Mt. Baker Climb July 2013
We climbed Mt. Baker this last weekend in a nice relaxed trip. We got up to the trail head Thursday (June 27th) at night. There was some snow patches still on the road that prevented us from getting all the way to the parking lot - but still within walking distance to the toilets. We got our gear ready on Friday morning and headed in. There was lots of dirt to walk on (in double plastics - ugh!), creek crossing was easy, switchbacks were open, we accessed the railroad grade, which was just a fun easy walk up to the lower campsites. We decided to head up further and crossed some snow slopes to access Sandy Camp. Once there we set up our tents and dug out our kitchen. It was awesome. This was my 3rd time to Sandy Camp - and it was just as great as I remember it. :-D
The next day (Saturday, 29th), we just lounged around high camp and rested, ate, laughed, practiced systems - it was great. We had a big meal in the afternoon, and got into our tents early. (I was in my tent with my ear plugs in and eye mask on at 5pm). We woke up at 10:30pm, and the weather was great - stars were just coming out, it was wonderful. We got on rope and headed up. The climb was easy and fun. Snow conditions were perfect. There were a few crevasses to go around, and one small one to jump over - but nothing too major. There was a small bottle neck situation just above Sherman Crater with teams headed up and down with only a single path over a small crevasse. There were lots of people sanding around on-rope waiting to pass over. My guess is the route will be moved to a traverse left pretty soon as things open up. Currently the route goes straight up along the edge of the wall. When we got to the summit, it was sunny but windy and cold. We put on our layers and took our pictures.
Then is was time to head down. The down-climb and hike out are not talked about as much as the trip up to the summit (on any mountain report), and I am not sure why, as I think this is BY FAR the hardest part. Your tired, it's steep - and down climbing is hard on the knees. Again, the conditions were great - but going was slow. We got back to Sandy camp exhausted and hungry. Luckily, we had one more day scheduled into our climb - so we just had something to eat and went to bed. The next morning we got up, lounged around with coffee, packed up slowly, took a bunch of pictures and hiked out. We glassaded down the first 900 ft (Yea! - skipped the whole RR grade and caught the path at the start of the switch backs.) I highly recommend this if you've got the snow to do it. Snow melt out was HUGE over the 3 sunny warm days that we were up there. Small glacier lakes were beginning to form.
The creek crossing was much bigger. No problem for my husband at 6' and over 200# - but for me at 5'2" and just over 100# - it was really challenging. Water was up to my thighs and fast. It took a lot of effort to get across, and I fell 3/4 of the way across. The good thing was it was so hot outside that getting wet was really nice. :-D Back at the car we had left beer and chips (A MUST for any climb) - so the last mile was easy walkin' thinking about my reward! Overall, a perfect climb.