Left PDX Saturday morning at 7:00am and got to the trailhead by 12:00 noon (few stops in between). Bugs were bad so we were on the trail by 12:20pm. After a 4-hour x 3400′ gain, we got to a good camp spot…off the snow, at about 5240′. There were still large patches of snow over the usual camp spots, but we managed to find a decent dry spot, with running water only feet away. After a few hours of setting up camp and gawking at the views, we decided to call it a day.
Sunday we were up at 4:00am and climbing by 4:45am. Not being able to see the Sloan Glacier from camp, we headed up in a SSW direction to gain the NE ridge. We studied this approach the night before and stuck with the plan. As we gained the ridge, we could see we were right on the mark. We then ascended the north edge of the glacier till we got to about 6500′, that’s when we roped up and crossed the glacier. It was still early enough that the crevasses weren’t open, but late enough that the cover could be shallow, so we were cautious about following existing boot tracks. The only sketchy part of the glacier crossing was about 2/3 of the way, we were traversing a very steep slope with a large gaping crevasse directly below…definitely didn’t want to catch a crampon here. The Glacier crossing is about one half mile, and took us about 35-minutes to cross. Now the climb gets REALLY interesting… The corkscrew route is pretty much snow free now, so the obvious path was a pleasure to follow. The mountain goats are really lucky to live here. After following the obvious path around to the west side, the path turns into an obvious dirty steep gully that climbs up for a bit before opening up to a 3rd class scramble…with several ways to go to get up to the last gully leading up to the summit ridge. Once on the ridge, it’s pick your own route…a fun blocky scramble to the actual summit. I think we spent about half hour at the summit enjoying the views, signing the register, and taking pictures, before heading back down. The descent off the summit and down the gullies was slow and careful, but then changed to a really nice walk down the path back to our gear at the edge on the glacier. We then geared back up and crossed back over the glacier, again taking extra care while on the steep traverse over the gaping crevasse. We made it back to camp at about 9:45am, before the snow warmed up too much. We then packed up and were back to the truck by 12:30pm…were the bugs were REALLY bad!
Great climb, with good people. Definitely a Washington classic.