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Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $1215
    Deposit
    $400
    Duration
    4 days
    Difficulty
    Level 2
    Type
    Mountaineering
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Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe

Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe

Sahale Mountain is a scenic North Cascades summit with excellent glacier climbing.

CLIMB HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ascend through the thick forests to the glaciers of the North Cascades.
  • Build your climbing skills on the practice slopes of Sahale's Quien Sabe Glacier.
  • Experience the excitement of alpine climbing in the heart of the North Cascades.

The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
Making the approach into Boston Basin
The views of Boston Basin
The Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale Mountain
Climbing the Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale
Climbing the Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale
Coiling the rope on the summit ridge of Sahale Mountain
Nearing the summit of Sahale Mountain
Climbing the final pitch of Sahale Mountain
Climbing the final pitch of Sahale Mountain
An RMI Climber nearing the summit of Sahale Mountain
An RMI Team on the summit ridge of Sahale Mountain

Sahale Mountain is a fun and straight forward glacier climb capped off with about 300’ of easy 4th class rock. Our four-day climb ascends to our camp at 6,200’ in the North Cascade’s Boston Basin. Using the surrounding terrain, we introduce and practice basic mountaineering skills in preparation for the summit bid. Summit day begins with an early alpine start and ascends the Quien Sabe Glacier on Sahale’s northwestern side, ending in an exciting and enjoyable scramble along a rock ridgeline to the mountain’s summit.

We lead this route at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive a high degree of hands-on instruction prior to the climb and also have a small, efficient rope team during the summit ascent. Our cramponing, ice axe and rope travel skills training for this climb takes place right outside our tent door on the Quien Sabe Glacier.

This climb is well suited for the beginning climber who wants to learn basic climbing skills and stand atop one of the most scenic summits in all of Washington. Many climbers use Sahale Mountain (8,680') as a stepping stone to the larger glaciated peaks like Mt. Rainier.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

The Mountain Guides at RMI have a reputation as top guides in the United States. RMI Guides participated in some of America’s first ventures into the far reaches of the Himalaya. Years of expedition guiding and alpine climbing around the world have built a core of consummate professional guides.

Our guides are celebrated teachers and trainers, known for their leadership as well as their character. They possess the compassion, enthusiasm and ability to empower others and inspire them forward. Such qualities may only be found in people at the top of their profession. Despite their vast experience, RMI Guides still remember their own first steps into the mountains, and enjoy helping other climbers reach new heights.

Our exceptional focus to detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures make our programs truly memorable.

Climbing Sahale

SAFETY

RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful climbs without compromising safety. Each climb includes careful pre-trip planning, daily weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, and diligent attention to detail. All RMI Guides are highly trained in remote medicine and rescue skills and carry comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio communication equipment throughout the program. Regardless of the objective or the destination, safety remains RMI’s top priority.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
08/13/2019
The guides. Always the guides. They are incredible people.
Todd S.

08/17/2016
Great work. I am very impressed. I was very humbled.What I enjoyed most was sharing an epic experience with my sons.
Malcolm B.

09/02/2015
Zeb and Robby were excellent guides. Leadership was clear and as a novice I never felt left out.The entire process was extremely rewarding and the team was - lucky for me - hilarious.
Andrew H.

08/27/2015
The North Cascades is absolutely beautiful and a very nice alternative to Rainier. I would like to climb Rainier at some point, but I think the North Cascades is a perfect "get away" if you will to Rainier. The mountain/camp site wasn't packed with other people where as I expect Rainier would just be constantly flowing with random people so the North Cascades was nice where if we wanted to spend extra time doing this or that we could and we didn't have to compete for space, if you will.
Jeremy C.

07/30/2015
Ben was outstanding. I had previously climbed with him (Emmons) a few years ago and very much enjoyed the experience. When I put together my most recent climb (Sahale) as a private climb with 2 of my sons, I was very pleased that Ben was going to be our guide. He was patient with my sons and did a great job of balancing our different levels of experience and interest. He really was outstanding, and I hope to climb with him again.
Scott W.

07/27/2015
Technical practice
Alexander B.

  • Upcoming Climbs

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  • Price
    $1215
    Deposit
    $400
    Duration
    4 days
    Difficulty
    Level 2
    Type
    Mountaineering
Table of Contents
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Day 1

ORIENTATION AND HIKE TO BASE CAMP • 6,200' | 1,890M

The group meets at 8:00 a.m. at the Marblemount Ranger Station in the North Cascades. Please see our Travel Details document for driving directions and carpool opportunities. Your RMI guides will meet you at the ranger station for introductions, group gear distribution and personal gear check.

From Marblemount we follow the Cascade River Road to the trailhead. During our hike in to Boston Basin we gain approximately 3,000'. The hike through the forest and up into the alpine meadows takes half a day and gets us into camp at 6,200' in time for an early dinner.

Orientation



Day 2

MOUNTAINEERING DAY SCHOOL • 6,200' | 1,890M

After breakfast we head out onto the glacier to begin our training. Our Mountaineering Day School offers participants an overview of various techniques which meet the challenges set forth by Sahale Mountain. We practice basic mountaineering skills including; efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing), various safety practices including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers, cramponing, climbing in balance, proper use of our ice axe, self and team arrest, moderate cramponing, movement on rock, short roping and lowering techniques for rock.

Our first priority is the safety of all team members. During the School you will be asked to demonstrate that your fitness will allow you to climb safely, and that you are able to perform the new climbing skills proficiently. We will continue to assess each team member throughout the course of the training and the climb.

After the day of skills training we return to camp where we make our final summit preparations, enjoy dinner, and go to bed early for the next day's climb.

Mountaineering Day School



Day 3

SUMMIT DAY (8,681' | 2,646M) • 6,000' | 1,829M

The summit ascent - Our day begins with a pre-dawn alpine start to give us ample time for this full day of climbing. The route consists of navigating past the crevasses of the Quien Sabe Glacier to access Sahale’s summit ridge. The summit ridge involves 4th class rock (defined as easy but still requiring a rope) and a traverse along the ridge to one of the more spectacular summits in the North Cascades.

After spending some time on top to enjoy the views and take photos, we begin our descent. We rappel and down-climb the ridge back to the Quien Sabe Glacier. Safely back in camp we enjoy an early dinner while watching the sunset over the surrounding peaks.





Day 4

DESCENT TO TRAILHEAD • 315' | 96M

On our last morning we rise early for breakfast, break camp and take approximately two hours for the hike back down to the trailhead. The trip concludes with a celebratory lunch in Marblemount. Those with a plane to catch should plan for an arrival in Seattle around mid-afternoon.





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Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to etravel@cox.net.

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend travel insurance for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.

Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be challenging. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Harbor Travel Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions.

The most comprehensive coverage available is Cancel For Any Reason. This policy must be purchased within 14 days of making the first deposit payment towards your program. While this coverage is more expensive, it allows you to cancel for any reason no less than 48 hours before your departure date and still receive a refund of up to 75% of your costs.

When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:

  • Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the “covered reasons.”
  • Purchase coverage for Cancel For Any Reason within 14 days of making the first deposit payment towards your program.
  • Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an “Adventure” or “Sports” package to cover your activity.
  • Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.

 

Harbor InsuranceHarbor Travel Insurance covers the following critical benefits:

 

  • Evacuation to a nearest appropriate hospital once hospitalized.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, AD&D and more.
  • Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims
  • 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses and military veterans.

Harbor Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word.

Getting There

Our meeting place is the Marblemount Ranger Station, 7280 Ranger Station Road, Marblemount WA 98267-9755. You are responsible for your own transportation to the program's trailhead.

We meet at 8:00a.m. Most climbers will fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) the evening before the program and rent a car for the 2-1/2 hour drive. The town of Marblemount is approximately 125 miles from SeaTac. Please click here for driving directions.

Ride Share: If you are participating in a climb and are interested in sharing a ride, please post your information in the "Ride Share" forum of your North Cascades Discussion Board by logging into your RMI Account.

Area Accommodations

You can find lodging or camping at the Glacier Peak Resort and Winery. They offer primitive secluded tent camping by the Skagit River, as well as wifi and basic amenity tent camping on their lawn.  Another camping option is Rockport State Park.

There is also a motel near Marblemount: The Totem Motel.

Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.

Tipping

Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.

Facts

North Cascades National Park has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states. More than half the glaciers in the 48 states are concentrated in this mountainous wilderness region called the North Cascades.

For more facts click here, and for even more click here.

Resources

General Information on North Cascades National Park.

North Cascades National Park map.

Communities & Activities outside North Cascades National Park, click here.

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Qualifications

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For the Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe Glacier Climb, you are preparing for:

  • Steep hiking, climbing and glacier travel with a 40-45 lb load
  • A 6+ hour summit day
  • Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Below are approximate outlines of the program's physical demands that will be helpful in planning your training schedule and goals:

Total Hiking Time
Elevation Gain / Loss
Total Distance
Pack Weight
DAY 1 - Hike to Boston Basin
4+ Hours
Gain = 3,000'
3.5 Miles
40 - 45 lbs
DAY 2 - Training
6+ Hours
Gain = 1,000' / Loss = 1,000'
2 Miles
20 - 25 lbs
DAY 3 - Summit Climb
6+ Hours
Gain = 2,480' / Loss = 2,480'
3 Miles Round Trip
20 - 25 lbs
DAY 4 - Descend to Trailhead
3 Hours
Loss = 3,000'
3.5 Miles
45 - 50 lbs

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.

 

Acclimatization

 

No acclimatization is necessary for this program.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!

If you are planning on renting gear for your climb, there are two options. Please note rental items are not shipped. Pick-up/Drop-off is at the store location. 

REI Seattle - 222 Yale Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109 | Phone: (206) 223-1944. REI Seattle rents the following items: ice axe, crampons, helmet, and boots. Call to reserve your rental gear.

Northwest Mountain Shop -  829 Metcalf Street, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 | Phone: (360) 854-8761. Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase. Equipment can be reserved online.

Equipment List

    • 50+ LITER BACKPACK

      Your backpack should be large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water, plus a portion of group gear. You will not need a separate summit pack.

    • SLEEPING BAG

      We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If climbing in April, May, June, or September, or if you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.

    • ICE AXE

      The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.

    • CLIMBING HARNESS

      We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

    • GLACIER GLASSES

      Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

    • GOGGLES

      Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

    • LIGHTWEIGHT TREKKING PANTS OR SHORTS (OPTIONAL)

      A lightweight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.

    • MEALS & SNACKS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • INSULATED MUG

      Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills.

    • SPOON OR SPORK

      A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

    • LARGE GARBAGE BAGS

      Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.

    • PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

      Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.

    • SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • EAR PLUGS
    • SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.

    • PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN, OPTIONAL)

      Practice using this before coming on the climb!

    • PEE BOTTLE (OPTIONAL)

      One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.

    • CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

      Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.

    • SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT

      Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, basic pain reliever, and personal medications.

    • TRAVEL CLOTHES

      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.

    • SUNGLASSES
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Arrange transportation and lodging.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the best shape of your life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes and anchors, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a cell phone for emergency contact.

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MEALS

On the Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe Glacier you will need 3 mountain lunches, 3 dinners, and 3 breakfasts while on the mountain.

MOUNTAIN LUNCHES

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

BREAKFAST

Single-serving instant oatmeal or Cream-of-Wheat makes a good main course fare. A variety of granola bars, pastries, fruit and a hot drink mix of coffee, tea, cocoa or cider are suggested.

DINNER

Freeze-dried entrees are very convenient; it is best to be familiar with their taste (and the effects they may have on your stomach) in advance of your program. Instant soups and Cup-o'-Noodles are popular supplements to your main course. As an alternative, you might consider bringing a cold main dish such as chicken, pizza, sandwiches, pasta salads or stir-fry. We also recommend your bring hot beverage mixes such as coffee, tea, cocoa, or cider.

Don't worry too much about the nutritional aspect of meals; concern yourself more with a high calorie intake. Most importantly, choose a variety of foods that you like to eat. One of the normal, albeit disconcerting, adjustments to altitude is a slight loss of appetite.

Ample cold water is available for drinking and replenishing water bottles. Hot water will also be provided for your meals (freeze-dried dinners, instant soups, instant oatmeal, etc) and hot drinks. When planning your menu, don't bring any items that require extensive preparation, cooking or simmering. We are able to provide you with boiling water, but do not have the ability to actually cook food items.

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