The Baker, Shuksan, Sahale Trilogy

This is your opportunity to climb three of the most iconic peaks in the North Cascades in one week. Come and climb Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and Sahale Peak with us. Non of these peaks are very demanding on a technical level, but they offer a level of introduction into alpine climbing that would be hard to match in a different area of the Lower 48 states.

$1,980.00
Difficulty rating and Skill requirements
Difficulty Rating System explained
Overall Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult. 
Technical Diffiulty: Moderate. You should have good basic coordinative abilities, be comfortable with exposure and ready to use crampons in terrain up to 40 degrees of frozen snow and or ice. 
Fitness Requirement: Very good fitness required. This trip is very strenuous due to its length and objective to summiting three peaks in a row. 
  • Category: Alpine
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 2:1, 4:2, 6:3

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Peak 1: Mount Baker is a heavily glaciated volcano and the route up the Coleman and Deming Glaciers is scenic, technically entertaining and physically strenuous enough so that you will feel challenges but ready for the next step. Besides climbing a very cool glaciated peak, you will be introduced to roped glacier travel and crampon technique up to 40 degrees of steepness. Mount Baker tops out at 10780 feet, which is just high enough to start feeling the altitude a bit, but prior acclimatization is not a big topic, which is a huge plus.


Peak 2: Mount Shuksan is arguably the most photographed mountain of North Cascades National Park. At 9135 feet it is not as high as Mount Baker, but the slightly lower starting elevation up and more technical summit tower certainly make the effort comparable. We will be climbing Mount Shuksan via the well known Sulphide Glacier route, which can be divided into three very distinct parts. You start out via a nice hike up the forest. This leads to the lower reaches of the expansive Sulphide Glacier, which in turn leads to the famous rocky summit pyramid. Here the mode of climbing switches from moderate glacier travel to exposed scrambling on 4th class terrain all the way to the lofty summit.


Peak 3: Sahale Peak has it all. At 8631 feet, Sahale is the "lowest" of the three summits, but maybe the most diverse in what the route has to offer. We will climb up into the famous Boston Basin and camp below Forbidden Peak. The route will take us up the Quien Sabe Glacier to the Boston-Sahale Col and from there to the summit. The summit views are considered the best in the Cascades by many climbers.


A few words about this Triology Trip: You will be climbing over 20000 feet of vertical over the course of 6 days of climbing. Even though not technically demanding, this trip is physically demanding, since the terrain is uneven, you are sleeping outside and for more than half the time you will be carrying an overnight pack. Very good physical fitness is a must for proper enjoyment of this amazing mountain experience.


ITINERARY

Day 1: We will meet you at the Ranger Station in Glacier, WA. The exact time will be communicated to you by the office or the guide prior to the start of your trip. After introductions and a final gear check, we will commute up the the Heliotrope Ridge trailhead at 3600 feet. Our hike through the forest and up the steep moraine to our camp at 6000 feet will take about 3 hours. If we are lucky with the weather, the sunset will be nothing short of spectacular with glaciers above us and the sunset over the Puget Sound Islands to the west as well as the City lights of Vancouver to the north west. 

Day 2: An early start (pre-dawm for sure) will get us up onto the Coleman Glacier, past the spectacular North Face of Colfax Peak and onto the Coleman-Deming Col. From here we will go up the Roman Wall to the summit plateau and cross it to Grant Summit at 10780 feet. The ascent is not super technical, but the almost 5000 feet of elevation gain makes for a good effort. From the summit, we will descend back to our camp and all the way down to the car. A big day to be sure, but we will get some good rest in Glacier.

Day 3: The morning starts out leisurly with a drive around Mount Baker to its south side and up the Baker Lake Road to the Shuksan Sulphide trailhead at about 3000 feet. The approach to camp is a pretty solid day. With an initial hike up and through the forest until we reach the lower reaches of the Sulphide Glacier at around 5000 feet. One final push will get us to our camp at around 6500 feet. 

Day 4: Another early start will get us up the gentle slopes of the Sulphide Glacier to the base of the summit pyramid, around 8300 feet. Here the climb changes radically in character from crampon work on glaciated terrain to rock scrambling in exposed, but never difficult rock. We should reach the 9127 foot summit in about 4 hours. Just like on the Mount Baker day, we have to get back to camp and all the way down to our car. Burgers, beer and a bed will be in Marblemount. 

Day 5: This day is a scheduled as a rest and/or weather day. 

Day 6: From Marblemount we will drive up the Cascade River Road to the famous Boston Basin trailhead and hike the steep forest to our scenic camp at 5400 feet.

Day 7: As per usual, we will get an early start and hike up the glacier polished slabs to the lower margin of the Quien Sabe Glacier, at about 7000 feet. From here we "glacier travel" up to the Boston-Sahale Col, take our crampons off and move carefully up the easy, but exposed ridge to the short summit tower of Sahale Peak. A couple moves of easy fifth class climbing and you will find yourself on one of the most scenic summits in the North Cascades. It is worth noting that even though Sahale Peak is the shortest of the three summits with summit elevation of 8650 feet, it is still quite physical. This has to do mostly with the rough and steep terrain of the Boston Basin area. After summiting, we will go down to camp and hike out to the car. You can assume to be back in Marblemount (which is about 2.5 hours from Seattle) around 3 to 4pm. 

 

**We highly advise to not make any flight arrangements in the evening of the 7th day. It can be done, but we cannot guarantee the arrival in Marblemount and it adds unnecessary stress to your last day. 

Equipment List for Triology: 


BASE LAYER


o 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight


o Non-Cotton Underwear


o 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight


o Sock Liners - 2 or 3 pair


o Socks - 2 pair 


MID LAYER


o Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece Jacket - only one of these is necessary


o Soft Shell type pants


OUTERWEAR


o Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket


o Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants - may be omitted w/ soft shell type pants


o Warm Hat - should cover ears


o Sun Hat - baseball type or visor


o Lightweight Gloves - wind block or fleece/wool type


o Warm Gloves


o Gaiters - low top or full size


INSULATION


o Down or Synthetic Jacket


PERSONAL GEAR


o Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter (3100 cu in.) minimum


o Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 20 deg. F. minimum


o Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating


o Mountaineering Boots - leather or synthetic, crampon compatible


o Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended w/ extra batteries


o Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth


o Water Purification - tablets or filter


o Bowl or Cup


o Utensils


o Small Knife


o Glacier Glasses


o Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof


o Lip Balm - SPF 15+


o Lighter or Matches


o Personal Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, waterless hand cleaner, etc.


o Small Personal 1st Aid Kit - blister repair, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.


TECHNICAL GEAR


o Ice Axe - 55-70 cm length


o Crampons - 10 or 12 point steel or aluminum depending on conditions and route.


o Anti-ball plates - for crampons o Climbing Helmet - UIAA approved only o Climbing Harness - mountaineering style (e.g. B.D. Alpine Bod)


o 2 Locking Biners - (1) large HMS style and (1) regular locker


o 4 Non-locking Biners - any style, we prefer wire gate type


o 1 Cordelettes - 6 mm diameter, 6 meter lengths, untied


o 2 Sewn Slings - 1 single length (60 cm), 1 double length (120 cm)


o Ice Screws (2) - 13-17 cm length 


OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate


o Adjustable Trekking Pole(s) - nice to have for approach/crevasse navigation


o Camera - we’re always looking for some shots for the PGS website!


o Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep


o Thermos - vacuum type


o Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebook works


o Ropeman or Tibloc - used in the crevasse rescue system


o Compass - adjustable declination required


o Altimeter - Suunto watch works well


o Map Case - large zip-loc will suffice


o Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp


GROUP GEAR PROVIDED BY PGS *Please contact the guiding office if you prefer to bring your own gear in place of any of our group gear.


o Tents


o Stoves


o Fuel


o Cooking Pots


o Ropes


o Technical Gear such as elaborate crevasse rescue kit and trad gear.


o Group 1st Aid Kit


o VHF radio or Satellite phone

Where will we be meeting? We will either be meeting in Glacier, WA or Marbelmount, WA. This will depend on weather and in which direction it would be best to travel. In most cases we will place to meet at the Ranger Station in Glacier, WA. 


Driving directions to the Glacier Ranger Station: Take Interstate 5 north to Hwy 542 in Bellingham and go east to the town of Glacier. Driving time is about 3 hours from Seattle. The ranger station is located about 0.5 miles east of town on the right hand side. You can CLICK HERE for a Google Map link to the ranger station.


How big or rather small should my pack be? Try to fit your gear into a 50 liter pack.


Does PGS provide food? No, you are responsible for your own food.  We are glad to help with food suggestions though. You can CLICK HERE to check out our food recommendations for packing for your trip.