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!
Our summer 2016 climbing programs here in the Pacific Northwest are off to a great start with another beautiful summit of Mt. Baker! This 3 day climb takes you to the top of an active glaciated stratovolcano in the North Cascades of Washington in the United States. At an elevation of 10,781ft (3,286 m) our climbing team reached the third highest point in Washington State with views of many of the notable mountains scattered across the horizon.
Pat Timson, a highly accomplished alpinist, guided this climb and was able to share over 25 years of experience as our climbing team made their ascent to the summit of Mt. Baker.
The most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 contiguous United States, Mt. Baker is a wonderful climb that requires good physical conditioning. We hike through the forest for several hours’ then pristine alpine meadows before making our camp near the foot of the glacier. We climb the glaciated slopes to the summit and have wonderful views of the San Juan Islands and the Puget Sound.
Madison Mountaineering, LLC is an Equal Opportunity recreation provider and holds a permit from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.
Day 1: Meet in Seattle in the evening, orientation and check equipment, prepare for an early morning drive to Mt. Baker.
Day 2: We don our backpacks and hike through the forest gaining significant elevation as we make our way to base camp. Upon arrival at camp we prepare our dinner and enjoy the sunset.
Day 3: Today we review technical climbing skills such as ice axe arrest, cramponing, and rope travel. We go to bed early in preparation for an early start.
Day 4: Summit day! We begin in the pre dawn hours and climb up the glacier around very large and deep crevasses, then arrive at the summit. We savor the views and then descend to camp. Upon arriving at camp we pack our things and hike down to the trailhead, then drive back to Seattle for a celebration dinner and conclude our program.
• All shared equipment such as tents, stoves, ropes, etc.
• Park entrance fees and permits
• All breakfast and dinners on the mountain
• All guide fees
• Transportation from Seattle to the trail head
• Climbing snacks and lunches
• Wire transfer fee
• Parking pass at the trail head
• Hotels in Seattle
• Personal items (see equipment list)
• Ice Axe: A short ice axe no longer than 60 cm.
• Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
• Climbing harness: An alpine climbing harness
• Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non locking
• Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
• Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
• Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For the trek to base camp.
• Mountaineering Boots: A double plastic or insulated synthetic boot.
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Short Underwear: 1 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
• Insulated Jacket: Primaloft or Down
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
• Headlamp: Bring extra batteries
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-2 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Goggles: With dark lenses.
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell gloves with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Expedition Backpack: A 65+ liter internal frame back pack.
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least 20 degrees. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Self Inflating pad: A full length air mattress
• Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries
• Cup: 16oz. minimum
• Bowl: ½ liter minimum capacity
• Spoon: Plastic (lexan)
• Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
• Lipscreen: 2 sticks, SPF 30 or stronger
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1 liter capacity each
• Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Pee Bottle: 1 liter capacity minimum
• Pee Funnel: For Women
• Knife: Optional
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Hand Sanitizer: 1 small bottle
• Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
• Travel Clothes: For days in Seattle.
• Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops.
‣ Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
‣ Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastro intestinal or respiratory illness
‣ Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
‣ Pepto Bismol for loose stool
‣ Excedrin for headaches
‣ Anti-nausea medications.
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 4 days such as Nuun.
‣ Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
‣ Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.
‣ Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milky Way, etc.
‣ Hard Candy: 1 cup
‣ Crackers: 1 box