Mount Baker Summer Ski — TR


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 3, 2016      
On the uptrack, Jenny pointing out a giant pieces that have broken of a nearby serac.

On the uptrack, Jenny pointing out a giant pieces that have broken of a nearby serac.

After a July of somewhat frustrating and moody weather in the Pacific Northwest, I got really excited about an upcoming sunny weekend forecast. Mount Baker was looking like the prefect place to visit and reconnect with our wonderful high alpine.

Jenny and myself left Seattle after work on a summer Friday and set out for Park Butte Trailhead, about 2.5 hours away. Friday night traffic was horrible, as expected, which extended our drive to be a bit longer then desired. That wasn’t going to kill the stoke though — we were looking forward to a sunny day on a volcano. Once we got to our destination, we quickly got our packs ready and headed to bed. As we hid away in our sleeping bags, our friends Chris and Lee also pulled into the parking lot. Gotta love the PNW skiing community.

The 3 am alpine start felt incredibly hard, as I’ve been spoiled by being able to sleep in on my Saturdays the past few weeks. Slowly making our way out into the night, we were greeted by thick fog. I wouldn’t say it was quite raining, but it sure felt wet. With hope of the fog clearing up later in the day, we headed out.

On the lower trail, still in a cloud.

On the lower trail, still in a cloud.

Our hike to the Easton Glacier from Park Butte trailhead followed what’s called the Railroad Grade trail. The route heads up along the ridge, beginning at the terminus of a glacier moraine. It is crazy to think that the glacier itself ran that far back less then a 100 years ago. Talk about global warming… Our entire hike to the snow was inside a misty cloud, although still a beautiful environment, morale was low due to broken expectations of a perfectly sunny day. All I could think was “Brrrrr.”

Once we reached the snow, the cloud was thinning and blue sky was visible in a few spots. A sunny Baker summit, could it yet be? We put skins on, roped up and continued uphill. It’s full-on summer so quite a few cracks were opening up on the route, but all the snow bridges were still solid, with only one small open hole that was easily crossable on foot and even easier on skis. Roped up of course.

Punching through the clouds.

Punching through the clouds.

Hooray! At about 7500 feet we were finally out of the clouds. I was so thrilled I did a “happy dance”. Twice. Once we reached the edge of the Summit Crater, we took a nice long break before heading up the Roman Wall.

Classic Baker summit, undercast below, sun.

Classic Baker summit, undercast below, sun.

The summit weather was quite nice, a bit of wind but nothing crazy, with wonderful views of Olympics, Glacier Peak and Rainier peaking through the clouds. We got there at about 12pm and headed down after a quick snack. The Roman Wall skied beautifully with smooth, perfect spring-like corn. This is really the only steep pitch on the whole route, the rest is a very mellow grade. Down lower, the expected mushy sun cups emerged — but it was soft and fun skiing all the way back to where we put skins on. The walk back sadly happened mostly in a cloud, but the stoke levels were high after the superb sunny ski down. It felt excellent to finally get out for some mountain time and check out a new route up one of my favorite PNW volcanoes.

It's a sunny day on the summit, we are stoked!

It’s a sunny day on the summit, we are stoked!



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

5 Responses to “Mount Baker Summer Ski — TR”

  1. Eric Steig August 3rd, 2016 4:00 pm

    Love that route. Somewhat dissed by a lot of skiers because it’s a snowmobile route, but it’s my favourite run on Baker (or just about anywhere). Classic July 4th celebration ski! Anyway, I have always found the snowmobilers to be great — Mt. Baker Snowmobile club is a first rate bunch of folks that works hard to keep things civil with skiers. of course, this time of year they are not there anyway, as they aren’t allowed access when there’s less than 2′ of snow in the parking lot.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 August 3rd, 2016 4:55 pm

    Eric, yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that route. It looks like an excellent ski. Good job Julia and friends!

  3. JCoates August 4th, 2016 6:54 am

    Hi Julia (and Louie/others),

    Regarding the PNW skiing community: I am moving to Bellingham in a few months from Europe. Any recommendations for shops, websites, ski groups, etc where a new guy to town can link up with new ski partners? Does Louie have a Grindr account for this sort of thing? 🙂

    You can respond offline if you don’t want to advertise where all the cool people hang out. Thanks.

  4. Charlie Hagedorn August 4th, 2016 8:56 am
  5. JCoates August 5th, 2016 5:03 pm

    Thanks Charlie,
    Cool stickers BTW. I had one on my skis this last season. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t a stellar snow year mine usually said: “chance of beer=100%”





Anti-Spam Quiz:

 

While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version