Due to the snow being super unconsolidated and being solo, I did not think I could manage breaking trail up to Cowlitz Rocks by the standard route. So, instead followed the Camp Muir track to just south of the Sugar Loaf, then traversed northeast and up to the summit of Sugar Loaf knoll. This was a mistake as the snow was super soft. Better just to follow the Camp Muir trail to above the Sugar Loaf and then descend back to the summit. From the Sugar Loaf, traversed northeast across the Paradise Glacier at around the 8000 ft. contour line until clear of the steep slopes & and crevasses below until reaching a better slope angle. Then continued to descend west toward the ridge northwest of Cowlitz Rocks saddle - very soft snow, slow going. Descended on the west side of the ridge until reaching the saddle northwest of the summit. This area was windblown and icy. Exchanged snowshoes for crampons. Ascended the northwest ridge staying well back from cornices to attain the summit. From the saddle to the summit was all ice with some melted out scree. From the summit descended west and picked up a skiers track that I watch come up the valley when I traversed the Paradise Glacier. Also, passed a show shoe party of 4 coming up the valley making the descent along the standard route very manageable. Not a bad option for unconsolidated snow - though be prepared for the obvious risks crossing the Paradise Glacier.
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