Thursday, August 10, 2006

I finally finished uploading my photos for Sahale Peak so here's the link to my album.

The trip started Sunday afternoon with a 5 hour drive up to Marblemount, Washington. The group rented cabins at the Skagit River Resort. It's a small collection of cabins with a good restaurant and lots of rabbits. The menu in the restaurant has the whole story, but it has something to do with a couple of pet rabbits turning into somewhere around 100 wild rabbits. It's interesting that rabbit isn't on the menu.

Anyway, Monday morning we ate breakfast, drove to the Cascade Pass trailhead and started the approach hike around 10am. The first couple of miles are up to Cascades Pass on a well maintained trail with 30-something switchbacks. We took a short break at Cascade Pass then hiked up to Sahale Arm and on into camp at 7600 feet. From there we had spectacular views of the North Cascades and an amazing sunset. As the sun set we had a full moon rising and I made my first attempts at some night time photography.

Tuesday morning we roped up and headed up the Sahale Glacier. About an hour or so later we reached the summit block which is described at 4th class with a couple of 5th class moves. A couple of us fixed ropes to the top and setup a rap station so we could get the group moving in a circuit. The view from the top was awesome and I was able to spend several hours up there while I helped everyone get setup for the rappel down. For the first time ever I filled up the memory card on my camera, mostly due to all the multi-photo panorama shots I was taking.

After everyone summitted we headed back down to camp, arriving around 3:30pm. A quick powwow and the decision was to hike out that evening due to an increasing chance of rain. The descent from camp was just as beautiful as the approach the day before and we got back to the cars around 9pm. I was eager to get home so I headed out ASAP getting back to Portland around 3am.

The Sahale Peak, Sahale Glacier route is a great climb for those who want to experience all the different aspects of alpine climbing. It has a beautiful, steep approach hike to the highest established campsite in the North Cascades. For those with some climbing experience you can continue on across the Sahale Glacier to the summit block and climb the easy 5th class rock to the summit.

Next up... 6 days until Russia which just became much harder to pack for because of the recent airport security crackdown.

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