Mount Baker 3 Day Climb Itinerary
Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.
The trip was extremely well organized and entirely enjoyable. It was clear throughout the process that a lot of time and thought went into developing this program. Information was easy to obtain and there was no ambiguity about expectations – 2019 Climber
Day Before Climb
Mandatory 4 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 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 camp (6,100-6,600 ft. depending on the year’s snowpack), 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. If route conditions or weather merit a Day 2 summit bid, we may opt to cover all practical snow school skills this evening.
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. If route conditions or weather merit a Day 2 summit bid, we may opt to cover all practical snow school skills this evening.
After a good night’s sleep to recover from our approach, we will begin a robust day of training. Guides will cover important safety aspects of the climb, including glacier travel, self-arrest, 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.
Alternatively, if weather or route conditions require a Day 2 summit bid, we will begin our trip to the summit in the early morning hours (see Day 3 for more details), having trained in all necessary skills on the evening of Day 1.
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.
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. If we summited on Day 2, we will wake up for a leisurely breakfast, cover any final training topics such as glaciology and snow anchors, and descend to the trailhead to celebrate.
Our summit attempt allows us to implement and enforce what we learned the previous day.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.
*Alpine Ascents recommends flying out no earlier than the morning after your climb.
Day 1: Schriebers Meadow – Sandy Camp
Elevation gain – 2,775 up
Hours – 3.5-5hrs
Pack weight 40lbs
Day 2: Skills around camp
Day 3: Sandy Camp to Mt Baker Summit
Elevation gain 4,681 up
Hours – 5-6hrs
Miles – 3 miles
Pack Weight – 15lbs
Summit to Parking lot
Elevation descend 7,456 down
Pack Weight – 35lbs
It was an incredible experience overall — I felt very comfortable on the mountain because of the guides’ clear expertise and experience climbing, the pacing and break schedule was accommodating to most skill levels, and the cooked breakfasts and dinners + quality of camp setup made the trip even more enjoyable!