Mia and I left my house at midnight on Friday and picked up Devin @ 1215 in DT Everett. We met up with Dan and Aaron near the Shannon Creek Trailhead around 230am and stated hiking up at 3am. Our departure time was decided on based on a few simple concepts. Leave early enough to beat the crowds on the summit, and hope to beat the sun from melting the firm snow on the final summit scramble. We also wanted to have good corn to ski instead of mashed potatoes.
Devin and I both hiked up with our skis and boots on our packs, while Aaron toted his board up. The Shannon Creek trail is not the most enjoyable trail with long things on your pack, so with out daylight, our sticks would get caught on 15% of the foliage we passed by or under. Once we got out of the brush and such it was much better. We lost the trail just before breaking out onto the upper ridge with our first glimpse of Baker. It was almost 430am so the light effects on the mountain were awesome. We hit continuous snow from here, so Devin and I stashed our approach shoes and booted the rest of the way up (thought skins might have been useless in the glop).
We gained the notch on some steeper snow and made our traverse towards the lower Sulphide, after crossing some debris paths from a recent snow remnant that had fallen from above, some blocks were the size of fridges. We found the first place to filter water and roped up at the top of the first hill of the glacier. There was only one tent at the lower camp, so it seemed desolate in comparison to my 2 previous trips.
The glacier was in great shape, and not a single crevasse was encountered on route. It was evident from down lower that there were some that were going to open up soon on the hill just steps past the higest camps. We all roped up since we brought our 30m ropes, but the other groups we ran into did not have ropes or other gear. The slog up was uneventful, and made the decision to never want to walk up this route again. The sulphide is about as boring as it gets, yet the panoramic views from the glacier are phenomenol. We took quite a few breaks and had one long one before the last stretch towards the summit pyramid. Most of us had not slept since Thursday night, and the others had 30-90 minutes of sleep on Friday night, so we were all very tired and delirious at points.
Once below the scramble, Aaron and myself decided to refuel and rest while the others went to the top. I got my skis waxed and got my gear ready to point the skis downhill. Once Devin retured from the summit we began our descent and headed down to low camp to wait for the others, and waited there for over and hour. Once they returned, we skied down the remainder of the snow to about 4500'. From here it was straight down until you hit the trail and then the death march out. The Shannon Creek trail sucks bad and needs some serious attention. I don't plan on hiking that trail ever again.
Trip Report Here @ climbwashington.com