Sahale Mountain, aka Sahale Peak

Sahale Glacier Route 

The Sahale Glacier route to the summit of Sahale Mountain is possibly the easiest climb in the Cascade Pass area and a good candidate for the most crowded as well. At 14 miles round trip with 5100 vertical feet of gain, the climb is easily done in a single day but spending a night at the 7200' Sahale Camp would not be a bad thing. The glacier itself is easy with few if any crevasse problems to consider. The most difficult portion is the short climb of the summit rocks.

Chris Mattson and I left the Cascade Pass Trailhead a little after 8:30am. It was a sunny day with the forecast for sunshine into the evening but then clouds and rain developing overnight. The hike to Cascade Pass is a bit tedious. It is 3.7 miles to the pass with only 1800 vertical feet of gain and incredible 35 switchbacks. That's right, a switchback every tenth of a mile and an average of 51 feet of vertical gain between. It felt like we were getting nowhere but we finally arrived at Cascade Pass where the crowds were building. We crossed through the pass and descended a short distance to the Sahale Arm Trail and started up. The trail reaches the crest of the arm near 6200 feet where the views change from good to really good.

Chris Mattson on Salale Arm with Johannesburg Mountain in the background


Sahale Peak from Sahale Arm

We continued upward to the rocky area below 7200 foot Sahale Camp. A few cairns indicated what was presumably the easiest way up through the talus and scree to the camp. From the camp we started up the easy slopes of the Sahale Glacier and end ran one crevasse at the top of the moderate slope. It is easiest to bear rightward and climb to the rocky divide between the Sahale Glacier and the Davenport Glacier then ascend the divide to just below the summit. Class 3 just right of the crest leads to the beginning of two possible routes to finish the climb. We scrambled up to a roomy belay ledge where there is a piton for belaying and/or rappelling. Chris belayed me as I climbed the first 20 feet which isn't particularly hard (class 4, some call it 5.0, used one #2 chock), but is the hardest of this particular route. Once above this the climbing was easy. I belayed Chris up. Another party was climbing just south of us but we were happy that it was only one other party and not several. We rappelled down to the belay ledge (bring a long sling and a 50 meter rope). Hmmm... the easiest route is supposed to be on the NE. From the ledge I descended a few feet then traversed ledges and climbed to the NE ridge. After ascending the ridge a few feet I traversed into a gully and climbed back to the summit. This route was much easier (class 3-4). I down climbed the route and we headed back to Sahale Arm. A shortcut saved us a bit of time but didn't do a thing to reduce the number of switchbacks. We arrived back at the crowded trailhead at 5:00pm.

Chris climbing to the summit


Buckner and Goode from Sahale Mountain


Eldorado and Forbidden to the NW


Two of the many possible routes on the summit rocks 
(From Sahale/Davenport Glacier Divide)

Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 2, Second Edition; Fred Beckey; Pages 305 
Climbing Washington's Mountains; Jeff Smoot; Pages 78-83