After an incredible outing on Mt. Rainier, any other objective was simply extra credit. Nice weather is dificult to come by in the Cascades, so we didn't have our hopes too high. First, we headed north to Mt. Baker, Washington's third tallest peak (behind Rainier and Adams). We would soon find that this volcano is a skier's paradise.
Jason jumped in my way right before I snapped what would have been a fantastic photo. Man, that guy takes a ton of photos.
The foiliage in the Pacific Northwest is otherworldly. It was such a contrast to that of New Mexico.
ferns growing from moss growing from trees - doubly parasitic
We setup camp near Baker Lake and immediately began the ritual of laying our gear in the sun to dry.
Mt. Baker, as seen from Baker Lake with our intended route being the left skyline
Baker's neighbor, Mt. Shuksan, reflecting in Baker Lake
Mt. Shuksan's steep summit pyramid poking out of the clouds
We chose to do the Easton Glacier route on Mt. Baker. We drove up the road to within half a mile of the Schreiber's Meadow Trailhead, where deep snow forced us to stop. Our starting elevation was around 3,200-feet, meaning we would have to climb around 7,600-feet before reaching Baker's summit at 10,778-feet.
We were skinning up the remainder of the road by 6:30 A.M.
The amount of snow in the Pacific Northwest is jaw dropping. Unfortunately, we made a wrong turn at the trailhead. After a short detour, we righted our route and were on our way.
Judging by the height of the trail marker on this sign, they must really get a ton of snow here in the winter.
Looking up at the summit (left of center) from just below tree line, we became overjoyed with all the skiing potential we would have on the way down.
This particular side of the mountain is open to snowmobiles. Their tracks made for quick skinning on the ascent, but the two-stroke raucous was a bit annoying during our descent.
endless skiing potential
Sarah putting the vertical behind her
Jason and Mark attacking the incline
The snow in the Cascades seems to stick to everything in sight.
Jason in a sea of white
I put a bunch of rocks in Jason's pack, hoping we could actually keep up with him. Next time, I'll have to use more rocks.
Nearing the crater rim well below the summit, the snow was still quite firm. We had ascended much quicker than anticipated. Therefore, we took a long break to eat lunch and have a nap before continuing upward.
Snow would never stick to such spires in the Rockies.
We booted up the final pitch, known as Roman Wall. The hot steam escaping from the crater constantly wafted in our faces, making us think we had rotten eggs in our pockets.
Sarah and Mark nearing the top
The top of the mountain is an enormous flat area with a solitary bump off to the side. Jason is standing on the summit with another party, and Mark is almost there. We reached the summit around 1:00 P.M., 6.5-hours after leaving the car.
For the second time on our trip, we were treated to blue skies on the summit. This time, the wind was much more manageable.
"Hook 'em Horns!" Or something.
Sarah and the skis that got her to the top
Sarah and Mark ready to ski 7,800-feet back to the car.
Jason getting aggro on the lip of a crevasse
quite possibly the longest "blue square" in the United States
giddy as a school girl
Sarah riding out the waves in the snow created by the snowmobiles
We were able to ski all the way back to the car, arriving around 3:00 P.M. It was just 1.5-hours after leaving the summit, and we had skied 7,600-feet of vertical. This was such an incredibly good day of skiing.
Google Earth view of our GPS track