Skiing the Cascade Volcanoes
        Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
  Lassen Peak
  Mount Shasta
  Medicine Lake Volcano
  Mount McLoughlin
  Pelican Butte
  Crater Lake
  Mount Bailey
  Mount Thielsen
  Diamond Peak
  Newberry Volcano
  Mount Bachelor
  Broken Top
  Three Sisters
  Mount Washington
  Three Fingered Jack
  Mount Jefferson
  Mount Hood
  Mount Saint Helens
  Mount Adams
  Goat Rocks
  Mount Rainier
  Glacier Peak
  Mount Baker
  Mount Garibaldi
  Mount Cayley
  Mount Meager

| Western view of Glacier Peak from Mt Pugh in October;
Sitkum Glacier is below and right of the summit
(photo by Amar Andalkar)   <click to enlarge>

Glacier Peak
    10541 ft (3213 m) .
Major Peaks:
Summit:     10541 ft (3213 m)
Rabbit Ears:     10190 ft (3106 m)
Disappointment Peak:     9755 ft (2973 m)
Sitkum Spire:     9355 ft (2851 m)
Location: Cascade Range, northern Washington,
70 miles (110 km) ENE of Seattle
Lat / Long: 48.1° N, 121.1° W
Volcanic Type: Stratovolcano
Volcanic Status: Dormant
First Ascent: Thomas Gerdine and USGS party, 1897
First Ski Ascent: Sigurd Hall and Dwight Watson, 1938
First Ski Descent: same
Skiable Vertical: up to 9000 ft (2700 m)
Timberline: 5500-6500 ft (1700-2000 m)
Administration: Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest
Protection Status:   Glacier Peak Wilderness
User Fees: Northwest Forest Pass required for parking
(Sno-Park Permit from November-April)

Glacier Peak is the only true wilderness volcano in the Cascade Range. Unlike the other volcanoes, Glacier Peak has no roads reaching its flanks, and access to its base from any direction involves a hike of several miles. The heavy snowfall of the North Cascades feeds a dozen glaciers which flow from its summit cone in all directions into deep river valleys below. The shortest climbing route follows the White Chuck River Trail for 5 miles and then ascends the fairly inactive Sitkum Glacier along the western flank. This route provides a rare opportunity for solitude on a moderate route on a volcano.

Route Ratings Starting
Quality Effort Ascent Descent
Summit Ski Mountaineering Routes:  
Sitkum Glacier
2300 ft
(700 m)
8300 ft
(2500 m)
22 miles
(35 km)
Easy, barely-crevassed route with a long, 8 mile approach trail. The first 5 miles are rolling up-down trail, which may be unskiable after mid-spring. The forested ridge below camp in Boulder Basin and the upper ridge from Sitkum Spire to the summit offer the only challenging skiing, the rest is very gentle. (See my climbing trip report from August 1998.)
White Chuck Glacier/
  Gerdine Ridge

2300 ft
(700 m)
8300 ft
(2500 m)
34 miles
(50 km)
Easiest, crevasse-free summit route follows the south ridge. Long 12 mile approach trail, sharing the first 7 miles with the Sitkum approach. Many skiing possibilities near 6000-8000 ft level on White Chuck Glacier. Gerdine Ridge above may be snow-free by early summer, so route may need to detour east onto the edge of the Gerdine Glacier.
Kennedy Glacier/
  Frostbite Ridge

  from White Chuck River

2300 ft
(700 m)
8300 ft
(2500 m)
25 miles
(40 km)
Steeper, heavily-crevassed glacier route on the NW side. Upper portion of route could follow left edge of Kennedy Glacier, or cross over to Vista Glacier and east side of Frostbite Ridge. Either variation may require climbing sections of steep snow and ice or rock near the crater rim at 10000 ft.
Chocolate Glacier
  from Suiattle River
    via Dusty Wedge

1700 ft
(500 m)
8800 ft
(2700 m)
50 miles
(80 km)
An extremely long approach (over 20 miles of trail) leads to the largest glacier on Glacier Peak, which flows out of a breach in the summit crater down the east flank of the mountain. The upper portion of the route follows directly up the heavily crevassed glacier into the crater and on to the summit. Best done in early spring when the approach trail is still skiable.
Other Ski Mountaineering Routes:  
White Chuck Glacier -
  Suiattle Glacier -
    Honeycomb Glacier

2300 ft
(700 m)
6000 ft
(1800 m)
44 miles
(70 km)
Follow lower part of Gerdine Ridge approach, but then instead traverse east from White Chuck River drainage into Suiattle River drainage. Miles and miles of skiing on the interconnected, moderate glaciers north of the long ridgeline of the Dakobed Range. The trail out along the Suiattle is even longer than the trail coming in. Car shuttle is needed to connect back to starting point.

Upcoming additions: Topographic map showing all ski routes.
Full page description of Sitkum Glacier route.

| Panoramic version of the photo at top, digitally composited from three photographs. Sitkum Glacier is below and right of the summit;,
Suiattle and White Chuck Glaciers are visible in separate massif (Dakobed Range) at right
(photo by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

Useful Web Links:

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: Home Page
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: Recreation Reports
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: Trail Reports for Darrington Ranger District
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: Road Reports
National Weather Service Office: Seattle, WA
The Weather Channel: Darrington, WA, Forecast
USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Glacier Peak

List of Guidebooks:  (detailed references on the bibliography page)

100 Classic Ski Routes in WA Sitkum Glacier route only (skiing info)
Backcountry Skiing in WA Cascades Sitkum, White Chuck, Suiattle, Honeycomb Glaciers(skiing info)
Cascade Alpine Guide (Vol. 2) All routes, including approaches(detailed climbing info)
Selected Climbs in the Cascades Sitkum Glacier(detailed climbing info)
Selected Climbs in the Cascades (Vol. 2) Frostbite Ridge(detailed climbing info)
Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes All major routes(brief climbing info)

More photos, routes, links, references, etc. coming soon...
Please contact me with any suggestions, additions, or corrections.

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Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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