Mt. Baker
June 25-26, 2011

I started planning this climb in December, after Nathen Banne and I ran into each other at Conan's 2nd birthday party.
Nathen is an old friend of the Mapes family, who I've been hanging around with since about 1990.
Nathen told me that he and Dave Mapes had always wanted to get up on top of Mt Baker, and asked if I could lead them up there.
I offered to plan a climb for Nathen's sixty-second birthday, on June 25th.
I invited two of my best friends, Cary and Eric Mapes, to come up with us.

Day 1

The snow started just a few hundred feet above the trailhead.
We walked over snow covered streams, trudged across avalanche chutes, and roughly followed the Heliotrope Ridge Trail up through the dense forest.

Nathen Banne and Eric Mapes.

We started getting some views of the Coleman Glacier as we neared the top of the Heliotrope Ridge Trail.

Here's Cary, sitting on a rock at the top of the Heliotrope Ridge Trail, pointing up the route.

...and here's what he was pointing at.
Our route was up, up, up, from the bottom of the photo, and up to the right, and then left around the backside of those rocks at the top of the photo.

As we climbed alongside the Coleman icefall, I snapped some photos of that fearsome terrain.

The peak came into view briefly. It was still looking pretty far away.
It can be a little discouraging to see the ultimate goal so far away while trudging through the snow with a full pack.

The last leg of the climb for Day 1 was up this slope on the left of the photo.
It was quite a haul.

There's that summit again.

The snow and wind came in as we were approaching our intended campsite.
In near white-out conditions, we dug out a flat spot in the snow and made camp.

Eric and I were up late, 'til sunset, preparing ropes, cooking dinner, and melting snow for the following day.

It is a spectacular place to camp, though it feels pretty hostile at times.

Definitely time to go to bed.

Day 2

The alarm went off at 1:00 AM, after a few hours in the tent.
Boots were frozen, the ground was slick, and it was COLD!
We managed to get geared up, coffeed up, clipped in to the rope, and out of camp by 3:00 AM.
I'm still not sure where those two hours went.

We hiked under the stars for a couple of hours. This has always been my favorite part.
Conditions were clear and calm, perfect.
I couldn't take any photos until we had a little more light.
The cresent moon passed over the summit as we hiked up the Coleman Glacier.

The rope team.

We reached the base of the mighty Roman Wall around 7:30 AM.
The wall climbs about 800 vertical feet in about half a mile.

Come on guys, almost there!

We climbed up onto the ice cap at about 8:45.
Who put the summit all the way over there? Groan...

A summit shot of the whole team.

The views were awesome, of course.
I could see Mt Rainier (maybe Adams?), the Olympic range, the BC Coast range, and of course, the terrible and spectacular North Cascades.
The photo is looking down to the summit of Mt Shuksan.

Well done Dave and Nathen! Sixty-two and on top of the North Cascades!