Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier

This east side route has an arduous approach followed by a moderate 5,200 feet glacier climb with crevasses to negotiate and and a bergschrund to cross. Yet the remoteness, great views of Mount Shuksan, and overall beauty, make this an exceptional climb. Times: 4-5 hr trailhead to camp, 5-7 hr camp to summit.

getting there

Take I-5 to just north of Mount Vernon and go east on SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) and turn left on Baker Lake Road. Just past Boulder Creek, turn left onto Forest Road 1130. At 1.5 mi, turn left onto Forest Road 1131 (the sign says Boulder Ridge Trail). Drive 4.2 mi to road end or trailhead.

APPROACH

The trail starts as an old cat track through an old clear-cut for l,000 ft, then enters big timber. Continue 2.1 mi to a small meadow (3,400 ft). Follow trail through gross mud and around the south side of the meadow, and pick up trail remnants and trail markers on the northwest side and proceed through light brush, traversing to a draw. Head up the open draw until a buttress blocks the way.

A short not-so-easy scramble puts you up on top of the buttress and on top of Boulder Ridge. (A hand line of questionable vintage has been in place recently — check this before use!) An open ridge leads to Boulder Glacier.

Camp on the ridge at about 5,700 ft. Alternatively, it is possible to camp on a flat area sheltered by the cleaver at about 7,500 ft allowing for a shorter summit day.

ASCENT ROUTE

Ascend glacier 500-1,000 ft avoiding small crevasses. Turn north to avoid small buttress, then head west straight up glacier. At about 9,500 ft traverse south-southwest .25 mi to skirt buttress. Be careful of rockfall and crevasses. Ascend steep snow slope for last 500 ft to summit (10,778 ft).

DESCENT ROUTE

Descend the climbing route.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Seattle to Trailhead 2.5
Trailhead to Camp 4-5 2,900
Camp to Summit 5-7 5,200
Summit to Camp 3
Camp to Trailhead 3

EQUIPMENT

Standard glacier equipment.

NoteS

  • Although the approach can be arduous this is an exceptional glacier climb for Basic Course students.
  • It is very beautiful, with a great view of Mount Shuksan, and a more remote than the Coleman or the Easton.
  • There are crevasses to negotiate and a bergschrund to cross, yet overall route finding is straight forward and the incline is moderate.
  • Though back-country permits are not required for climbs of Mount Baker, we recommend submitting a voluntary permit at the Baker Lake Ranger Station in Sedro Wooley.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 3, Basic Glacier Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 8,100 ft
  • 10,778 ft
Map
  • USGS Mt Baker
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports
Resources
Name/Description
Mountaineers Beta & Brews: Less Traveled Basic Alpine Routes

A link to the YouTube video of The Mountaineers Beta & Brews: Less Traveled Basic Alpine Routes presented May 26, 2020. The Mount Baker Boulder Route segment by Jan Abendroth begins at 16:31.

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