Chris, Kevin, and I thought that a week before we climb Mt. Baker we should take a climb that will make sure we are ready. Kevin has never really done any climbing and we wanted to give him some pointers and information to get him ready for the next week. Chris decided to bring another man, who would be garrett. He showed up not knowing what was ahead of him...wearing sandals. Classic.
Trailhead to NW Ridge
After parking at the Barclay Lake trailhead we started up the abandoned road until we reached the climbers trail at the creek. From there we began the hike up the climbers trail to the ridge. While the trail to the ridge isn't long, the 1800 foot gain is quite the killer. It was dry most of the way with exceptions in places close to the creek. Everyone was happy to see the top of the trail and we took a nice break before setting out on the NW ridge.
NW Ridge to Saddle
The NW ridge runs for about 1.5 miles gaining little to no elevation until one last hill towards the clearing where you gain the majority of the elevation to arrive at the clearing at 4900 feet. Finally we could see our objective clearly. Once you get into the clearing the snow is compact but a bit soft in places. We had to be very carefull not to post hole. While crampons were not needed chris and kevin put them on anyways to get some practice while garret and I started up the gully towards the saddle. I had to watch garrett very closely because he didn't have an ice axe, just two trekking poles. The gully has three sections of snow seperated by 100 foot boulder fields. It was easily climbed and we were soon at the saddle below the final push towards the summit.
Resting Near the Saddle
Saddle To Summit
The scramble to the summit was mostly snow fee except for a small section directly after the saddle. Garrett, Chris, and I summited right around 4:00pm while kevin stayed down below. We stayed at the top for about 1/2 hour and snapped some photos. The veiws were amazing. We could see from Mt. Adams all the way to Mt. Baker to the north, seeing everything inbetween including Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, and even the faint outline of Mt. Olympus on the Olympic Penninsula. I was glad to share my first summit with chris (this was his first official summit as well). I hope to share many more of these moments with him in the future.
Rainier From the Summit
Garrett and Glacier Peak
The decent went quickly with fast and fun glissades down the gully. The trail down was a knee killer but we were glad to be back to the car. Overall a great hike/climb. A successful summit with great friends. Baker awaits in just a week!