Mt Baker (Jul 4-6, 2003)

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mt_baker_coverConditions: 3-day climb
Gear: full glacier climbing gear
Map: USGS
Area: Mt Baker
Reference: n/a
Stats: about 14.5mi, 7560' gain (round trip)


Ace wanted to finish off climbing the Washington volcanoes and asked if Kim and I were interested in the trip. This would be my 4th volcano having done Glacier Pk in 2001, St Helens in 2001, and Mt Adams in 2002. Sure...why not? The RR Grade, our route, isn't really all that technical. Yes, there is glacier travel and steep slopes (Roman Wall) but it felt more like a grunt hike. This route is by far the easiest route to the top.

We gave this trip three days. We should be able to finish it in two but the third day was a bad weather day. Turns out we needed it.

We hiked in via Schriebers Meadows and at the junction with the RR Grade we headed right, steeply uphill. The trail follows a lateral moraine coming down off the mountain along the west side of the Easton Glacier. It's all dirt trail hiking to our campsite (no snow) at about 6,600' high up on the grade. We spent the afternoon poking uphill a bit checking out the route for the morning. We would need an early start...

We awoke to rain, wind, and completely socked in. The weather really had tanked overnight just as a forecast predicted. We'd hoped for slightly better conditions. A short conversation between tent and it was decided that we'd call this the bad weather day. We pretty much spend the next 24 hours hunkered down inside the tents protected from the rain.

Day three we awoke after midnight and it was clear. Conditions looked good. We hiked up the last bit of the grade up to the glacier and roped up in the dark. Ace in the lead going up, Kim in the middle, me at the other end. Ace found a good route (in the dark) weaving our way around crevasse and over snow bridges. About 6am...high up on the glacier, we watched the sun rise.

We took a short break on the less steep slopes just below the summit crater and then headed up the last steep section to the large flat expanse of the summit area (Grant Peak). We were the first up in the morning but it wasn't long before we say black dots in the distance from the route coming up the Coleman Glacier. We had a nice break at the top and then decided to head down before it got too busy. We teamed up with another rope team to set some anchors on the steepest section (Roman Wall) which I think both our teams appreciated. Then, it was the more moderate slopes heading back over the glacier back to camp high up on the grade.

Back at came we quickly packed up and headed back down the grade to the trailhead.
 
Mt Baker Slideshow

mt_baker_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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