Sahale via Quien Sabe 2018

Apologies for the lack of updates. I’ve been training for a marathon and did a 20 mile run after Glacier Peak. Turns out my knee didn’t like that so I had to take two weeks for the IT inflammation to subside, and then another week of recuperating. Oh well =(

Sahale is my favorite climb, hands down (at least so far). It has a little bit of everything: bushwhacking, steep climbers trails, slab climbing, glacier climbing, some fun 4th class moves, and a superhighway of a trail for the exit. I try to climb it every year, so here it goes

  • Distance: ~18 miles for the approach and descent according to my Garmin (supposed to be around 15.5 Garmin)
  • Elevation gain: 5,669′  total according to Garmin
  • Weather: Mild but very smokey
  • What did I eat: Skratch (strawberry), Pork jerky, trail mix, and a lot of pizza
  • Suffer Factor (out of 10): 5 because of the smoke
  • Maps/Tracks:

Since this was a Mountaineers trip we didn’t move nearly as quickly as I normally would, which is fine. We can all use a relaxing climb ;). Nevertheless, we started the approach from Cascade Pass Trailhead around 0345.

Hooray for predawn starts

The approach to Boston has gotten easier for me (over the last few years). It’s still a fairly steep approach, but definitely cruiser, with some great views of Johannesburg as you pop in and out of the trees

Johannesburg before sunrise
aaaaaand Johannesburg an hour later

Boston Basin, as always, is impressive. This year the smoke made it hard to see things far away, but at least we were able to see the mountains surrounding the basin, like Torment, Forbidden, Sharkfin, Boston, and Sahale.

The basin is snow free until the glacier. There are a number of waterfalls and streams to filter water, and the slabs are mostly dry. We made it from Boston camp to the toe of the glacier in about an hour

The glacier itself is starting to open up. The large bergschrund span a majority of the upper part of the Quien Sabe. A route on the climbers left can be taken, which involves a traverse above the bergschrund. There is also a small (like 2 foot) snow bridge on the right third of the bergschrund, which is what we took. This bridge will probably last a few more days before collapsing. Further right, where the glacier meets a rock spire, the ice is exposed and is fairly steep, so you’ll want to protect it with ice screws if you’re going to attempt it.


Above the bergshrund is easy going. You can travel on the ridge all the way to the summit. The final move onto the summit is exposed 4th class, but bomber hands and foot placements.


Someone left a rappel line on the anchor, which puts you on a big ledge you need to scramble down from. We elected to do a double rope rappel all the way down to the snowfield. From there, it was an easy walk across the Sahale Glacier. We chose to go unroped because we could see where the crevasses were and the snow was solid.

Sahale Camp has plenty of running water. From there it was just under 3 hour to get back to the trailhead!

Great day with a strong group of Mountaineers!!!


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