Mount Shuksan - Sulphide Glacier, October 2001
Mount Shuksan as seen from Mount Watson in November of 2005 with Sulphide Glacier at left and Crystal Glacier at right.

My first attempt at climbing Mount Shuksan yielded little more than being rained-out while at camp on Shannon Ridge.

For my second attempt, I made sure to check the weather forecast beforehand. Being somewhat late in the season I knew that I was risking another big disapointment, but, the forecast was calling for fair weather and I wanted Shuksan bad. After much convincing, I was finally able to talk Andy into a day-trip up the Sulphide Glacier. (Photos: AB, SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Sunrise
We left my place at 2:30am on Saturday and started hiking in at around 5:00am. It was cool and the stars were out. By the time we reached the top of Shannon Ridge the sun was just starting to rise and a strange red hue was cast against the underside of the clouds.
Looking southeast
Looking to the southeast towards the Cascade Pass area. The foreground peaks are Mount Blum in the middle and Mount Hagan (multi-summited peak) on the right. Mount Despair is the dark peak farther back at mid-left while Mount Triumnph stands just to its right. I figured the clouds would burn off. This was not to be the case. There were a few inches of fresh snow on the glacier and so we had some careful route finding to do, with several crevasse end-runs.
Summit pyramid
The summit pyramid in a whiteout.
Tomyhoi Peak
Sunshine fills the valley just beyond us. Tomyhoi and American Border Peaks can be seen basking in the sunlight. This was our turning around point...and to think we were so close. We had less than 1500ft to go.
Southern Pickets
The as yet unexplored (by me) region of the Cascades. The Southern Pickets are visible at far left.
Andy on Sulphide Glacier
Andy throws a disgusted look at the mountain.
Crevasse navigation
To avoid the back and forth traversing around crevasses that we did on the way up, we took a more direct route on the descent and had to skirt somewhat close to this yawning crevasse.
Baker Lake in distance
Fortunately, the weather gods decided not to let it rain on us. Baker Lake lies below.
Andy beneath show bridge
The sky is falling...Andy waits nervously for me to take the photo. On our way up we encountered some inconsistencies between what we were seeing and what we gathered from the route description. We found out later that we hadn't actually ascended the Sulphide Glacier from its toe, but rather traversed below cliffs (left of the glacier) until able to scramble up over rocks and gullies to about halfway up the glacier. I think ascending the glacier from its base makes for easier going.

The next several days brought perfect weather and so we returned the following Saturday. Knowing the good weather window was about to close, we embarked on another early morning start, this time after sleeping at the trailhead. Again, we were on the trail by 5:00am and the stars and moon were out. By the time we reached the top of Shannon Ridge a little more than an hour later, the clouds had begun to roll in. Knowing this was the beginning of a building weather system, we once again turned back, hiked back to Andy's truck, crawled into the back and passed out for a few hours. Will return next season.
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