Route Name: Boston Basin/Quien Sabe Glacier to Sahale Glacier/Cascade Pass
Snow Level: 7500 ft
Elevation Gain: 5400 ft
Total Miles: 11.00 mi
Gear: Glacier gear with 30 mm rope, crampons, three pickets (didn't use), & one tricam, a #10 nut, and a couple of girth hitch slings.
Weather: Sunny but not scorching.
Friends don't let friends backtrack! So go ahead and climb Sahale Peak as part of a loop trek. It can be done by approaching from the Boston Basin/Quien Sabe Glacier side and then descending the Sahale Glacier to Cascade Pass.
JFro, Cac, Rob, Leslie, and I did just that. We parked at the Cascade Pass trailhead and walked the short bit down the road to the Boston Basin trailhead (3,200’).
The trail up to Boston Basin is a typical steep, brushy climber’s trail with a few stream crossings but not too bad. At about 5,500’ we left the Boston Basin trail to head for the Quien Sabe Glacier. There’s plenty of opportunity along the walk up the granite to refill your water from the glacier melt. There is also an old diamond mine along this section of the hike that was interesting to check out.
At about 7,500’, we reached the glacier, roped up (crampons too), and headed up a gentle incline to about 8,000 ft where it got much steeper. Navigation on the glacier was easy. We stepped over one small crack but not much else was in our path. There was a nice boot track most of the way.
We unroped at the ridge between Boston Peak and Sahale (8,600’+/-). From there, the route follows the ridge up to the summit of Sahale. There is a short scramble (very easy despite my initial apprehension) and a quick snow crossing before reaching the last stretch of about 50 feet of exposed scrambling to the summit. Cac led the way and set some protection to for the rest of us to quickly simul-climb to the top (8,681′).
The summit is quite cozy. We had to wait for another party to reach the summit from the Sahale Glacier side and then also rappel down. Once we got off the summit, the descent of the Sahale Glacier was mellow and did not require roping up again.
Down we went. The ever-popular Cascade Pass trail was certainly busy that day. We counted at least 32 switchbacks between Cascade Pass and the trailhead.
It was a great day indeed. It took us 11 hours total. We moved efficiently but figured at least an hour’s-worth of time was spent waiting for other climbing parties to get out of the way.
Overall, this loop route was enjoyable and much more interesting than expected. I highly recommend it!