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[TR] Mount Shuksan - Sulphide Glacier 05/05/2018

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Trip: Mount Shuksan - Sulphide Glacier

Trip Date: 05/05/2018

Trip Report:


Went up Shuksan via the Sulphide Glacier route this past Saturday.    We drove out towards Shannon Ridge trailhead Friday night and hit patches of snow around 0.5 miles from the trailhead that prevented us from making it all the way there.  After helping another party get their car un-stuck from some snow we packed our bags and got to trying to sleep around 10:30pm.


We woke up at 2:30am and after a cold breakfast we were headed down the road by 3.   Where the trail wasn't fully exposed there existed some nice boot pack and then skin track after the snow became continuous after ~30min of hiking.  We made it up to the top of Shannon Ridge and we were headed for the notch at approximately 6:00 am.  Heading up to the notch the grade steepened and we encountered more difficult skinning conditions.




About half way up to the notch a member of our part slipped and fell, and as she was on her side I shouted down to her, "Don't lose your skii!".  Sure enough, seconds later her ski popped off and went rocketing down towards a gully on the east side of Shannon Ridge.  The 3 of us watched it in dead silence, until it fortunately came to a stop in some avalanche debris  2 or 300 feet below us.  I was feeling like I had energy to spare so I volunteered to go get the ski while the rest of the party generate some bootpack up to the notch.   After fetching the skii I caught up to them roughly 3/4 of the way up. Once in the sunlight at the notch we took a break and eyed up the traverse that would take us over to the Sulphide.   We opted to continue bootpacking, not wanting to repeat the earlier debacle, and made our way over to the more gentle slops of the Sulphide.   Here a few additional parties caught up and thanked us for the bootpack.  We graciously let them pass us, looking forward to leveraging their bootback on the summit pyramid.


The softer snow on the west edge of the Sulphide provided easy skinning and we just put our heads down and slogged towards the summit pyramid.  Around 7200 a member of our party opted to descend due to sever blisters and foot pain. 




 We made it to the base of the summit pyramid (~11am) just as the other parties were starting to head up.  After a snack and some water we headed up as well.   Snow conditions were good, the majority of the axe placements were very secure and the steps felt solid.  Despite our lack of familiarity with steep snow we made good progress and did not feel the need to use the pickets or rope we had along, although we were glad we had two axes (other individuals only had a single mountaineering axe and seemed fine).  We  stood on the summit at about 12:00 and then descended in slightly mushier snow.   Down at the base of the summit pyramid we melted some snow for extra water and began our ski descent. 



The snow on the descent was OK.   It was a little heavy at this point in the day but still very enjoyable.  The descent isn't entirely continuous as there are some sections where you need to shuffle uphill a bit to get to the next elevation drop.  After many turns and only 1 face-plant, we made it to the notch then Shannon ridge and ultimately the location where I started skinning earlier that morning.  We threw the skis on the packs and made it back to the car at 4pm.   Good day out!

Gear Notes:
Skis, Ice axe, extra tool, - pickets and 30 rope brought but never used.

Approach Notes:
Snow 0.5 miles before the Shannon Ridge Trailhead stopped our vehicle. This snow shouldn't last long.

Edited by Aawait
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