Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Baker/Easton Glacier

Beautiful weekend in late-August conditions

  • Road rough but passable
  • We started from the Park Butte TH at 11am. There was a giant group of Meetup folks there and it sort of forced us to delay our TH brief until we had passed the metal bridge (which, hooray, was in place!). The railroad grade trail was snow free up to the campsites. We scrambled along the ridge to 6,800 ft to some nice established campsites above the glacier. There was a decent sized pool (maybe 8-10 inches deep) of meltwater we used for pumping. I wouldn't expect it to last much longer, though there's pretty easy access down to the snow. There's another camp further west that is workable too but we liked the one further east.


    Regarding this pic, some groups try to go up the gully shown. This way is completely unpassable now. There's a waterfall pouring down the rock and into a giant moat. You will have to scramble the rock ridge or rope up on the glacier.

    The glacier was bare and exposed in many places, but conditions were good. There was a clear bootpath that froze in the night, making for easy travel. There are some challenging conditions at the top of the Roman Wall, as the snow stops, exposing what was, for us, alternating patches of frozen water ice and frozen dirt. At this point though, the angle has eased off considerably, but as more snow melts from the wall, this hazard might extend lower and lower down.

Day 1: 

Trailhead was insane. We parked 0.5 mile down the road and walked up. There was a Meetup group of about 40 people there at the same time as us; fortunately, they were headed for Park Butte lookout (but UNfortunately, they didn't all know where that was and several ended up on the Railroad Grade anyhow).

The metal bridge was in place and it was easy hiking all the way to low camp. At that point we alternated between scrambling the rocks or the snow. Eventually we scramble a rock ridge to established campsites at 6,800 ft with great views. Don't know how we got so lucky that no one had already claimed them!

Day 2:

Alpine start, roping up and leaving camp around 2:30am with clear skies and temps hovering near freezing. The snow had frozen, making for great crampon travel. There was some interesting crevasse navigation around 8,500 feet  shortly before reaching Sherman crater, and the previously mentioned challenges with the end of the Roman Wall, but otherwise travel was straightforward. We reached the summit at 7:30am, an hour faster than expected! Many groups unroped on the summit plateau, but we observed many large cracks opening there and stayed roped up (which I would highly recommend). 

Roughly 3.5 hours back to camp, followed by an eternity back to the cars. All-in-all a wonderful weekend to be out!