Sahale Peak Ski Touring

It's been named the best summit view in the North Cascades and this may well be true. Come see for yourself!

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience recommended;
You should be able to ski black diamond ski slopes at ski areas in just about any condition, and be able to ski ungroomed slopes of intermediate difficulty without any hesitation. You should have at a minimum taken an Introductory ski touring course or have ski toured a few times. You should be familiar with the various components of the gear and basic transitions from ski touring to skiing mode.

Very good physical fitness; 
you should be able to hike or climb for 5 to 6 hours with a pack varying from 20 to 40 lbs. and ascend 3,000 to 4,000 feet of vertical gain per day for 2 to 3 consecutive days.

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 4:1,8:2

* Required Fields

It's been named the best view summit in the North Cascades and this may well be true. Some folks claim that one can see over 200 Cascadian summits from the top at just under 9,000 feet. There is a touch of ski mountaineering involved to reach the actual summit. Skiing down the Sahale Arm or the Quien Sabe Glacier is moderate and the setting is spectacular.

Suggested Itinerary:

Day one:

We will meet at the Ranger Station in Marblemount, conduct a gear check and commute to our roadhead. This should get us skinning by mid morning. We should reach Cascade Pass late in the morning and make it up the short but steep slope to Sahale Arm by early afternoon. We will camp at around 6500 feet. If time and conditions allow, we can go for a ski to the Quien Sabe Glacier in the afternoon.

Day two:

There are several options. We can tour up the upper section of Sahale Arm, ascend the little Sahale Glacier and summit the peak from there. If we want to traverse the mountain, we would have to carry our skis with us. From the Boston Sahale Col we can ski almost 3000 feet down the Quien Sabe Glacier before we would have to head back onto “the Arm”. Of course we could just stash our skis above the Sahale Glacier, summit and return back to the ski depot, or we could do a traverse from the Quien Sabe side. It doesn't really matter, because the scenery is outstanding, all of the options will bring a touch of ski mountaineering and the ski descents are all top notch.

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Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental. Go to Pro Ski and Mountain Service

Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999.

The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.

•            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            Ski Socks - 2 pair
•            MID LAYER
o            Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
o            Schoeller™ type pants - soft shell
•            OUTERWEAR
o            Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
o            Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants Warm Hat - should cover ears
o            Sun Hat - baseball type or visor
o            Lightweight Gloves
o            Ski Gloves
•            INSULATION
o            Down or Synthetic Jacket
o            Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter (3100 cu in.) minimum
o            Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 15º F to 20º F minimum
o            Compression Sack - for sleeping bag           
o            Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating
o            Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
o            Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth
o            Bowl or Cup
o            Utensils
o            Small Knife
o            Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
o            Goggles
o            Sunscreen - SPF >25, waterproof
o            Lip Balm - SPF 15+
o            Lighter
o            Personal Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, waterless hand cleaner, etc.
o            Small Personal 1st aid kit - blister repair (Compeed™), aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
o            Skis - Alpine Touring or Telemark
o            Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark – no downhill boots
o            Ski Poles - telescopic poles work well, but not required
o            Climbing Skins
o            Ski Crampons - THESE ARE REQUIRED!
o            Ski Brakes
o            Transceiver - single frequency,  457 kHz only
o            Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
o            Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice
o            Ice Axe - 55-70 cm length, lightweight
o            Boot Crampons -  aluminum is fine - check fit prior to departure
o            Anti-Ball plates - for crampons
o            Climbing Harness - lightweight, BD Alpine Bod style (no padding)
o            2 Locking Biners - (1) large HMS style and (1) reg. locker
OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate.
o            Camera - we’d like 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            Compass - adjustable declination a must
o            Altimeter - Suunto watch works well
o            Map Case - large zip-loc will suffice
o            Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
o            Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
o            Warm Socks - to sleep in
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 Group Gear, VHF radio or SAT phone
o            Group 1st Aid Kit

Where in the world is Marblemount? Marblemount, WA is located on the western slopes of the North Cascades along State Hwy 20. Driving time from the Seattle area is about 2.5 hours.

Are there places to stay in Marblemount if I get there a day early? Yes, there are reasonable accommodations. You can stay at:

 Totem Trail Motel


57627 State Route 20, Rockport - (360) 873-4535

Buffalo Run Inn

PO Box 133, 60117 State Route 20, Marblemount - (877) 828-6652

Skagit River Resort


(North Cascades Hwy, WA St Rte 20, Mile 103.5), 58468 Clark Cabin Road, Rockport - (360) 873-2250

Does PGS provide food for the trip? No, we do not provide food, but are perfectly happy to make food suggestions.

Can I buy food for the trip in Marblemount? There is a small grocery store in the local Shell Station, but it only carries basic things? The last bigger grocery store is located near Concrete, WA.

I do not have any prior ski mountaineering experience. Can I still come on the trip? If you have prior ski touring experience, are a good skier and are fit, it should not be a problem.  In fact Sahale Peak should be an excellent introduction into the world of ski mountaineering.

Where will we be camped? We will be camped at around 6800 feet on Sahale Arm. From there we can decide to ascend via the Quien Sabe Glacier or the little Sahale Glacier.

Is the skiing difficult? The skiing is not difficult per say, but you will be skiing with an overnight pack in a big variety of snow conditions. Solid skiing ability will make it much more enjoyable. We do not recommend this being your first ski outing with a big pack unless you are an advanced level skier.