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Trip Report    

Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier

Beautiful, remote climb but the route is rapidly deteriorating above 8800’.

  • Sat, Jun 23, 2018 — Sun, Jun 24, 2018
  • Mount Baker/Boulder Glacier
  • Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Crevasses are opening up above 8800' and may require significant navigation to skirt around.

June 23 

Left the Trailhead at 9:30 under foggy skies and some light drizzle. Group opted to take the “bushwhack route” which ascends the ridge about 2 miles from the trailhead. This route had some significant bushwhacking but avoids the steep scramble up the handline. Arrived at the 5800’ camp at 4 pm.

 

June 24

Left camp at 2:15 am under clear skies. Route up to 8800’ was in excellent condition with hard snow for easy crampon walking. At about 9000’ encountered rapidly deteriorating snow bridges. The snow conditions consisted of a 2-3” hard crust, sometimes icy, with very soft snow underneath. One member punched through the snow up to their waist at around 9000’. The team opted to take the ascending traverse to climber's left described in Caroline’s trip report from a week ago. We placed pickets on the route between 9100’-9700’ to protect the exposed traverse. We encountered a lot of deteriorating snow bridges, including a snow bridge over a significant crevasse at 9960' that is collapsing. The team arrived at the summit at 10:30 am and took a good break to eat and drink. We started back down at 11:15 am. On the way down the route held up and we made good time to arrive at camp at 2:45 pm.

Left camp at 4 pm and opted to take the standard route back to the TH. Arrived at the rappel station at 5 pm, but had to wait for rappel station to open up since there were 2 other parties ahead of us. This took about 2 hours but gave some participants a chance to catch up on their sleep. The parties ahead of us either used the handline to scramble down the wet rocks or were lowered. Our group opted to rappel down, which we found was much faster. We also left another tied runner and rappel ring to the existing anchor set up. Arrived at the TH at 10 pm.

Encountered one final challenge to the trip in that one party member’s car broke down between the TH and the paved road. Luckily we had discussed prior to leaving the TH that we would regroup before Baker Lake Road to make sure that everyone got out ok. When the 3rd car did not show up, we went back and were able to fit in a couple more people in my car. The other car was towed the next day. Another lesson learned: We found out that AAA will not tow to an unpaved road.

 

Overall – the route was much spicier than we thought it would be. This was an additional challenge for a group that included 6 Basic students on their first glacier climb ever. However, this was an exceptional group with a great attitude that contributed to team's success from the time we left the TH to the time we got back to the Park & Ride.

 

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