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.


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.


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).


Descend the climbing route.


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


Standard glacier equipment.


  • 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.
  • 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
  • USGS Mt Baker
  • Green Trails Mount Baker Wilderness Climbing No. 13SX

Upcoming Activities

Snow II: Glacier Travel - Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier

Climbing Field trip: Basic Climbing Course
Travel on a glacier and perform crevasse rescue.
Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 3, Basic Glacier Climb
Sat, Jun 1, 2024 - Sun, Jun 2, 2024
No Prerequisites
0 participants 1 instructor
Bellingham Branch
Tara Salisbury

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier

Climbing Trip
JP SIG Priority Climb
Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 3, Basic Glacier Climb
Sat, Jun 8, 2024 - Sun, Jun 9, 2024
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
8 participants 3 leaders
Registration opens Jun 3
Seattle Branch
Jared Pearce
Trip Reports
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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