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[TR] Mt. Baker - North Ridge 7/26/2007

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Trip: Mt. Baker - North Ridge


Date: 7/26/2007


Trip Report:


This trip up the North Ridge of Mt. Baker was a trip of A Thousand 'Thunks'. The sweet sound of the pick sticking solid every time in nice pliable alpine ice.


I met up with Chris Kouba from Phoenix and Verendra from New York for this climb. We had never met before so I am sure we were all hoping for a good fit, which indeed it was.




We left the trailhead at 3:30pm on Wed. with a solid high pressure system in place, reaching our 6000' camp at 5:30pm with plenty of down time to relax.


Terry chill'n.


There we met an AAI team that was headed for the N. Ridge as well the next morning. 'Ben' from AAI was way cool being friendly and giving us some good beta. He had a report from another party that the left start did not go, so we probably saved some time taking the right variation. They took off at 2:30AM the next morning, and we gratefully followed their tracks across the Coleman 1 hr. later.


Early morning light on the Coleman Glacier.


We passed them at the base of the hourglass after 2.5 hrs of an easy traverse. They took a left start bypassing the schrund (looked easier but had some rockfall debris at start).



I lead up the middle through a collapsed area in the berg schrund which worked nice as well. The next 800-1000' went fast with a mix of some ice and firm snow.



As we came up out of the hourglass and started to traverse up to the start of the ice step the route took on a new flavor with increasing ice getting steeper and steeper. Every pick placement stuck so nice though!


I set up a belay and Chris took the lead (sorry- no pics), heading straight up about 40 feet to pick up the upper ridge proper. He dropped a second rope from there and then continued climbing the full 60 meter rope up before setting up a belay. Verendra and I simul-climbed next up the ice step as Chris belayed us off a reverso set up in autolock mode. From there we simul-climbed the rest of the ridge with mixed snow and lower angle ice.


Verendra on the ridge above the ice step



Chris on the ridge above the ice step




Approaching the summit plateau we traversed right between a cool serac and ice shelf.


Chris coming out of the secret passage.


Any easy slog to the summit had us there in 7hrs from our camp.



A straight forward, though long, slog brought us back to camp, all smiles!


This was a spectacular climb and the route is still in great condition. Get on it while you can!



Gear Notes:

used a few pickets in running belays, 2-3 screws on ice step.


Approach Notes:

easy crossing the Coleman at 6500'

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THANKS FOR THE TR! I was up there last year, and it was one of the most beautiful cascade routes I've ever been on.


Your pictures are fantastic too. Again, thanks for sharing!

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Chris Kouba from Phoenix


An ice climber from Phoenix? I call bullshit :grlaf::laf: :laf: :laf::wazup:


Nice work guys... Chris: I hope you have started looking for a therapist... when your sabbatical is over you are going to get post sabbatical depression bad! :laf:


Terry: looking forward to climbing some ice with you in CO this winter :tup:

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thanks for the matchmaking.i would have been pretty sad to go back east without at least one decent climb.i'll be back for serious stuff later.thanks

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Yes, I think route should still be good. We crossed Coleman at 6500' and went almost all the way to the toe of the N. ridge before cutting up. The whole way was mostly a a straight shot for us. Stay at 6500' and don't cut up too early and I think it should be fine for you.


Enjoy this super stellar route!

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Did the North Ridge on Sunday (car-to-car in a long day). Route is still in great shape. We thought another team ahead of us took the left entrance (lower option) to gain the ridge. There was evidence of tons of rock fall in the right gully (higher option), but we got there before the Sun, and hence did not see any rock fall as we climbed through it. We started on the glacier a bit too early - should've waited till we had some light so that we could see better. We got a little greedy, tried to cut left and up too soon (around 6200 ft), and had to weave through numerous crevasses before we stumbled on the bootpath that Terry mentioned (at 6500 ft). Looking from below, we thought there were numerous bootpaths up the right gully, but realized when we got closer that they were in fact rock fall tracks! Some of them worked great as steps still!!


It sure is a route of thunk after thunk after thunk, and the settings are unbeatable. Thanks for the motivation guys! Here are a few pics.


Early morning crevasse shenanigans:





Stephen in entrance gully:





At the belay before the ice pitch. Go Cougs!!:





On the upper portions after the ice pitch:





Approaching the seracs (the "secret passage" is towards the left end):





Summit burrito!!:







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