Sloan Peak is a distinct looking peak located off Mountain Loop Highway in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. It has been on my list for a few years now, ever since I first laid eyes on it from across the way. It was taunting me every time I climbed a nearby peak and could see it’s shark fin shaped rock dominating the horizon. At long last, our time to climb it had arrived!
We chose the “standard” Corkscrew route, which would involve three river crossings, a steep, muddy approach trail, glacier crossing, exposed climber’s trail and topped off with some rock scrambling. This one has it all! We showed up at the trailhead at the same time as a local group of the climbers from The Mountaineers. I knew a few of them, and it was nice to know that there would be some competent people nearby.
Within the first mile of trail, we had to cross three branches of the Sauk River. Since we had been expecting this, we brought water shoes and easily waded across the first two rivers. The third one has a permanent log jam that you can use to cross the river, then it was on with the boots and time to hit the steep trail.
The trail was full of mud and roots, and had a few difficult blowdowns to maneuver. The good news is that it was prominent and easy to follow. About halfway up, we reached Cougar Creek Falls, where there is a slippery log crossing. We navigated this by straddling the log and scooting across. From there we followed the trail until it opened up around 5000′ and we found a good campsite.
At 5am sharp, we were on the move, joined by a couple more of friends that showed up during the night. The trail continues up until it reaches it’s terminus at the base of the glacier. This glacier is small but spectacular, with some impressive crevasses. We went high up the rock slabs on climber’s right before roping up and traversing onto the glacier. The views were impressive and we made our way across the glacier, with the help of a pretty impressive snow bridge. A steep traverse above a yawning crevasse and next thing we knew, we were at the base of the Corkscrew trail.