After a great night's rest at a commercial campground that included coin-operated showers, we left Mount Rainier in our rear view mirror and headed north to Mount Baker. We did make this quick stop for the Mount St. Helens viewpoint. Thankfully an arrow pointed out where we should be looking
Mount St. Helen's errupted big time in May 1980 removing over a 1,000 feet of mountain from the top and leaving a huge crater on the mountain's north side
A quick stop at the Tacoma, WA REI store yielded a great view of Mount Rainier from the parking lot
After driving north for a few hours we got a great view of Mount Baker
All roads lead to great skiing on volcanoes. Or, at least, this road does
We considered looking for dispersed camping near the trailhead for Mount Baker but came across the Kulshan campground first. It was deserted and very comfortable so Mark ponied up the $15 per night and we setup camp for the next two nights
Unpacking, drying and repacking was the afternoon's activity of choice
The campground was right next to the Baker Lake reservoir and afforded a fine few of Mount Shuksan. We milled around the lake's edge for a while as the clouds cleared and gave us a fine photo op
We slept in a bit and got up to the trailhead around 6am. Well, not all the way to the real trailhead as the snow still covered and blocked the road about a half mile down from the real trailhead
Getting our skinning on. We were able to skin from the car
Still a boatload of snow up at the trailhead
Our first view of Mt. Baker as we skinned up the mountain
It became abundantly clear that we were going to have an absolute blast on the ski down later that day. As Andy put it, "It's like 7,000 vertical feet of blue squre skiing at a resort."
This area is super popular with the snowmobiles, as you can see by the hundreds of tracks on the snow.
The glaciers on Rainier and Baker all had many spiders on the surface. Interesting.
With a heavy snow year, the crevasses were well covered. We never roped up on the Easton Glacier route up Baker
Cool clouds and the first crevasses of the day
The route passes by a nice viewpoint into the mountains crater. The crater was very active spewing foul-smelling gasses constantly. Above and to the left, two climbers in front of us ascend what is known as the Roman Wall, the steepest part of the route
At the edge of the active crater. This was probably the windiest spot on the mountain that day, oddly
We were quite early still and the snow pretty frozen. So we found some marginal shelter near the crater and snacked and napped for over half an hour before continuing up
Snow would never stick to such spires in the Rockies. Photo: Andy Thien
The Roman Wall was a bit too steep for efficient skinning so we shouldered our skis and booted up the rest of the way
At the top of the Roman Wall
At the top of the Roman Wall we hit the large flat area that led to the true summit bump. Andy was psyched!
Another group on the true summit as we approached
Self-portrait, Mount Baker, 10,781', June 22, 2011
We were fortunate to have a beautiful day for the climb
I was stoked and already looking forward to the 7,500' snowboard descent
Skiing off the summit. Unfortunately we had to go back up a slight uphill to get back over towards the Easton Glacier so we had to hike a bit to get over there
Making turns down the Roman Wall
Andy getting his turns on below the Roman Wall as another climber heads up
Cruising past the crater rim
Mark approaches the one crack we had to navigate over (barely visible). Just ski fast.
We were loving the descent and I felt a little bad as we blew past a couple that had started their descent from the summit an hour or so before we had even reached the summit
Andy scoped this small cornice for he and I to launch off. Fun! The lower part of the mountain was like a giant playground. The snow was too grippy to get too wild, though
Once back to treeline the terrain was so rolly that I had to go back into skis mode. I started off with one skin on, one skin off to kick and glide but found the terrain to mellow enough that I could take both skins off and ski out
We were back at the car by 3pm making for a 8.5 hour car to car effort with 7,500' up and down. Yahoo! We drove down into Concrete, WA for much-deserved pizza at Annie's Pizza