Dave has spent many days and night on glaciers before. However this was Nick's first time on a glacier. Nick is a fit 20-year-old life guard from Florida, who had no problem adapting to the new terrain.
Day 1: We began at the AAI world headquarters in Bellingham, WA. The gear check was short and sweet given Dave's experience in the mountains prior. After the gear check we purchased our last coffees and the drive began. It is roughly 78-miles to the Shuksan Trailhead and it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes.
The hike up to camp was mellow. We took our time, taking breaks roughly once per hour. Planning ahead for poor weather, we opted to do our snow school training on the way to camp, as opposed to on day 2. We also chose to camp at the higher camp at 6,500 ft in order to shorten our summit day. This proved to be a great camp complete with amazing views and running water.
Day 2: Typically Day 2 is our snow school and crevasse training day. However, due to weather, we rearranged the schedule slightly.
We woke early at 3:00 to clear skys and colder temps. Exactly what we needed for a successful summit! We made coffee (critical) and breakfast and left camp at around 4:45. It is roughly 2,000 ft of mellow glacier walking to the base of the pyramid. We took two breaks along the way for water and food before reaching the base of the pyramid.
We were above the clouds with only Mt. Baker and Shuksan visible. Light winds kept the temps cool and perfect for kicking steps and ascending the final 600-feet to the top. There are really no good resting points in the 600 feet of final climbing, so we went slow, took our time, and reached the top with no real food or water breaks.
After snapping a few pictures up top with Mt. Baker in the background (pictured below) We began the descent back to the Sulphide Glacier. Dave and Nick got to enjoy several lowers down the steep snow utilizing ropes, before the terrain mellowed enough to just walk. At the base of the pyramid we took a much needed food and water break prior to heading back to camp.
Day 3: We had made the right choice! Rain pattering on our tents woke us on day three. A summit would not have been possible. We again made coffee (critical) and had breakfast. The drizzle broke just long to pack tents and head back to the car. After 2.5 hours, we were back in flip flops and on dirt.
An awesome trip!