With a perfect spring forecast towards the North on Saturday and Shuksan being high on my buddy Colin's list, it was an easy choice to target the Sulphide Glacier as a one-day mission. We drove up late on Friday night, reaching snow on the road just below the trailhead at about 11pm. A few fitful hours of sleep was all we got before waking at 3am with the intention to be moving by 4.
While there was a bit of snow on the road, it was quite patchy and, after the trailhead, went almost entirely bare until close to the first switchback of the trail where we switched to skinning after walking about 1.5 miles in our ski boots. We made pretty quick work of the trail, hitting the ridge traverse with great views of Baker in about 2 hours. After a snack, we followed a boot pack from parties ahead of us up to the saddle and continued in boots across the side-hill traverse to get us to the bottom of the glacier where we put the skis back on about 3h20m in.
Skinning was pretty efficient on the frozen crust and we only slipped out when trying to go pretty sharply uphill in the melted and re-frozen skin track from parties the day before, Just shy of 6 hours in, we got to the base of the summit pyramid. We had a snack, geared up, and hit the steep snow. There was a good boot pack for most of the way, tough it errantly took a hard right near the top, so the upper section required a bit more work to kick in steps. I found one ultralight axe and my whippet was plenty to feel secure. Just after 11am, we were on the summit with exceptionally clear views of the whole range—it was a really stellar day.
The down-climb went smoothly and we had a quick bite to eat before starting the ski down at 12:30pm. It was pretty nice corn starting out and predictably soupier the further down we went. We were able to get around the few rises on the glacier to avoid putting skins back on, set off a little bit of wet slide activity on the side-hill traverse, and make the rest of the ski pretty quickly. The last bit out in boots was sub-optimal, but not terrible. We were down to the car for celebratory chips and beer just over 11 hours after we'd started. Great day!