Sahale Peak Rock Climbing
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DescriptionSahale Mountain is one of the most popular beginner climbs in the North Cascades National Park. It is located on the eastern edge of the north fork Cascade Valley near Marblemount. The word Sahale is a Native American word meaning "high place". It is debatable whether to call it Sahale Mountain or Sahale Peak. Climbers call it Sahale Peak, but USGS recognizes it as Sahale Mountain. The standard route has an elevation gain of 5,200 feet and a distance of 14 miles round trip. It is an absolutely beautiful climb, that rewards some of the most amazing views of the Cascades.
Sahale has an airy feel, moderate approach and an easy fourth class scramble to the summit. There are two standard routes to the summit. The most common of the two is the Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm route. The second route is via Boston Basin route which involves more glacier travel. If you climb Sahale, you may also consider climbing Boston Peak as well since it's summit is only a third of a mile away as the bird flies. But Boston is known for having much more loose rock.
Climbing Sahale is very similar to the alps in terms of weather and the quality of alpine climbing. With peaks in the eight to nine thousand foot range does translate to wetter conditions and a shorter climbing season. Unless you are climbing in mid to late summer, it's not uncommon for the approach road to be covered over by avalanche snow deposit 5 or 10 miles before the trail head. From the Moraine of the Quien Sabe glacier you can see Sharkfin Tower (8,120 ft), Boston Peak (8,894 feet), Sahale Peak (8,680 ft), Forbidden Peak and the towering north face of Johannesburg (8,200 ft) Mountain with it's hanging glaciers.
Getting ThereGetting there from Seattle: Drive North on I-5 until you get to Arlington which you take a right at exit 208 onto highway 530. The highway briefly takes a left in down town Arlington onto highway 9 which a few seconds later be sure to turn right back onto highway 530 east to Darrington. At Darrington where the road pretty much ends you take a left onto highway 530 which goes north. In about 19 miles the highway ends, take a right onto highway 20 towards Marblemount. In about 7.5 you arrive at the city of Marblemount. After passing a few gas stations the highway curves, be sure to go strait which goes onto the Cascade River Road. This road takes you all the way to the trailhead of Sahale (Cascade Pass trailhead) which is at Mile Marker 23. Keep in mind that after mile marker 10 the road becomes gravel and washes out almost every year at some point. The last 2 miles are paved but is a little steep. The trailhead itself has a nice oval shaped parking lot with a bathroom.
Approach - The Hike Up to Cascade Pass
The trip begins on a nice and easy trail up to Cascade Pass which is 3.7 miles (5,400 feet). On the way up there are clearings through the trees which offer views of the Cascade Valley, the Triplets, and of Mixup Peak. Once your out of the woods the switch backs eventually stop and you traverse the bottom edge of Sahale Arm until you get to Cascade Pass. Be warned, when avalanche danger is high this is not the place to be hanging out. At the Pass you are rewarded with great views of Magic Mountain, Mix Up Peak, and the Stehekin valley.
Classic Climbing Routes at Sahale Peak
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Prime Climbing Season