Mount Baker, Cascade Mountains on Dec 10, 2011

Long story short – Reiner and I did not summit even though that was the plan. It was possible and some other folks must have done it few days before as we found some footprints.

Overall a great trip that made us practice various mountaineering skills. As a bonus the changing clouds and December light created the most spectacular imagery I have ever seen on Mount Baker.

Access road

We drove to about 2km from the parking lot thanks to Reiner’s skill but otherwise were passed by surprised sledders once skinning. With Subaru or equivalent we would have been lucky to drive to about 4-5km from the parking lot.

Snow and glacier conditions

Everything was wind blasted from top to bottom. At some places it was super icy, whereas, at others a very hard wind slab has formed.

Glaciers are covered enough for a roped-up travel, nothing scary, easy to navigate. But in foggy conditions it can quickly turn into an epic.

Travel

Uphill required some technical-to-sketchy skinning even on low angle slopes. Skiing was not at its best but here and there some decent turns were possible – overall it was fun.

Roman Wall must be in almost unskiable conditions – likely sheer ice. We turned around at the Col which is at about 2750m as we were running out of time a bit and valley clouds started to foggy up the Coleman Glacier descent route.

Mount Baker

Looking good once we got above the clouds and out of the ice gullies on West side of Heliotrope Ridge.

Cool snow texture.

Our Coleman Glacier ascent/descent route.

Amazing show on Heliotrope Ridge. No admission charges either.

Every minute brought something new.

The journey certainly made up for the summit today :)

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