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The Climbing Club • View topic - Sahale and Buckner June 26-8

The Climbing Club

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:57 pm 
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Long time reader, first time poster, trying to respond to the call for more trip reports...

Short Version: Trevor, Craig, Vanessa, and I had some fun in the sun and bagged 2 awesome peaks. This was one of those wonderful trip plans that went off with barely a hitch.

Sahale is in the foreground and Buckner looms in the distance.

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Long Version:
Original objective was Rainier, but high camp overnight forecasts in the 60's scared us off. Trevor and I wanted to camp at Sahale glacier on Friday night, but couldn't get a permit. In fact, we got the last permit for Saturday from the Marblemount ranger station at 5pm on Friday. So, we waited it out car camping off of one of the logging roads a few miles outside of the National Park boundary, along Cascade River Road. Departing the trailhead at 6:30, we went up to Cascade pass and then hit Sahale Glacier by 11:15 for lunch.

View from camp.
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Mountain goats aplenty
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Vanessa was feeling under the weather, and may have had some mild AMS, so she opted for a siesta while Trevor, Craig, and I continued on to Buckner. The ridge connecting Sahale to Buckner does not drop very low, but would make for a very technical and long traverse, so it was necessary to drop nearly 1000 feet into Horseshoe basin to get around the cliff bands that make up the Southeast ridge of Sahale. There was a key snow finger in a narrow gully that let us get into the basin early. The traverse of the basin was easy, but very hot, and occasionally required some route finding to avoid streams and slippery rock.

I guess this is why they call it the Cascades...
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We were able to go up the Southwest face of Buckner to the summit ridge without too much trouble. Some 35-40 degree snow and class 2 scrambling. From there, it was a quick class 2/3 scramble to the summit. The summit register was pretty well hidden, but the most recent entry was from May 30. There were also no visible tracks along our route, so this doesn’t seem to be a very popular mountain.

Craig atop the peak. The formidable Boston Glacier is on the right side.
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The descent followed a very similar route- just optimized slightly to maximize glissading. We also investigated some apparent debris from an old mining operation, but couldn’t find any mine entrances. Getting back to camp of course required re-gaining the 1000ish feet that we lost getting into Horseshoe basin. We made it back to camp around 6:45, capping the day off at 12.3 miles and 7300 feet gained.

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Because we were camped right at the base of Sahale Glacier, we were able to sleep in. Our route took us up to the Southeast side of the summit, encountering easy snow travel, until cornices forced us onto rock. Craig led two short pitches. Route confusion and bad rock essentially led us to climbing up the rappel route, and a class 3+ route turned into 5.easy. Because of the relative inexperience of the non-Craig members, Craig led with two ropes, I followed on one rope, and then Trevor and Vanessa simul climbed, with Trevor cleaning the protection. We narrowly beat a group of a dozen Mountaineers who were coming from the north side to the summit. A short rappel and a thrilling glissade later, and we were back in camp for a quick lunch. We broke camp and blasted through the 5.7 miles back to the trailhead, racing inclement weather to the treeline. It turned out that the weather held, and the predicted thunderstorms never made an appearance, which was probably good for the early afternoon summit congestion.

Craig and Vanessa got a head start up to Sahale
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:32 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:18 pm
Posts: 216
Location: Warm sunny rock
Thanks for the trip report, Brad! I'm jealous of your weekend.

There was afternoon thunder & lightning in Seattle on Sunday, so hightailing it out of there on Sunday was a good call, even if the weather never made it to you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:43 pm 
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Mountain Rhombus
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Location: Near the taco truck
It was a great trip and worked out about perfect to our plans. Here is a


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