Mount Baker North Ridge Climb Itinerary
I learned a lot about ice climbing technique and felt that I really progressed on our practice day. It definitely paid off on summit day! The entire experience was so enjoyable.
Day before the climb
Mandatory 3 p.m. gear check at Alpine Ascents’ Seattle office to ensure that everyone is fully equipped and prepared to depart the next morning. Rental gear is fitted and packed at this time. We’ll also review the functionality of each piece of gear, packing strategy, wilderness ethics, and Leave No Trace practices. Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours. After gear check, we recommend driving north to Bellingham, WA or nearby for the evening.
Meet in Glacier, WA at 7:30 a.m. During Gear Check the day before, your guide will provide an exact meetup location and time.
Due to a washout on FS Road 39 at mile 3.8 there will be an additional 2-3 hour hike to reach the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. This is a well graded trail that provides quick access to a spectacular alpine wonderland. We’ll hike to our camp site near the Coleman Glacier at 5,000’. Once on trail, this is a relatively easy move of approximately 2,000 vertical feet. Total hiking time for day one is estimated from 4.5-6.5 hours to reach camp. Often there is time that evening to practice ice climbing on the vertical seracs of the Coleman Glacier.
This is a half day of ice climbing on the steep ice of the lower Coleman Glacier. Emphasis will be placed on efficient climbing technique on 60 – 70 degree ice walls with the use of two ice tools. Building on the skills from the previous day, climbers will get a chance to belay each other and practice getting lowered down ice climbs, in addition to rappeling a steep ice cliff. All of these skills help translate into success on the North Ridge Climb. After climbing we return to camp and move all of our equipment 1500’ further up the mountain to a camp higher on the Coleman Glacier. This is a short move, but greatly reduces the overall effort of the summit day
The team will get an early start and head across the broken Lower Coleman Glacier towards the base of the imposing North Ridge which rises nearly 4000’ directly to the summit of Mount Baker. Gaining the Ridge poses one of the technical cruxes of the route with ice as steep as 70 degrees. The route stays sustained the whole time and undulates between steep snow with short steps of alpine ice all the way to the summit plateau. It is a short jaunt to the summit from the top out of the North Ridge. The summit of Mount Baker is nothing short of spectacular with views of Mount Shuksan, the rugged Picket Range, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound with the matrix of the San Juan Islands. After soaking in the 360 degree views, the team will descend the moderate Coleman-Deming Glacier Route. This is a basic mountaineering route that allows for a quick descent back to camp in just a few hours.
The team will wake up at a leisurely hour, pack up camp, and hike out back to the trailhead.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.
Had an amazing, fantastic, time! My guide was bomber and offered me the most demanding, aesthetic climb I’ve ever done. First time I’ve ever been able to move as quickly as my fitness would allow, and have a guide that not only could throw down with me, but also was having such a blast going […]