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Hayley Sierra

[TR] Mt. Baker - North Ridge 7/5/2010

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Trip: Mt. Baker - North Ridge


Date: 7/5/2010


Trip Report:

NR Baker (a.k.a. Sisters Trip 2010!)


We have kept the tradition of having an annual sisters trip for 6 years now. The goal of each of these trips has been to find a challenge for ourselves and, primarily, have fun doing it. With that, the NR of Baker was a fitting objective. Valerie has been dabbling with ice for a little while now, but had not yet attempted to lead an alpine route. Hayley has also practiced top-roping ice crags a couple of times and just last year became comfortable leading steep snow pitches with our ascent of the NF of Buckner (Sisters trip 2009). So, with a good forecast and great conditions reported on this route, we took off for a Monday-Tuesday climb.


We took our time getting to the trailhead to avoid the tail-end of the last weather system. We hiked up in a misty drizzle passing several battered parties. All that we spoke with had made the summit, but it didn't sound like the most enjoyable conditions. Just as we arrived at camp, the clouds broke to blue skies and a clear view of our route. Our summit day was looking to be quite nice. A sun nap on our bivies and a spectacular sunset finished off our day.







We started across the lower Coleman glacier at 3:45 the next morning. The crossing went far more smoothly than my last attempt at the route (late October 2008). Most of the crevasses were still covered and those that were opened had convenient snow bridges. Even though we hit the route early in the day, rockfall was an issue while gaining the north ridge. A baseball-sized rock wizzed by narrowly missing both of us. We sped up to reach the relative safety of the ridge. We continued up the ridge to 9600' and the start of the crux pitches.







The crux was at the very start of the first pitch; about 15' of near vertical ice gained an arete that continued for 1.5 pitches. This section of the climb was ridiculously cool; the lower north ridge on one side, the massive Roosevelt glacier on the other- it doesn't get much better than this. The entire arete protected well with ice scews, which made for an enjoyable first alpine ice lead! A second ice/snow pitch finished the arete and gained more broad slopes. Three steep snow pitches with a little simul-climbing mixed in gained a ledge in front of an ice shelf. A left trending traverse around the ice shelf brought us to the summit at 1:30 pm.


Colorado team member on the crux section:



Hayley ascending the first pitch



Top of the first pitch



Looking up to Valerie at the bottom of the second pitch



Nearing the top of the second pitch



Hayley leads off above the second pitch




Final walk to the summit






On the hike down, Hayley commented that our sisters trip keeps getting more difficult each year. We now wonder what 2011 will have in store...









Gear Notes:

60 M 9.4 mm rope

Ice crampons, two tools

10 ice screws (~16 cm)

10 quickdraws or alpine draws

3 pickets (2')



Approach Notes:

Snowline is reached just below the hogsback ridge.

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Great report and pics! Did you camp at the 6,000' camps or higher? What about gaining the base of the ridge - did you go climbers left around the ridge and up, or come in from climbers right and directly up? Thanks.

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AWESOME t.r. and pix! ..and I don't mean that in the trivial, colloquial sense; your photos actually inspire awe! You two must have made some incredible memories on Baker. Can't wait for your 2011 report!

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We camped on a rock outcrop slightly above and left of the normal 6000' camp (maybe 6300'). It made the glacier crossing slightly shorter in the morning. We took a 40 degree snow slope directly up to gain the ridge. There was another snow slope to climber's right of the one we used, but it had a large crevasse blocking access to the bottom. Aside from potential rock fall danger, this route worked well for us.

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Hi Hayley, looks like you got some nice photos of the NR trip! I was on the Colorado team just ahead of you (thanks for the shot of me on the crux) -- we lucked out with a really nice weather window, given the nasty conditions of the previous two days. I got a nice photo of your sister, Valerie (sorry if I got your names reversed) after she finished leading the first pitch (which I understand was her first -- congrats!).


Let me know if you ever want to plan a Sisters' trip to CO!







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Cool pic John, Thanks!


It was nice to meet you guys up there. I hope your trip up Rainier went just as well! We should have a Sisters' trip in CO; it is between here and Baltimore after all.

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