Sahale Arm

     Cascade Pass is an extremely popular hike. The parking lot fills up much of the summer, even though it requires a long drive with much of it unpaved. The trailhead is at 3600'. The pass is a worthy destination in it's own right. In fact, the parking lot view is worth the drive. The sight of Mt. Johannesburg across the valley is stunning. However, the best lies above. The Cascade Pass trail is very gently graded gaining 1800' in 3 1/2 miles. I seem to always see at least a few marmots by the time I reach the pass. From the pass you can hike down the other side and catch the bus to Stehekin on the shore of Lake Chelan. The real fun on this trip starts after leaving the pass. The trail up Sahale Arm turns to the north and begins climbing. The grade is much steeper than the route up to the pass. One mile of climbing on meadow like terrain gains 800', topping out on the crest of the Arm at 6200'. From here the summit of Sahale Peak looms far above. Across the arm and below is Doubtful Lake. I have not yet hiked down to the lake.

     From the crest you can see the arm as it makes a long rightward curve towards Sahale Peak. In season the wildflowers can be spectacular. At this elevation trees thin and then disappear altogether. The higher you go the better the views become. Johannesburg and Mix-Up peaks are to the south. El Dorado and the peaks above Boston Basin loom to the Northwest. High on the Arm very little grows. The terrain becomes very rocky. At the end of the Arm there is a fairly flat rocky talus basin. From here the glacier begins and runs up to the summit of Sahale Peak. This is my favorite place to enjoy the views and have lunch. There are several tent sites on the rocks. In fact, rock walls have been built to protect campsites from the wind. On especially buggy days, this basin may be the only place to escape. The bugs were so bad on my first trip up I didn't take a break until reaching this spot. On my last trip there were no bugs at all. Timing is everything. If you head far enough across the boulders to the east you may be able to see Lake Chelan. I was very surprised that it was visible from this point.

     The only way to go higher is by ascending the glacier up Sahale Peak. This is not a place for day hikers. If you do not have experience on a glacier, then just enjoy the view from here. The North Cascades are spectacular. The end of Sahale Arm is one of the best places to view it.

Parking Lot
Angela And I
Magic Mountain

Doubtful Lake
Eldorado Peak
Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

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