Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Baker/Easton Glacier

The Easton Glacier Route is in excellent shape. The climb was made especially memorable by our good fortune with the weather, a sighting of the rare grey crowned rosy finch, and (as if that was not enough) a thoughtful friend who met us on our way down with frozen Gatorade and mini cinnamon rolls!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
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    The route is currently in excellent shape with a highway booted into the snow by the hundreds of feet, many guided, stamping their way to the summit. Crevasses are beginning to open up, but currently they are all easily navigable, most over wide, solid snow bridges.

The weather forecast in the days leading up to the trip changed constantly, sometimes within a matter of hours, with the chance of showers and even thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday ranging between 30-50%.  But looking closely, there was a consistent message that we may have a window for at least summit morning. And with the thundershower odds steadily diminishing (when you read the fine print forecast discussion and not just look at the scary lightening icon), we decided to go for it! We are very glad that we did. 

The party left the Park Butte Trailhead at about 9am, and was soon strolling up Railroad Grade through flowers and a city of marmots who greeted us with indifference, used to the hoards that were constantly tramping through their neighborhood.

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From the Railroad Grade, we made our way up the ridge, and set up camp at about 6370 ft., declining to join the ever growing tent city at the flats below. Bonus: our campsite had a large pool of melt water that saved us from melting snow! Trailhead to camp took about 3 hours.


With plenty of time to set up camp and contemplate this beautiful corner of the universe, our thoughts (or at least that of our fearless leader) turned to ornithology. Having spotted, in a prior trip up Baker,  a rare, high altitude bird - the grey crowned rosy finch -  JB was keen to have another sighting. Sure enough, two came swooping into camp, a male and female. The male then broke into a funny dance in an effort to impress her. Across species, little changes.


The weather was remarkably holding for the day, but then we got news that the forecast for Sunday had swung back to 50% rain by 11am the next day. But we still had our summit window. Off to bed it was then for an alpine start at 3am to catch that window.


In spite of the weather forecast, the sun rose on a glorious morning on the glacier. We made our way through a route that was in very good shape. Crevasses were beginning to open up, but as of this writing, all were very easily navigated by solid, wide snow bridges or simply walking a short distance around. In reality, very little "navigating" was needed due to the highway that is the boot path all the way to the summit. Camp to summit was achieved in leisurely fashion in 5 hours.


After celebratory chocolate and sour gummy worms, it was time to head back to camp to pack and head out.

While the 50% rain for the afternoon never materialized, the day heated up and we were not looking forward to the slog back to the trailhead. But when we got off the Railroad Grade to turn onto the Park Butte trail, we were met by JB's friend and member of the Everett Mountaineers, Luke Angelis.  He had planned to come up that weekend on a private trip that happened to coincide with ours, but ultimately could not. Instead, he hiked the Park Butte trail on Sunday with his family and, knowing that we were coming down, brought us frozen Gatorade and mini cinnamon buns. When we arrived, the Gatorade was still slushy. Never had cold sugar tasted so good! Fueled, we flew to our cars. Camp to Summit to trailhead -  with packing, nap, and cinnamon buns - was a 13 hour day. What a rewarding weekend with excellent rope team mates!

Credit for the majority of the photos to Danielle Desrosiers and Karen Wallace! But the photo of the grey crowned rosy finch is John Bell's and proof of his sighting :-)