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pbongaarts

[TR] Baker - North Ridge 6/25/2017

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Despite record heat this past weekend, the North Ridge of Mt. Baker was climbable.

 

Another party climbing the route with us had extra time on Saturday and they had put in a good boot track through the crevasse field. Several of the crossings were a bit sketchy, but not terrible

 

The bergschrund to start the route (i.e., "higher ridge start" as labeled in the S.Abegg beta) was starting to break up, but was still navigable with a bit of exposed traversing. Not sure how much longer this will be the case. Some point release slides were seen on the open slope to climbers right.

 

Generally speaking, the snow conditions from 7k-9k was a 1-2cm crust on top of 1F-4F clustered melt forms. Above the Ice Cliff it was much firmer (i.e., vertical pickets were more convincing).

 

The approach to the Ice Cliff itself ended up having crevasses towards the top that prevented easy access to the "left" ice pitches (it is steeper than it looks in the photo). We climbed the "right" ice pitch, and belayed from the climbers left side of the large rock outcrop.

 

P1050060.JPG

 

The climbing was one full rope length (60m) to the top. This included about 25m of dirty half crappy ice/half loose rock, and 35m of reasonable fun alpine ice that I felt went at AI2.

 

Surprisingly, the pitch still took screws. We used 6 total (3 for the crap traverse, 2 for the ice, and 1 for the belay on top).

 

There was only one other slightly questionable (melting out) crossing at the end of the route, as you cross over onto the final approach to the false summit.

 

APPROACH

Early season approach on snow is still in up to the ridge

 

GEAR

6 screws (longer ones)

4 pickets

1 tech tool + 1 hybrid (e.g., Venom), the straight shaft was really nice for the 45 degree slopes!

Edited by pbongaarts

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That looks like you had a better weather day than we did! We did it Monday last week and finished the route and descent in a total whiteout! The seracs at the top gave us confusion when we couldn't see anything.

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We were there on the route that day. We expected to start the ice pitch on the corner but instead we started around 10 yards to the right of it due to that big drop off. The first 10-12 feet was almost vertical. I had to cut my first couple steps. Smooth sailing after that and the ice actually seemed quite good.

 

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American alpine institute usually goes up that route every week with their alpine ice course. You can talk to their office for any beta.

 

I think Cale Hoopes went up there recently also. He is on the site sometimes. Not sure of his log in name.

 

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been many years since I was last there but i remember the slope below the ice cliff as being crevasse free. interesting.

 

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