August 13 & 14: Mount Baker

Every week since Shuksan, we’ve uttered “Should we do Baker?” Well, now is the time. Being this late in the season, we decided do the gentle Easton Glacier route.

The Railroad Grade hike is well manicured, pretty, and enjoyable.

We got to high camp after 2.5 hours of hiking, and set up camp with low expectations for the next day. The upper mountain was enveloped in a white-out. Later in the evening, low clouds cleared but a lenticular cloud loomed over the summit. I checked the weather on my InReach, which called before 100% humidity (whiteout), 35 MPH winds, and snow showers the next morning. We would wake up and assess the conditions, but were prepared to just hike back to the car the next day. If we were to climb, the best weather window was between 5 and 9am.

Glacier from camp, whiteout above

At 3:30am, we awoke to a beautifully clear mountain. No photos to prove it, but we caught a clear view of the Perseids meteor shower from our alpine camp. Despite nature’s gift, I thought “Darn, guess we are climbing.” Little did I know that Andrew similarly felt lukewarm about a summit attempt. Not voicing our coinciding desire to lazily hike back to the car, we slowly got ready and started climbing at 4:59am. Haha!

We made ridiculously good time and got to the Sherman Crater, the base of the Roman Wall, in a little over 2 hours. I cannot believe we moved this fast, because the wind was relentless, pushing us around and whipping our faces. I was annoyed. Andrew felt nauseous. As usual, the volcanically active Sherman Crater smelled like rotten eggs.

We both didn’t feel like continuing, but we knew it was only 1000 more vertical feet. Reluctantly, we started our last push.

Okay, that was way easier than I remembered/expected, and after only 40 minutes, we were on the summit plateau. With sustained 30-35 MPH winds, we booked it to the true summit, took a selfie, and got outta there.

OUR CLIMB IN A NUTSHELL

With a new pep in our step, and we admired all the glacial formations on the way down.

**Disclaimer- we are not dopes on an active glacier** Whenever we take pictures of crevasses and other glacial formations, we make sure we are both in a safe spot- not on a snow bridge or convexity. The downhill person pulls tension on the rope and we communicate clearly.

We summited and came down just in time, because the lenticular cloud returned and the winds picked up even more. Right on schedule, 9am!

We stopped for a snack on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Black Buttes and Colfax Peak.

After packing up camp, we hiked 2.5 hours back to the car. We reflected on how much easier this climb felt. When we climbed in it mountaineering school years ago (shout out to our dear friends ALLY AND RICH, we miss you!!!) , we thought it was scary, hard, and long. When we attempted on skis two years ago, our packs were way too heavy and the weather turned us around. Yay for improved comfort, fitness, packing skills, and navigating! (And thanks, good weather window!)

Total Moving Time: 8:23

Total Distance: 15.6 miles

Total Gain: 7,444 feet

4 thoughts on “August 13 & 14: Mount Baker

  1. Great reports and awesome photos! Thanks for the informative write-ups. QQ: where/with whom did you guys do your mountaineering school?

    Thanks!

    Like

  2. So awesome!! Thanks for the shout out, we would have loved to climb Baker again with you guys. No surprise that you two smoked the climb. I remember the Roman Wall well. I was more worried about rope maintenance and not getting yelled at by Kieran or Matt, than the wall itself! LOL Great memories…miss you guys! xoxo

    Loving your blog! Keep it up!

    Like

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