Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sahale Arm - 7/17/10

As I left the house at 2:30 a.m. Friday I felt mostly rested, but my body did not appreciate being roused at such an unusual hour. After collecting Hye and Shayna, we arrived at the Marblemount Ranger station in a respectable 5 hours from Northwest Portland. We hung out on the lawn for a bit while waiting for the rest of our crew to arrive, and once assembled, caravanned to the Cascade Pass trail head.

From here we began the march up to Cascade Pass. The weather was perfect: cool enough for hiking but with clear skies for unobstructed views. After resting on the patio at Cascade Pass we headed up the Sahale Arm proper. The higher we got on the Sahale Arm, the better the views. As we hiked I recalled the sign I saw posted as we rolled into the town of Marblemount welcoming us to "The American Alps". I’ve never been to Switzerland, but this area is very close to what I’ve imagined.
The hills are alive...

This climb could easily be done in and out in a long day from the trail head, but our trip was designed to flow at a more leisurely pace. Our plan was to camp at the base of the Sahale Glacier and summit the next day, then spend another night at camp before hiking out Sunday.

First break out of camp on Saturday

In addition to the views, one of the main advantages of camping at Sahale camp is that the summit is only 1,000’ away. Our group set off ~8 a.m. Saturday for the leisurely jaunt to the summit block. As we first headed out I was hopeful that we were getting an early enough start that we would have the mountain to ourselves that day. Unfortunately, being a group of 10 meant that there was a fair amount of standing around while our leader, Jeff, setup a fixed line and we each headed up to the summit one after the other. This additional time allowed for several other groups to catch up with us. By the time we were all on top, several other climbing parties were beginning their assault on the summit block from both the Quien Sabe and Sahale Glacier sides of the mountain. After a few quick photos, we made an orderly rappel descent to make room for the other groups.

Hanging out on top

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out in camp taking naps, snacking, and even a bit of Hacky Sack. There were a couple of goats that hung around camp for most of the weekend, which also kept us entertained. The wind kicked up quite a bit Saturday evening, which meant interrupted sleep for many of us.

Home sweet home

The Loo With a View

Photo taken while using the Loo With a View. Intimidated the poop out of me...literally.

After the hike out on Sunday everyone seemed tired, hungry, and ready for a nap, so we stopped at the Skagit River Brewery in Mount Vernon to refuel before continuing the long drive home. I had a good time getting to know my team members on this trip since I didn’t know most of them beforehand. Thanks to Jeff for putting together a great trip!

I’ll be headed back to this area for a climb of Sloan Peak next month, so stay tuned for another trip report.

1 comment:

  1. I have always wanted to stay at Sahale Glacier Camp. I am in Oklahoma and intend to fly out either in 2012 or 2013(probably August) just for this hike. I have no experience climbing, so the glacier summit is probably out for me. I am just concerned about getting a permit to stay there. I wonder how many people a day try to get the permit.