Ascent of Sahale Peak on 2018-07-15

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Mr. Wymore (Stayed behind)
Date:Sunday, July 15, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sahale Peak
    Elevation:8680 ft / 2645 m

Ascent Trip Report

Jobe and I had climbed Buckner the day before and were camping at Sahale Glacier, with Sahale peak looming above us very closely. We thought about doing this side-trip after Buckner the day before, but decided against it due to fatigue and the soft afternoon snow on a hot day.

So we got up early on Sunday from our campsite, and we started heading uphill at 5 AM. There was a trenched footway in the snow up the snowfield/glacier that we merged into, and it took us uphill on an efficient diagonal to the right, around incipient crevasses. The route headed to the col just north of the 8425' Sahale Benchmark, and then up to the summit pinnacle and along the moat below the south face. The snow footway ended at the base of the sharply defined SW ridge, 100' below the summit.

We took off our crampons and I started up the crest of the SW ridge, which right away featured a tricky class 3+ move. Jobe was not super interested in this peak and quickly decided that this kind of unroped scrambling was not for him, so I continued alone a bit further only to find my ridge route blocked by a giant smooth boulder I did not feel I could pass safely.

So I looked around and elected to descend some steep slabs to my left, down the NW face. This was tricky and the face had a lot of steep and loose red rocks. I crossed this area, got on to better gray rock, and climbed up to a obvious weakness in the N ridge--I had bypassed the summit entirely, and now just had a short climb southwards to the top. This went OK at first but the final move stymied me for bit, mainly due to my concern about downclimbing it. When I saw a steppy ramp above the NW face that looked like a good alternate decent option, I pulled myself up the final huge smooth block and to the summit.

This was about the airiest perch I had ever attained--a real spire in the sky. I took some photos, yelled down to Jobe, and noted the rappel anchors that made me wish I had brought my rope and harness. I had no food or water, and plenty of anxiety about getting down, so after touching all the highest rock candidates, I was out of there.

The downclimb was actually not too bad. I did not need my steppy ramp, since I was able to comfortably butt-side down the key slab off the summit. The red-rock gully was still crappy, but I ascended back up to the SW ridge by another route, avoiding the sketchy slabs. The solid blocks of the SW ridge took me back to my stashed pack, axe, and crampons. I saw someone over by the benchmark, and assumed it was Jobe, so I took a short break, got my snow gear on, and headed downhill.

The descent on the snow was easy and fast--the slope angle was such that I could face out the entire way, helped by nice bucket footsteps on the steepest sections. I saw Jobe heading for camp and I cruised on down, arriving not long after him. Later I found out that the guy I saw earlier was from another party camped near the benchmark.

I do not know if my route up the Sahale summit pinnacle is the best or easiest--it seems that others climb the south face directly, or head around the base of the east face to get to the north ridge, where I finished my route. But all routes will involve some class 4 and exposure, I believe.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1040 ft / 316 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    Route:Sahale Glacier
    Trailhead:Sahale Glacier Camp  7640 ft / 2328 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:40 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: 2018 - Buckner/Sahale (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Buckner2018-07-14 a9604 ft / 2927 m
2Mount Buckner-Northeast Peak2018-07-14 b52 ft / 16 m
3Sahale Peak2018-07-151040 ft / 317 m
Total Trip Gain: 10696 ft / 3260 m    Total Trip Loss: 10696 ft / 3260 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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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.

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