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Alisse

[TR] Sahale Mountain/Peak - Quien Sabe and Sahale Glaciers 05/27/2018

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Trip: Sahale Mountain/Peak - Quien Sabe and Sahale Glaciers

Trip Date: 05/27/2018

Trip Report:

What a trip! What a day! We got excellent conditions and fantastic weather, we got Boston Basin all to ourselves, and we got to ski from the bottom of the snow-free summit pyramid to within a 3-minute walk to the Cascade Pass trailhead. Amazing! 

Cascade River Road is still gated, so we parked at the gate and at 4:15ish in the morning, set off up the road to the Boston Basin trailhead. Carrying skis through the downed trees and minor bushwack was not the best part of the trip. Crossing Midas Creek was not bad. 

Got up onto the ridge right before Boston Basin and switched to skinning (finally!). The morning's low clouds began lifting, creating some beautiful effects.

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Skinning conditions were perfect, styrofoam snow with good ski crampon bites. The Quien Sabe Glacier was in great shape, very few open crevasses (especially our route) so we picked a line that never had us above any open ones. We felt comfortable being unroped until we got up to where it steepens before the Boston-Sahale col; here we switched to crampons/axe/rope/glacier mode. Definitely some more open ones up there, although peering over the edge, it appeared to be more like a big sink-hole with a not-too-deep bottom, but I wasn't about to jump in and test the "floor."

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Up at the col, we were dismayed to see the giant cornices. Hmmm. Hmmm. We've seen the diagrams of cornice "roots" and we know the danger of cornices. Cornice on one side, steep snow on the other with moats and scary things down below. 

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We weighed the options and talked about the risks, the concerns, the (excellent firm) snow conditions, the (now over the horizon) sun. In the end, we chose what was not the absolutely most conservative decision. I'm still thinking about this one.

We picked our way up and as far away from the cornice as possible, getting excellent axe and whippet bites, excellent secure feet. We took our time -- no-fall zone. We got up and over that slope, and could clearly see the summit block now with some less-steep snow and the rock scramble. The snow here was less firm and so I deadmanned a picket before stepping up onto a snowpatch, and then used my 5 slings to protect the rocky section as we continued up. I think we summitted around 11:45 am.

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The summit views were AMAZING!!! 

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We hung out on top for around 30 minutes, then made the one rappel down to the soft snow of the Sahale Glacier. It was a full 30m rappel to the snow.

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Few crevasses, nice snow, and some fun terrain had us hooting down the glacier and then the Sahale Arm. Saw my first marmot of the season (!) lounging and enjoying views of Johannesburg. 

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We were able to stay in the drainage out Cascade Pass and there was continuous snow almost entirely to the Cascade Pass parking lot! Incredible.

Got back to the car around 2:50 and drank beers and smorgasborded.

The worst part was finding out at home that my skis now, too, have become victims of the sticky pollen! I had just waxed them, too.

Gear Notes:
approach shoes, ski crampons, aluminum axe and crampons, crevasse rescue gear, 60m half rope

Approach Notes:
Boston Basin trail with skis...type 2 fun
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Thanks for the TR.

We're thinking of heading up there this week. Sounds like you would probably recommend sticking to Cascade Pass both in and out at this point, at least for skiers?

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WD-40 will strip the pollen off @Alisse, or a true base cleaner.  Nicely done, Sahale is a great summit in any season!

 

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On ‎5‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 1:30 PM, jakedouglas said:

Thanks for the TR.

We're thinking of heading up there this week. Sounds like you would probably recommend sticking to Cascade Pass both in and out at this point, at least for skiers?

I guess it depends on what kind of adventure you want ^_^ Cascade Pass would definitely be the easiest way! We saw 0 people heading up to/in Boston Basin until we were on the summit (then we saw a group of 3 at the very base of the glacier) but as we got onto the Sahale Glacier, we saw probably 10 people.... 

Edited by Alisse

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Cool, sounds good. I saw a photo from last weekend making Cascade Pass direct from the TH look a little thin. Think it'll still go on snow almost a week later now?

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55 minutes ago, jakedouglas said:

Cool, sounds good. I saw a photo from last weekend making Cascade Pass direct from the TH look a little thin. Think it'll still go on snow almost a week later now?

Here is a (cropped) photo from a 30-second walk to the Cascade Pass parking lot/TH. Lots of avy debris (easy to ski in the afternoon) but I think it'll be pretty good even now. Untitled.thumb.png.a8b096a4a062e13906b0ea9630c461d0.png

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