Waking up at midnight was incredible. The glaciers on either side of the gap were glimmering in the moonlight, and, since the majority of people were planning to start several hours after me it was dead silent. Best of all, most of the fog that had dominated the previous day had dissipated. The top of Glacier peak was glowing in the night time and a layer of cloud was covering the area below me. The air was full of a million scents that make up mountaineering air.
All of this made it feel like I had chosen the perfect moment to finish off climbing Washington’s volcanoes. After a quick breakfast I headed up the trail to start the climb. It was freezing cold. For the first several hours shrouded in darkness all I did was focus on climbing and watching the glaciers sparkle.
The Last 20 Feet Of Snow to the Summit Of Glacier Peak
Despite it being August I found both glaciers surprisingly easy to get across. There were some really large crevasses that were splitting the face of the mountain open, but all of them still had large snow bridges and caused little issue. I felt like the crux of this climb was concentrated in the final 100 ft or so.
Once near the top of Glacier peak, there was a small section that gave me a choice between what appeared to be a fairly easy scramble or a simple snow slope. Thinking I could just crampon my way to the top I chose the snowfield. As luck would have it, the ice sitting on top of the rocks was thick and solid. With as hard of a time as I was having trying to get my crampons to bite in, I eventually just chose to scramble up the remainder. The scramble was not difficult, but being at 10,000 ft with the sun just nearing the horizon and a 30 mph wind kicking at my back, every single movement felt magnified.
I was able to make it up to the summit just in time to watch the last ten minutes right before the sun rose. Standing here with a view like the one in the photo below in addition to climbing one of the most famous peaks in the continental US was incomparable.
Sunrise From The Top Of Glacier Peak
The most trying part of this climb became the way down the mountain. From what I hear most people plan a three to four day summit attempt. This allows ample time to camp once on your way out. After hiking all the way to the top and immediately heading back for the trail-head afterward destroyed my legs. It is nearly 9,000 ft of elevation loss and 17 miles from the summit back to the car. With the road to the trail-head closing down the following morning for a week I had no choice but to make it. I am glad to have seized the day and gone for this one despite having to turn back during my previous attempts.