We met with our clients Chris and Karen at their hotel in the Greater Seattle area on Sunday the 25th, and proceeded to the trailhead from there. At the trailhead we were met with some light rain. Rain continued for the majority of the approach but was never more than our rain layers could deal with. We found a comfortable location to camp that was close to fresh water and out of the wind.
Monday morning we all got up early, enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed up the glacier for snow school where Karen and Chris very quickly picked up the basics of snow travel. Unfortunately due to a recent injury to her foot, Karen opted to stay behind for the summit attempt. We commend Karen for making a hard decision and listening to her body.
The remainder of our party left camp at 1:00 am on Tuesday morning for the summit attempt. An unexpected amount of crevasses on the glacier slowed our pace and left our route rather circuitous. We used many techniques to get up the route including short roping, running belays, short pitching, and some rappelling to maneuver a crevasse. The added crevasse work effected our schedule and we decided to turn around at 9,700 ft, just at the top of the pumice ridge. Our descent was swift and smooth with Chris handling some technical terrain incredibly well. We returned to high camp before 2:00 pm and rested for the remainder of the afternoon.
Wednesday morning we all got up at 6:00 am, packed our things and made quick work of the return to the trailhead. Everyone is in high spirts! Karen is off to the airport and Chris is preparing for our next adventure. We will be leaving for Eldorado Peak tomorrow.
We will check back in after we get back from Eldorado!
Head guide Billy Nugent reports:
Billy here checking in from the Hogsback Camp on the North side of Mt. Baker after a safe and successful climb!
We started the morning off with an alpine start making our way up onto the Coleman glacier through some thick clouds that gave us some pretty lousy visibility. Fortunately for us, we climbed up above the thick layer of marine clouds right around the first hint of dawn.
The rest of our climb we enjoyed perfectly clear skies, light winds, and an almost empty route. It’s a rare treat on Mt. Baker to see so few other climbers. The climbing route itself was also in pretty good shape with few crevasse problems and generally good snow conditions.
The only thing worth noting was a massive icefall that came down off Colfax peak (a satellite peak of Baker) that left a massive tongue of debris across the climbing route. It’s definitely the biggest icefall I’ve seen come off Colfax. Ever. All the same it didn’t really pose much of a problem for us beside a few minutes of uneven footwork as we crossed the debris pile.
All in all it was smooth trip and we are stoked to have tagged the top! We’re gonna finish up packing our camp and hoof it back to the trailhead this afternoon. Pizza and beer is calling our name!