Climbing Mount Baker
Keep putting one foot in front of the other. That’s basically what I did during my 3-day climb to the summit of Mount Baker. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds though. I had to find plenty of strength and concentration to conquer this majestic mountain.
With breathtaking views of endless snow-capped peaks, Mount Baker is the perfect introduction to mountaineering, and getting to the summit was an accomplishment that I never thought I would be able to do.
Mount Baker is the third-highest mountain in the state of Washington and the most heavily glaciated peak in the North Cascades. Not a place for solo adventure. Therefore, I signed up for a group climb with the renowned Alpine Ascents International. That way I also learned about roped glacier travel, proper clothing, crampon use, ice axe positioning, and self-arrest techniques. Skilled and highly experienced guides made it a rewarding adventure.
What amazed me the most was the beauty of the crevasses, totally wow!
Our pace was moderate, and the summit climb took us 6 hours from Sandy Camp on day two. The guides told us to appreciate the extraordinary sunny skies and warm temperatures. It could have been stormy, rainy weather, maybe even with a snowstorm – but we were fortunate to have splendid conditions.
Another cool feature of this journey was the steaming Sherman Crater at 9,800 ft. You can actually stand on the rim and look deep down to where you do not want to plunge.
So why did this climb take strength and concentration? My backpack was pretty heavy, maybe because I brought more stuff than the other guys. Elevation, heavy backpack, and some steep icy sections, some 30 to 45 degrees – it was beyond tough. What amazed me the most was the beauty of the crevasses, totally wow! This was definitely a scenic and extremely rewarding mountaineering experience.
- Location: Washington, Cascade Range – Mount Baker Wilderness
- Elevation: 10,781 ft., (3,286 m)
- Mountain type: Stratovolcano, last eruption in 1880
- Glaciers: 12 active glaciers, 7 which have areas greater than 2.5 km2 (620 acres)
- Route: Park Butte Trail, Railroad Grade Trail, Sandy Camp, Easton Glacier, Roman Wall, Grant Peak (the official name of the small mound at the summit of Mt. Baker)
- Guides: Alpine Ascents International
To my fellow climbers in the group, thanks a mil for the photos :)