Mount Baker 3 Day Climb Itinerary
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Fantastic wilderness experience! Mt. Baker feels like it’s a million miles from anywhere. – 2017 Climber
Day Before Climb
Mandatory 4 p.m. gear check at the Alpine Ascents Office in Seattle, 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 our backpacks, wilderness ethics, and Leave No Trace practices. Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
We depart at 6 a.m. from the Alpine Ascents office and drive approximately 2.5 hours to Schrieber’s Meadow on the south side of Mt. Baker. We will spend most of the day on the moderately strenuous approach as we start hiking from 3,400 ft. in sub-alpine meadows. The hiking will continue through old-growth forest for the first two hours. We’ll exit the forest at 4,800 ft. and continue up the trail on high alpine ridgelines along with seasonal snow-covered regions. We’ll aim to arrive at Sandy Camp (6,100 ft.), perched high on the south side of Mount Baker, in the afternoon.
After we settle into camp, we’ll rest for a bit. As time allows, we will learn about glaciology in anticipation of tomorrow’s training. We will close out the day with a delicious meal prepared by the guides while enjoying spectacular views of the Easton Glacier from camp.
On the approach, instruction includes nutrition, hydration, rest steps, pressure breathing, and temperature management. Guides will also discuss Leave No Trace information in depth. During rest periods, we’ll have short discussions on mountain physiology and mountain environments.
After a good night’s sleep to recover from our approach and prepare for our training day, we will begin a robust day of training.
Guides will cover important safety aspects of the climb, including glacier travel, self-arrest, glissading, crampon technique, ice axe usage, anchors, and proper rope techniques including knots. With a break for lunch and some additional practice to follow, training will take most of the day.
After an early dinner, we will head to bed in anticipation of a pre-dawn start for the summit, resting and recovering as much as possible.
Focus is on the battery of skills needed to safely climb Mt. Baker: self-arrest, roped travel, crampon techniques, ice axe usage, basic knots, and other techniques related to glacier ascent and descent.
This day can also be used as an alternate summit day depending on the forecast and the needs of the group.
After a predawn breakfast, we’ll begin our journey to the summit. The route begins with a climb to the top of the Easton moraine at 7,000 ft., where we’ll access the Easton Glacier. From there, we’ll ascend the gently angled Easton Glacier until we reach the crater rim at 9,800 ft. A nice break will allow us to look deep into the steaming Sherman Crater of Mt. Baker. We’ll then climb up the Roman Wall and crest the summit plateau at just over 10,500 ft. A short walk leads up to the summit of Mount Baker, at 10,781 feet. At a moderate pace, the summit climb should take five to seven hours from Sandy Camp. Clear weather offers an inspiring 360-degree view from this most magnificent North Cascades summit. After celebrating the summit and taking photos, we’ll descend carefully back to Sandy Camp.
After packing up and a taking a brief rest, we’ll descend the rest of the way to the trailhead. A summit celebration will take place at a restaurant as we return to Seattle.
Our summit attempt allows us to implement and enforce what we learned the previous day.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.
I was very pleased – there was excellent documentation and guidance prior to the climb. The fitness goals were very helpful and definitely helped us ready for the demands of the climb. The trip was excellent. As good if not even better than any other climbing related program I’ve participated in.