Mount Baker Ascent - Northside

cover photo
Jul 17, 2016 - Jul 18, 2016

A summertime guided ascent of Mount Baker via the Northside Coleman Deming glacier route.

Another Cascades volcano ascent, making this my 3rd after St Helens & Mt Rainier. Used Dennis Broadwell's Mountain Gurus outfit to guarantee safety and professional guiding services. This ascent was the shorter of the 2 choices. Tthe southside approach is 3 days but this was a small group of experienced mountaineers & they knew me from Rainier, so it was a go for the 2 day Northside approach. Luckily I was in pretty good shape from all the summer hikes b/c this was a strenous climb.

Day started on a bad note b/c I f**ed up and didn't confirm the meeting place. I assumed it was in Glacier but was actually in Sedro-wooley! Of course I didn't have cell coverage in Glacier, so after 20 minutes wait I drove west to try to get cell coverage. When I did (barely) I got a voicemail from Dennis saying they were leaving without me! Luckily for me, the trailhead is where I was, so we were able to meetup at my spot and proceed from there. Disaster averted!

After a quick equipment check, us 3 clients and the guide proceeded up to high camp. Threat of rain almost ruined our chance of ascent, but weather cleared in the evening and skies cleared enough for us to make the late morning approach. "High" camp was in the trees near the Deming glacier - v. impressive to be so close.

Hike up to the summit started after midnight (1 am?) and we put on crampons shortly after 6000 ft. We roped up and ascended steadily with few breaks until sunrise. Amazing views of the Cascades stretching northwards into BC - really amazing in all directions. Unfortunately clouds on the horizon timed perfectly to obscure all visibility only a few hundred feet from the summit! Ascended the steep Ropman Wall & navigated by GPS along the summit crater but were unable to take any meaningful pictures. After that it was a very rapid descent (too fast for my taste) with a few crevasse-hops at high speed. Clouds cleared shortly after leaving summit :(((

Rather uncomfortable in my new boots but suffered through the hike back to trailhead without complaint - probably by noon. We said our goodbyes and that was that.

Fun facts

The 2 dudes in my group were from Bend and were in the NW on a rock climbing trip. First time I heard talk of climbing in such detail. I still follow one of the hardcore climbers on Instagram and enjoying his trad climbing shots.

DifficultyClass 3
Distance~11 miles (round trip)
Highest Elevation10,871 ft
JurisdictionNorth Cascades National Park
MapGreen Trails - Mount Baker
TrailheadHeliotrope Ridge