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Guide Jayar Storms provided this trip report on our recent 1:1 skill building and training outing to the Boston Basin area of the North Cascades National Park:

We began our trip early Tuesday (9/3) morning on the Boston Basin climbers trail. By that afternoon, we had reached Boston Basin and set up camp. We had just enough time to set our tent and square our equipment away when a freak hail storm struck. We took shelter from marble-sized hailstones in our tent for about 20 minutes before it turned to rain and then died away. We ate dinner and got to bed early for an early start at Sahale Peak the next day.

In the morning, we left around 6:30 AM and hiked up and right of the normal route which goes up the moraine, left of the Quien Sabe Glacier. About 500 feet below the glacier we noticed that we could traverse below the glacier and access it at a point closer to our objective instead of getting on the glacier itself and traversing across. We chose this lower traverse so we could avoid navigating most of the crevasses with this route. We cut across the talus and low angle slab to the other side and gained the glacier from there. After a few hundred feet of travel, we did not like the steepness of the terrain and turned back for camp.

The next day we tried Sahale again but from the normal route instead. After a walk up the same moraine from yesterday and a scramble up some low angle slab and loose rock, we gained the glacier once again, this time all the way on the left side of the glacier. With snow condition on our side and crevasses in manageable condition, we topped out at about 8,200 feet. We descended safely and enjoyed the rest of the day in Boston Basin.

We had the remaining day to pack up camp and descend back down the Boston Basin climbers trail and back to the car. We had a very enjoyable trip with Patrick and were thrilled to provide an excellent experience to advance his climbing skills and techniques. We can’t wait for our next adventure!


 

Some shots from head guide Billy Nugent on the gorgeous day in Washington’s North Cascades!

Mt. Baker

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!

July Mount Baker

Our climbers had a wonderful late July Mount Baker trip! Guides Sid Pattison and JR Storms safely brought the team to the summit and down safely. Please enjoy a recap below by climber, Don Storms.

On the first day we all took our time hiking up to the hogs back area, standard bivy. We spent that afternoon enjoying views, re-hydrating and preparing to possibly climb in the morning. We had a hand wavy forecast so our strategy was to be ready to go on the morning of day two. If we didn’t have climbable weather, we would try again the morning of day three. As it turned out, we had bad weather on day two. We spent the day waiting for a suitable weather window. Sid an I got up at midnight on day three, woke up all of the climbers at 1am and started our summit push at 2 am. We were able to take advantage of a small weather window that allowed us to make it the the summit of Mount Baker in six hours. All of the climbers were able to summit. Six hours after summiting, we were back at our high camp and the weather window had closed on us. We spent the remainder of the day packing up and hiking back to the car in light rain. All of the climbers were in good spirit and happy we were able to thread the small weather window and climb safely. All thing said and done, we had a very productive safe and enjoyable trip despite the poor weather window. – Don Storms

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July Mount Baker

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July Mount Baker

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July Mount Baker

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July Mount Baker

 

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July Mount Baker

 

Things couldn’t have gone better for the first 2017 Baker climb! With a very good forecast of clear sky, warm days and freezing temps overnight we were happy. We walked in our first day and set up camp and had great views of Mt. Baker from the Hogback camp. With plenty of running water nearby and dry tent sites we were happy campers. We did some training on campsite selection, how to keep a clean and tidy camp and went over some knots all while gazing up at the mountain and our intended climbing route. After dinner we went to sleep in preparation for a fun day of training higher up on the mountain. We rose in the morning to more beautiful weather and great snow conditions, soft around camp and firmer up high for good cramponing. We spent the day going over efficient walking and climbing techniques, rope handling and management, self and team arrest as well as some fun facts about glaciology, navigation and weather. Still being early in the afternoon we decided to take a walk up higher on the mountain and see our entire climbing route as well as take in the beauty of Mt. Baker along with the impressive Black Buttes. We put all of our newly acquired skills to use in roping up and climbing up steep terrain to the Black Buttes camp at around 8000ft. We made a hasty descent back to camp with plenty of time to play a couple rounds of Mountain Bocce ball with rocks and discuss the plan for our climb early the following morning. With a planned climbing time of around 2:30am we cooked an early dinner and tried our bast to sleep with the sun in the sky, never and easy task!

As planned, we woke up around 2am, had a quick breakfast and prepared for our summit bid. The morning was moonless and beautiful as we slowly began our ascent, each of us finding our rhythm in our breaths, focusing on the beams of our headlamps. Around 5am the sun began to rise allowing us to trade our headlamps for sunglasses and sunscreen and see how far we’d come. Only a few other climbing parties were climbing and it was a treat to feel a bit of solitude on the mountain. At around 7am we climbed to the top of the Pumice Ridge and traversed out onto the Roman Wall, the final steep headwall before the plateau of the summit. We hustled our way up the 1000ft headwall and it gradually eased off giving way to the lunar like summit plateau. With not a breathe of wind we strolled across the plateau to the small bump called Grant Peak that is the true summit. With all the up over with, all we had left was the down, we celebrated cautiously knowing we had to come back all the way we’d climbed up and knew the warming temps were going to make for mushy snow. After summit photos, hugs and some water and food we headed back down. The descent went as smoothly as the climb and with only 2 short food and water breaks we found ourselves happy and tired back at our tents where we relaxed and drank more water with our cheese, salami, crackers and apples. That night we slept like baby giraffes as they would say on Mt. Kilimanjaro! The next day we leisurely packed up our things and started our final stretch, back down the trail to our cars where we could truly celebrate a successful trip. As we changed out of our climbing clothes and into the clothes of flatlanders we drove home feeling tired but accomplished in a well executed climb. It was great.

Sid Pattison

Instagram @sid_pattison

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Mountain bocce at our camp

2017 Baker climb

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Skier hiking up

2017 Baker climb

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Final steps up the Roman Wall

2017 Baker climb

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Summit!

2017 Baker climb

Mount Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison: 35 year old

Hometown: Winthrop, WA

First started climbing in the North Cascades, first big peak was the west ridge of Forbidden Peak at the age of 16.  In 1997, became intern at the Northwest Mountain School, led climbs on Glacier Peak, rock instruction at Smith Rock, other mountaineering programs on Mount Baker, etc.

Notable ascents include ski decent of Denali, unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas (7000m), Mount Baker & Mount Shuksan combo in 1 day.

Favorite mountaineering equipment:

-ATC guide, due to the auto blocking abilities for both belaying and rappelling.  Can be used as a rope ascension device, for crevasse rescue, a simple device without any mechanical parts.

-Down Suit: Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Suit: A slim fitting one piece suit with deep hood, pockets in all the right places, and good length on the arms and legs, doesn’t bunch up in the middle.

Sid is very excited to be guiding Mount Lhotse with our team, the 4th highest peak in the world at 27,940’ (8516m).  The Lhotse couloir will be the final ascent route to the summit of Lhotse.  The couloir is the ‘corridor to the impossible’, allowing one to be in a place where without that ‘weakness’ the climb would be near impossible.  As Madison Mountaineering is the only guide company regularly offering the ‘Everest & Lhotse’ combination climb, this means that climbers will reach the summit of Mount Everest and then return to high camp at the south col (Camp 4), rest about 9 hours then depart high camp to climb to the summit of Lhotse, usually reaching the summit of Lhotse the next morning just after sunrise.  Sidney will be waiting for our team to return from the summit of Everest to high camp, and then he will be fresh to climb with us to the summit of Lhotse.  As the support person at high camp while we are on our Mount Everest summit attempt, Sid will also be supporting us by looking after the camp with our Sherpa staff that remain in high camp preparing water, food, and making sure the tents are secure as high winds regularly torment the South Col high camp, resulting in many tents blowing away.

Sidney is scheduled to guide our unclimbed peak expedition in the Gokyo region of Nepal (near Mount Everest) this autumn, a beautiful virgin peak over 6000m!  This will be an amazing experience with aesthetic ridge climbing on steep snow, ice, and rock!

In the late winter and early spring before our Mount Everest season Sidney works as a heli ski guide in the North Cascades of Washington State.  During the summer Sidney works as a mountain guide on Mount Rainer and other notable peaks in Washington State such as Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Mount Olumpus, and the North Cascades, etc.

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Everest 2017 Guide Sidney Pattison

Madison Mountaineering guide Sid Pattison and climber Patrick had a memorable PNW adventure last week exploring Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. This month we have another exciting Mt. Baker expedition planned (July 24-27), if interested please contact andrew@madisonmountaineering.com. Mount Baker is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 contiguous United States!
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Expedition report and photos by Sid!
The gear is drying, clothes are being washed and the sun is shining, a far cry from Mt. Baker 24 hours ago. While the weather was wet, spirits were high as we made lemonade over the last 3 days. We got high on the mountain and worked on crevasse rescue, self arrest and navigation skills waiting for momentary breaks in the weather to catch a glimpse.
Humor and comroderie are key in these situations. Patrick and I smiled, laughed and generally had a great time. As we walked out, we detoured to the Coleman glacier overlook and were treated great parting views of the breathtaking glacier. Never a bad day out here!
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Patrick enjoying the beautiful views here on the slopes of Baker
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Sid – Left (Guide), Patrick – Right (Climber)
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