Mt Baker - N RidgeDate:
Me and my buddy Pete climbed the North Ridge of Baker over a day and a half the weekend of May 2-3.
Snow conditions were perfect for booting it (we didn't think we were strong enough to carry skis up the route), ice crust on the glacier in the morning and still firm by afternoon. We didn't post hole at all on the descent.
We followed the boot pack and camped at 7000' on the Coleman. We woke at 1:30 and were on the road at 2:30 am Sunday. We had decided the night before to climb up to about 8000' then traverse left to get to the base of the ridge. This worked well as we gained ground on a team that left camp after us and took the low route (~7400' ?).
To get on the ridge we took the "right option" but a left variant of that to get to the ridge lower down. Snow was great for crampon-ing all the way to the ice step. Here we made an interesting choice... a couple hundred feet right of the ice ridge there was a snow and ice gully at the top of a rock outcrop, we thought this looked like a fun and easy way up so we went for it. The gully turned out to be a crevasse that splits the ice cliff and was only thinly bridged with snow. About half way up I began punching through, most of the snow gave way so easily didn't allow me to climb upward on the floor of the gully. We made it up with some creative stemming utilizing a lot of bare hands on ice ridges. It was like an acrobatic M3 route, but all ice.
We topped out the ice eventually and simul-soloed up easy slopes to the "secret passage" from what I can tell this is so secret that it doesn't even exist. All we found were a lot of crevassed-out dead ends. We should have gone right up the snow slope but took the longer and more dangerous left option (hidden crevasses, punched through once).
Sorry, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to get the image to show up.
We traversed more or less straight from the right base of the ice cliff. Anyone have good beta on the passage that would be good to know for next time..Gear Notes:
ice toolsApproach Notes:
Easy walking, no flotation even late afternoon. Patchy snow on trail until Canadian Couloir.