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Mt Baker (Wash.)

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Mount Baker — which at 10,781′ is the highest point in Washington State’s spectacular North Cascades — is a heavily glaciated and active, but temporarily quiet stratovolcano. The 12+ active glaciers of Mt. Baker cover an area exceeding 20 square miles. A perfect playground for climbing and skiing. Mt. Baker is unique with respect to its great mass of snow and ice and easy accessibility (requiring less than one day of hiking). This combination creates an awesome alpine training ground. This climb of the Ice-King of the North Cascades is via some of the largest and most scenic glaciers in the contiguous US and tours conducted by ours and/or our partner’s experienced guides will surely be an unforgettable experience.

This quintessential glaciated North Cascades peak, Mt. Baker provides a fantastic climbing experience for both the novice and developed mountaineer. It looks into the heart of the Cascade Range for tremendous views of endless steep, snow-capped peaks. Mt Baker offers the perfect next step to your introduction to mountaineering. A true wilderness outing, climbers carry gear to camp, spend a full day training (or more, depending on program), then attempt to summit via the beautiful Easton Glacier or Coleman Deming routes.

This adventurous yet instructional course/summit climb teaches guests the basics of mountaineering, including a brush up on proper ice axe use and self-arrest skills, glacier travel, and basic rope techniques while aiming to summit. With a 3:1 climber-to-guide ratio, you will receive personal, hands-on training with an experienced guide.


Itinerary

DAY ONE: Meet in Sedro-Woolley, Wash.

INITIALLY: Upon receiving your non-refundable deposit, our partner out west will reach out and provide you with a detailed pre-climb departure booklet including a personal gear list, specific meeting location, as well driving directions.

GETTING THERE: Upon arrival the guides will meet you for team introductions, gear check, and group gear distribution. The drive to the southside Schriebers Meadow trailhead (3,400′) used to access the Easton Glacier route takes about an hour. The drive to the northside Heliotrope Ridge trailhead (3,500′) which serves the Coleman Deming route takes about two.

TO HIGH CAMP: Once there, the hike to high camp takes roughly 3 to 5 hours by either route and will involve about 2,800 to 3,300′ of elevation gain, depending on the season and other factors. The team will set camp between 5,600 and 6,200 feet depending on the season. The guide/s prepare dinner for everyone and you get a chance to relax for the evening.

DAY TWO: Mt Baker Mountaineering Course

TRAINING/ACCLIMATIZATION: The second day is used learn mountaineering fundamentals and to acclimatize. Instruction includes snow climbing, ice axe and crampon technique, self-rescue, rope travel and basic knots and anchors. Throughout the program guides will host discussions on numerous mountaineering topics.

FINAL ASSESSMENT: Each team member will be assessed throughout the course and will need to demonstrate adequate fitness and proficiency in climbing skills in the interest of safety for all. This is a priority

PREPARE TO SUMMIT: After the Mt Baker Mountaineering Course, the team will return to camp and prepare for their summit bid finalizing their gear, fighting off the butterflies, and together all enjoy a dinner and early to bed for the climb in just a few hours

DAY THREE: Attempting the Summit

ALPINE START: Summit day begins early, very early with a pre-pre-dawn alpine start. From high camp, the team will climb moderate snowfields to the saddle between Baker and Sherman Crater (9,600′) or Baker Colfax Peak (9,000′), which depends on the route. From here, both routes ascend the steep terrain of the Roman Wall in a final 1- to 2-hour climb to Mount Baker’s expansive summit plateau.

ONCE THERE: Team members will have climbed roughy 4,600-5100′ of elevation gain to get to the top. The North Cascades will be spread out below, Mt Shuksan a close neighbor. From there traverse the summit to Mount Baker’s highest point, sign the register, celebrate, relax a bit to take it all in, then the team will retrace the climbing route back to high camp.

GETTING OUT: At high camp the team will take a break, then pack up pack up and hike back to the respective trailhead. Arrival is usually by mid-afternoon, the day lasting 12 or more hours. The team then travels back for the final farewell in Sedro-Woolley.

DAYS FOUR AND FIVE: Glacier Mountaineering Course Option

ADVANCED OPTION: As an option, one that will be particularly useful to folks with an eye on larger objectives in the future, like Denali, for example, this 5-Day Glacier Mountaineering Course option combines a summit ascent with instruction for climbers who want to gain more independence in the glaciated environment and further hone their skills. In addition to the content of the three day program describe above, guests will delve deeper into the fundamentals of glacier mountaineering, glacier travel, and explore more advanced skills like crevasse rescue.

CHANGE UP: Do note, however, that the order of operations will differ from above as summit day will be on Day Four. Day three will be dedicated to crevasse rescue. This means summit afternoon can be to rest. The fifth day is more focused on high altitude and glacier travel.

PRE-PREPARE BACK EAST: They do have real crevasses to play in, but we offer these programs here allowing you to pre-prepare — and we cannot stress enough how important it is to receive of lot of this training as some of the methods learned will be quite technical and involved.

Other Information

Equipment and Gear

Refer to our Mountaineering Page for Mountaineering Gear Options, but take note here that the following specialty gear — which may be rented from us along with standard gear or from our partner out west — will be required on this route:

  • Ice/snow axe.
  • Mountaineering boots.
  • Mountaineering crampons.
  • Climbing helmet.
  • Mountaineering harness.

Note: All of these items may be rented separately, or rented as a whole with our mostly-inclusive Alpine Ready Pack (sorry, boots rented separately).

Transportation

Guests are responsible for their own transportation to Sedro-Woolley, Washington as well as to the various locations identified in the itinerary, but during normal times incidental car-pooling is common and encouraged. It saves gas and reduces pollution.

Meals and Lodging

Guests are responsible for all of their meals and lodging with exception to times of on-mountain activities. On-mountain the main meals are included and provided, those being breakfasts and dinners. This is excepted on the first and final days where only one main meal will be served. For on-mountain lodging, tents will be provided by the guides, though pads, sleeping bags, etc, will be the responsibility of the guest.

Again, this needed gear can be rented through us or once there. We can also provide non-perishable lunch food kits for a $15 each. Just note this on our booking form.

Gratuities

Our guides graciously accept gratuities. After all, your life is in their hands on the mountain. A tip of 15-20% is a common way of showing your appreciation of the guide’s skills and decision-making. Of course cash is greatly appreciated. This amount is not included in our fees, but we do encourage the practice.

Other Exclusions

Aside from the exclusions noted in the paragraphs above, the following is also not included:

  • Personal clothing and gear.
  • Medical and evacuation coverage.
  • Trip cancellation insurance.
  • Medical and evacuation coverage.

Specifications

  • The difficulty of this activity is as requested though is inherently tough.
  • This activity has a 1:3 guide/guest ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 9 with 3 guides.
  • For parties larger than 9, please contact us.

Schedule of Dates

  • CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF AVAILABLE DATES (POP-UP)

Pricing

Three Day Mt Baker Pricing
Per person $945
Five Day Mt Baker Pricing
Per person $1295

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Photos courtesy of Redline Guiding and NWAG guide Ryan McGuire.

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