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[TR] Mt. Baker - North Ridge 6/25/2016

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Trip: Mt. Baker - North Ridge


Date: 6/25/2016


Trip Report:

Posting partly as a conditions report and partly to see what others have done...


Saturday I climbed the North Ridge on Baker. This was my first time to the summit (I attempted something on the south side a few years back).


I left the car at 4:45am. The glacier and ridge were in cloud, it was misting, the fresh snow from Thurs/Fri was slushy. I could see some foot prints leading out across the glacier to where I thought the ridge should be so I followed those. Had to back track a few times around crevasses, and had to sit and wait for clouds to clear a few times when visibility got quite low (with the forecast calling for sun I had not bothered to take goggles which was dumb). Lost the tracks near the top of the glacier.


I eventually found what I thought was the bottom of the ridge and climbed what I thought was the right-hand start. It turned out I was climbing a snow gully that was lower down and more direct, but it went fine with the schrund being the sketchiest part in the fresh wet snow and some slush on rock at a choke point before I reached the ridge crest. At this point the slush had gained a thin ice crust on top.


I wasn't sure I was on the actual North Ridge until I saw the definitive ice cliff through the clouds. Climbed a right-hand variation on the cliff, felt about the same as WI3+ in Hyalite, though since I was soloing it could well have been easier. Topped out by going straight up the serac at the top (it was mellower than that sounds). It looks like the large serac block that was hanging at the top is greatly diminished.


Hit the summit at 11:39am, wanted to set a good time so descended quickly, switched to my approach shoes at the base of the glacier and speed-hiked/jogged back to the car by 2:08pm. So car-car 9:23, but with the conditions I think it could be done at least 2 hrs faster, would be curious to see what others have done?



low visibility



schrund getting on the ridge



ice cliff and sun finally appear, I climbed about 50ft to the left of the rock knob, about a third of the way over to the low angle prow on the left



view from summit, serac on right is directly above the North Ridge



back at the bottom of the glacier


I then climbed Fisher Chimneys on Shuksan the next day but someone already posted a TR for that so I'll spare you all details except to say that the creeks/trails had a lot more water on them later in the day, and the summit pyramid snow gully was getting slushy on that south aspect by noon. But, you all probably already know that :grin:


Gear Notes:

stripped-down quarks, strap-on pons, approach shoes on the hike, Nepals on the climb


Approach Notes:

Heliotrope Trail

Edited by bedellympian

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I'll add an update on the N. Ridge. Getting over to the ridge was straight forward with a few cracks to cross. We gained the ridge on the far left side with an easy shrund crossing. The ice cliff was gained from the apex of the rock and was at best WI3 for a short bit. Took screws. We too went through the serac to gain the summit also straight forward cause there were still tracks from the week before. We laughed cause it was the first time in many many years we had tracks to follow on a route.

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