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Trip Report    

Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier

Planned Dates 7/4-7/6/2014
Actual Dates 7/4/ to 7/5/2014
Party Size: 9

Day 1:
Met at Ash Way P&R at 6:30 AM
Stopped at Sedro Wooley RS for blue bags and voluntary climber registration
Departed from TH at 9:45 AM (no pit toilet at this TH)
Trail was very muddy in places with only minor brush. Everyone scrambled the rock buttress to gain the Boulder Ridge. No harnesses used. About 6 hours to 5800' camp on the ridge. This camp, at the toe of the glacier, is exceptionally beautiful, perhaps my #2 best camp spot ever on a Basic Climb. No reason to camp higher if you're planning a 3-day climb as we were. The best views are at 5800' camp. Camped on snow with running water. Clouds were moving in as we arrived. Had just enough time to dig tent platforms and cook dinner before the rain began. Rain continued until about midnight. Thursday's weather forecast did not predict this much precipitation.

Day 2:
Departed camp with clear skies and good visibility. From 7800'-8800' we ascended some soft steep snow (safe runout, except for areas of rock poking out). Cracks had formed in the snow where the rock was starting to poke out. Ice axes used for self belay hit rock, occasionally. Turned around at 8800' (about 4 hours from camp) due to thick clouds moving in, poor visibility, and concerns about objective hazards we may encounter above, but would be unable to see. Placed deadman picket anchors on descent of steep sloppy snow. Back at camp in 1.5 hours. The party of 4 that left ahead of us also turned around. They passed by our camp as we were packing up. About 1 hour to pack up. Setup a rappel to descend class 4 buttress getting off Boulder Ridge. Camp to TH about 3 hours.

Notes: Freezing levels were forecasted to be about 12,500' during the time we were on the mountain. I believe the steep snow from about 7800-8800' was sloppy soft because there was rock not far beneath. Once this snow finishes melting, the route may become more challenging or impassable. Moderate snow slopes on the glacier below were firm with little if any foot penetration.