Just another great climb on Mt Baker with good friends, perfect weather and a successful summit. We drove as close as possible to the Heliotrope Ridge trailhead and spent a short night in the back of a pickup. Our alarm was set for 1:30AM, but a mouse found it's way into the pickup looking for food in the packs. We chase him out at 1:20AM, got up to start hiking the extra mile and half, maybe two miles up the road covered with snow. A group of three arrived as we were leaving our truck. Two of their headlamp were not working, so they tagged with us. They were heading for the North Ridge (they later told us the ice band was not climbable?), we were doing the Coleman/Deming route which had some fresh snow from the Black Buttes up. We have never been up there this early in the Season. There was firm snow all the way to the summit. A modest boot track through the trees to Hogback made it easy to stay on track. We beat the crowds doing it early Saturday, just a few climbers up there, but on the way down the crowds were setting up camps everywhere. Numerous skiers made us jealous of their descent, coming right off the summit, down Roman Wall, gone in a moment. There is so much snow now, it was hard to find a crevasse on the standard route, many going to the top unroped. The Pumice ridge was completely covered with snow and ice. The summit was very windy and cold, so a short stay, pictures and off we went down. No problems for us, just a great day in the mountains. I think the summit saw tons of people on Sunday. There were groups still leaving the cars when we got down around 4:00PM. AAI had groups, Mountain Madness Van parked near us, Boeing Alpine club and loads of private climbers were setting up camps. Climbing season is in full swing on Baker.
Wow! I don't know how I got that date wrong...thanks for pointing that out, it is corrected to May 13, 06. We roped up from the High Camp near the Buttes to the start of the pumice ridge that leads to Roman Wall. We dropped packs and rope before we started up the Pumice Ridge. I only do that if I am with experieced climbers and the weather looks perfect. Call me lazy, no, conserving energy... Thanks again for the comment.