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Trip Report    

Mount Baker/North Ridge

Camped at 6700 ft below black buttes, but a flat section of the glacier at 6500 is an equally good option - no running water either way. Spent a couple of hours on the first day scouting out the Coleman glacier maze. That paid dividents on the next day when we simply followed the GPS track to the base of the route well before sunrise.

Took the lower ridge start option. Currently it includes a somewhat-exposed long rightward traverse to get back to the ridge over the icefall. The ice on the crux was of excellent quality. Two pitches of AI2 with some short steeper sections. That, however, was the only ice we found on the route. The rest was deep mushy wet snow. Pickets had to be deadmanned. We tried to find the "secret passage" at the top of the route, but instead I believe we followed some sort of a long leftward scenic detour. It did get us to the top, though in a roundabout way.

Unexpected observation: We had the route to ourselves on this blue-bird mid-July Sunday. Not sure if the high temps scared everyone away, or something else had happened, but there was nobody on the route except us.