Glacier Peak Wilderness: Glacier Peak Sampler
Get climbers'-eye views on this adventurous ramble to the peak's base--or summit--on this 3- to 5-day trip.
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- Distance: 58.2
Location: 48.0582313537598, -121.2880859375
To begin this 24.7-mile lollipop loop, follow North Fork Sauk Trail 649 along its namesake river—rarely visible through dense Douglas fir, cedar, spruce, and hemlock—for 5.4 miles to decrepit Mackinaw Shelter.
Location: 48.0415840148926, -121.214668273926
Remote campsite with privy
Location: 48.0312156677246, -121.193534851074
Old Mackinaw Shelter. From here, it’s a 3,000-foot climb in less than 3 miles to alpine slopes that go kaleidoscopic with aster, paintbrush, and lupine in July.
Location: 48.0365333557129, -121.15788269043
As you approach the Pacific Crest Trail, views open up to Pilot Ridge (south) and Sloan Peak’s glacier and sharp summit (west). Turn E on PCT to 5,904-foot White Pass.
Location: 48.0341682434082, -121.148864746094
Possible camp sites near White Pass
Location: 48.0344314575195, -121.148880004883
Just N of the pass, take an unmarked user trail 1.5 miles across grassy slopes east of White Mountain. Head for the saddle just above Foam Creek.
Location: 48.0474662780762, -121.133682250977
Climb N along easiest gradient to stellar campsites.
Location: 48.0508003234863, -121.134315490723
Nice campsite beside an unmapped tarn. You have two main options from this camp:
1) Loop back to your car via the White Chuck River basin. If so, return to Waypoint 7 and skip to Waypoint 14.
2) Go for Disappointment Peak and/or Glacier Peak. Head NE. It’s roughly 11 miles round-trip and 3,800 feet to the top, via Glacier Gap.
Location: 48.057731628418, -121.125816345215
Camp on rocky saddle near ponds with photo-contest views of Glacier Peak. Note: The White Chuck Glacier is now much smaller than maps show. From here, head N, eventually making your way on the glacier. You’ll need an ice axe, crampons, and experience climbing class IV talus.
Location: 48.0827674865723, -121.108551025391
Exposed, panoramic tent site on south ridge of the mountain
Location: 48.0993118286133, -121.1103515625
The best way up is to continue N via Disappointment Peak
Location: 48.1065559387207, -121.113090515137
After the 9,755-foot summit of Disappointment, gear down again for the final long slog to Glacier Peak; keep a watchful eye on the wind and weather
Location: 48.111888885498, -121.113540649414
The 10,541-foot crown of Glacier Peak; backtrack to Waypoint 12 then turn E for an optional but more interesting route down Cool Glacier (less-experienced climbers should rope up) then return to Waypoint 11. Hop back on your approach route.
Location: 48.0473594665527, -121.133865356445
To return to your car, head 3 miles west across the White Chuck River basin
Location: 48.0556221008301, -121.154357910156
Turn L (South) on PCT
Location: 48.0514678955078, -121.156379699707
Tent site by PCT
Location: 48.0461158752441, -121.177803039551
Red Pass; continue S to Trail 2000
Location: 48.0361557006836, -121.158569335938
Turn R onto Trail 2000; follow route back to Trail 649 and trailhead