Mt Baker - June 2005    
                                 10,778 ft / 3,285 m
 
 
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       On clear day Mount Baker is the first thing I see from my bedroom window...  
   
                 The Climbing team in Max's scout troop decided to climb Baker as a training trip
            for Rainier, and of course, just to climb Baker.  We hit the road Friday morning after
            moving about 50 folding tables and a couple hundred chairs from a Church in Freeland
            to the high school for Relay For Life.  (Dang Boy Scouts; you can't just go somewhere
            without performing some kind of community service first). 
           
            The group arrived at the trail head about noon, hiked in to camp 1 on Heliotrope ridge
            (about 6000' elevation) at the toe of the Coleman Glacier.  Friday afternoon we 
            practiced self arrest and other skills...

                           
                        Max, Mark, Kevin, Alex, Josh, Buddy,             "Did you put the beer in Mark's pack?"
                           Sam and Mike near the trail head.                  "Yes, I did, but he will blame you."


                                       
                             Heliotrope Ridge
                  Saturday morning we moved up to camp 2; just below Black Buttes, off the side of
           the Coleman Glacier (approx. 7,400' elevation).  The group spent the rest of the day
           Saturday working on rope team skills and crevasse rescue training.  The weather was
           perfect; sunny, fairly warm and not much wind, but the sky looked like it could go either
           way.  Everyone hit the tents early.  

                            
                           Tim instructing Max                             Kevin,  Max and Alex checking out a crevasse

                                       
                            Kevin relaxing in a crevasse...                           Max climbing out...

                   We were up at 2 AM Sunday morning - climbing by 3:30 with 10 people on 3 rope
           teams.  It was a fantastic morning with almost clear skies and no wind; you could climb
           by starlight.  The moon came up just before sunrise... It was truly a spectacular scene. 
           The route was in good shape, no ice to speak of, just a few crevasses to cross.  The low
           land was pretty much socked in with clouds, we couldn't see anything other than the peaks
           that stuck above about 5,000 feet.  Things changed about 7 AM... At the Coleman-Deming
           saddle (about 9,200'), the wind came up and was really blowing hard with intermittent
           whiteouts.  Huge clouds would just blow through, you could see them coming.  One minute
           it would be overcast with good viability, the next minute it was hard to see 50 feet; it was
           just like flying through a clouds on an airplane.  We took a quick break; hunkering down as
           much as possible to get out of the wind.  At that point Mark told the group that we had
           accomplished everything we set out to do this weekend, and asked if everyone felt like going
           to the summit. The group gave a unanimous thumbs up and we started up.  The wind made
           made for slow going but all three rope teams made the summit around 9 AM.  I only took
           a point & shoot on this trip...which stopped working near the summit limiting the photos.  
           A better camera would have been worth the weight.
                                          

                                  
                     Group in the distance moving up the Colman Glacier        Kevin & Max at the Saddle

                Once on top you couldn't see 50 feet, but it cleared long enough to get across to the actual
           high point and take a group picture.  Within about 15 minutes we were back inside a cloud. 
           It was interesting getting off the summit.  At 10:30 AM you couldn't see 20 feet; the wind
           was howling, and I was hoping we were not going to have to spend the night in a snow cave,
           (been there, done that, it's not fun).  We had the route pretty well marked with wands and
           compass bearings, so it wasn't too bad - good experience I suppose.  Pretty much fogged in
           all the way down; drizzling rain by the time we got back down to camp 2.   After a late lunch
           we broke camp and headed down in the rain arriving at the trail head about 4PM.  We packed
           the cars and headed for the nearest restaurant that served huge burgers.

                     

                                           
                                                         Summit of Mt. Baker - June 26, 2005  

                    The boys had a blast.  The adults had a great time as well, but we were all dreading
              trying to get out of the car after a 3 hour drive back to Whidbey. (The non BSA issued
             "Kilt Lifter Ale" in the parking lot helped!  Non drivers only of course... )    
       
                                    Thanks Mark and Tim for an outstanding trip - Lets do this again... 

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This work by Jeff Wallace is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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This site is not intended to be a guide for this trip.  If you choose to climb or hike
 be sure to always use proper maps, guides, instruction and equipment.  
             
As The Mountaineers always say:  It is one of climbing's basic axioms that when you
climb, you assume the risks, and must assume the responsibility for your own safety.
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