Mount Baker - Easton Glacier, Sept. 2001
Mt. Baker as seen from Baker Lake Road

My prior attempt via the Coleman-Deming Route in March of 2001 was not too terribly successful. Not listening to my own better judgement, I gave in to Chris's persistence to continue driving up the access road, despite the very apparent glazing of ice on the pavement. Sure enough, the car lost traction and we found ourselves high-centered with the right wheels stuck in a ditch. Fortunately a couple of snowmobilers were able to pull us out several hours later.

I parked farther down the road and started hiking to the trailhead under a moonlit sky. We finally called it a night at 3:00am (still about a half mile from the Heliotrope Ridge trailhead). We awoke to low clouds, with only the occasional sucker-hole to tempt us. Things were not looking very promising and the snowfall only intensified. We sought the cover of some trees and discussed our options. Chris went so far as to dig out a bivy spot and hang up his prayer flags. As if I had any desire to spend a night out here...

Hiking back down, both Chris and I had a close encounter with a rocky stream bed when we nearly slipped off the small foot bridge near the trailhead. Phew! That was a close call! After all that, I'd say the beer and pizza waiting for us at the North Fork Tavern were well deserved. I thoroughly punished myself on the fine selection of ales and had Chris drive my car home.

By September of 2001 I again found myself itching to climb Mt. Baker. Desperate for a partner, I randomly flipped through my phone list and happened to come across Andy's phone number. We ran into each other at the Fremont Octoberfest about a year ago and made plans (which never materialized until now) to go climbing together sometime. I called Andy and minutes later we were planning our upcoming weekend trip on Mount Baker. (Photos: SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Approaching camp
Andy approaches high camp. The tents of the Alpine Ascents group that we shared the mountain with that weekend can be seen in the background.
Southeast view
Looking in a southeast direction. Glacier Peak rises prominently from the horizon.
High camp
We established high camp at roughly 7000ft early on Saturday...after we were advised by an arrogant Alpine Ascents guide that there weren't any good tent sites where we were headed. Whatever. We killed time by drinking beer, taking naps and talking shit about guides who feel they own the mountain. The Twin Sisters Range can be seen in the background.
Yellow Bellies
Our makeshift cooler and in it the yellow bellies...
Camp activity
Andy performs some much needed crampon maintenance at camp.
View west
The north end of Puget Sound, San Juan and Gulf Islands can be seen in the distance.
Sunrise
We awoke at 1:00am and were on the trail by 2:00am. A comfortable yet unsettling warm breeze was felt that morning...very warm in fact. Following what screwy directions we obtained from the guided group we passed on the way up, we got a little sidetracked and embarked on an hour-and-a-half detour. Having regained our bearings, we were the first to summit at 8:00am that morning.

The climb was done under bright moonlight...didn't even need lights. We made it to the steaming crater just as the sun was rising above the horizon. We savored superb views of the sound, islands, Vancouver, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Shuksan, almost all of the North Cascades, and Mount Olympus off in the distance.
Morning shadow
The mountain's shadow cast against the morning sky.
Sherman Crater
Sherman Crater belches steam through its hissing vents. The smell of sulfur was everywhere.
Headwall
Andy scales the steepest portion of the climb to the crest of the false summit.
Looking northwest
The Lower Mainland of the Fraser River Valley lies below. Mount Garibaldi is the peak on the horizon at the very right of the photo.
Summit plateau
Climbers crossing the false summit.
Gapers on summit
There was a cool wind up on top. Mount Shuksan stands behind us.
Upper Easton
Returning from the summit. Is that sulfur powder on the edges of the glacier crevasses?
View down Demming
Both the Easton and Deming Glaciers merge near the top of Mount Baker. Crevasses on both glaciers are HUGE!
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