Booker Mountain via Sahale Arm / 經莎哈立山臂上布克山

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Happy Labor Day weekend! Booker Mountain by Mount Buckner and Goode Mountain is the highest point on Park Creek Ridge. Meanwhile, it sports a long and smooth ridgetop. So it isn’t always easy to pick the indistinct peak out of the plethora of North Cascades ridgelines.

Booker Mountain summit up ahead
Booker Mountain summit up ahead

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Booker Mountain at a Glance

Access: Cascade Pass Trailhead
Round Trip: 22 miles
Elevation Range: 3480′-8286′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

The Preface

After battling slide alder last week, this time, I enjoyed a 100% brush-free outing. I also made the best use of the three-day weekend by combining Booker Mountain and Johannesburg Mountain.

It was my third time going through Cascade Pass this year. So it was as unexciting as the last trip. The weather looked iffy this time too. But I kept my fingers crossed for the sunny forecast ahead.

Another misty start
Another misty start

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Cascade Pass Trailhead to Sahale Arm

The sky looked to be clearing on the pass. I briefly chatted with a retired forest service worker before going south on the trail a bit. Soon as I stowed my gear and food for the next two days, it went back to cloudy again.

The sky opened up as I went up the switchbacks. It was my first time back since the Boston Peak trip. Shortly, I met a group who warned me about a bear nearby. Sure enough, it showed up on the trail and went down the path after seeing me.

Food gatherer
Food gatherer

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Sahale Arm to Horseshoe Basin

Views up here were always spectacular. The hike up Sahale Arm gave views of Eldorado Peak and Forbidden Peak. Soon, the Ptarmigan Traverse lineup showed up in the south. Several groups were hanging out by Sahale camp.

I soon hiked past the joyful crowd and made my way to Sahale Glacier’s east end. Then I went down the buttress extending from Sahale Peak and found the snow-free gully at 6600′. Shortly, I went into Horseshoe Basin.

Booker Mountain on the other side of Horseshoe Basin
Booker Mountain on the other side of Horseshoe Basin

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Horseshoe Basin to 6600′ Buttress Bypass

I remembered the beautiful slabs here well. As I moved east through downward rocks slick from the snowmelt and the waterfalls, I stayed between 6400′ and 6600′. Meanwhile, I couldn’t take my eyes off the buttress bypass ahead.

I vividly recalled the tedious traverse to Mount Buckner through the broad basin. So I thought my third trip here would go faster. But between slabs, moraine, and heather, it was going. Then I went over a boulder field up to the bypass.

Looking back from the 6600' buttress bypass
Looking back from the 6600′ buttress bypass

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Steep Rock Gully to Book Mountain

After rounding the buttress, the north-facing rock gully awaited. Glad most boulders here were stable to keep a steady pace while hugging the left to avoid possible rockfalls. Soon, the terrain flattened at 7000′ with a stream rushing out of the permanent snowfield.

Afterward, I followed Eric‘s report and hiked up the snow to 7200’. Then I crossed the field and went south. The goal was to go up to the south-trending ridgeline west of Booker Mountain. So after going through more rocks and heather, I was now looking into the next basin. The mountain loomed in the distance.

Permanent snowfield
Permanent snowfield

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The Final Stretch on Booker Mountain

From the ridge at 7000′, I found a dirt ramp. Then I used it to go down into the basin. But without snow, it took some time to go past the moraine. Beyond there, it was just weaving my way through more big rocks and slabs. At last, I came up to the bottom of the gully. Then I went up on the scree.

Halfway up the gully, I realized I wasn’t really in it. Instead, I was standing above a short wall to the left. Using narrow ledges and solid holds, I worked my way back into the gully. So now, I was on track once again. By then, I was low on energy. So it felt like taking forever to get through the last 200′ of scree.

Access gully to reach the top
Access gully to reach the top

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Booker Mountain Summit Plus Views

It was a long way to go up to this summit! Right away, I looked over at the majestic Buckner Mountain and its impressive Buckner Glacier. The sun was out for the better part of the day. But the dark clouds were starting to form over the horizon.

The north and the east were sun-facing. So the views were better. But most of the high points to the south were just partly visible. Buckner Mountain, Storm King, and Goode Mountain looked sublime. But Sahale Peak and Boston Peak were starting to fade.

West-northwest panoramic view
West-northwest panoramic view

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Outro

I enjoyed a half-hour summit time. Then I made my way down the mountain. I knew I would go back to Cascade Pass after dark. So I dillydallied my way out of the area. Once I went back to the snowfield, it then began to rain. But that only lasted half an hour.

The evening colors through the dark clouds were quite dramatic. Glad the landscape could keep my mind off the slow climb back up to Sahale Camp.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

See more trip photos here.

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