Easy Day up to Base CampAfter a week or two of planning, Wednesday came around and we were excited to get out and climb Shuksan with a group of 12 climbers. Of course, when Thursday came around that group had dropped to 9 climbers, and by Friday we were down to just 6 of us. Fortunately all six showed up on time at 8:00 at the Sedro-Woolley Ranger Station, and after filling out a quick permit, we were on out way.
The road was open all the way up to the Shannan Ridge trailhead, and the trail beyond was in great condition for several miles. We had to do a bit of routefinding when the trail finally disappeared, but it was a simple matter of just continuing to walk uphill until we hit the ridgeline. Weather was perfect as we reached the ridge, and views of Baker were phenomenal.
After a quick snack stop, we hiked up over the col at 5400 feet and proceeded up to our base camp at 6500 feet. There was a nice, wide, comfortable area on the glacier for several groups of climbers to camp on, offering killer views of Baker and the Mt. Shuksan summit. It took 5 hours or so to get here from the Shannan Ridge trailhead.
Summit DayWe woke up at 4:00 AM for our ascent, and got going at 4:30 or so. Several othr groups had already gotten up ahead of us, and we worried a bit that there would be a traffic jam up there. A group of three passed us on their way down, saying that they had been waiting for an hour and a half at the base of the pyramid, and were too cold to wait any longer.
We reached the summit pyramid just as the sun hit the base, and the traffic jam that we had anticipated was fairly nonexistent. There was enough room on the pyramid for several groups of climbers to have more than enough room, and though rockfall was present, it never really created any problems.
The gully scrambles were fun, and 4 of our 6 climbers reached the summit (one popped his knee out of its socket, unnerving another one).
We reached the summit at 9:00, the 4 of us selecting different routes to do so. The views from the top were gorgeous, and the summit felt surprisingly comfortable. There were a lot of options for the descent, and though I downclimbed, there were others rapelling the whole way down. We got to our base camp two hours later, and packed it out.
This was an awesome climb, and much more enjoyable than Baker, in my humble opinion. In retrospect, we could have done it in one long day without too much agony.