It's not every day that we find ourselves in
the North West with all our gear and the promise for good weather. Scott
and I jumped at the chance to climb Baker from the traditional route. This
would be the third time I headed out for the summit on this route... would the
third time be a charm?
We started hiking in the rain.
And it didn't stop raining until we were at
Most of the creek crossings were slippery and
wet but the snow bridge over this one was still intact.
By the time we cleared the tree line, it looked
like we were making our way above the cloud layer.
But we were soon back in the thick of them with
no land marks in sight.
We pulled up to 6800 feet and parked along side
the last pile of rocks on Heliotrope ridge. There were a couple of brothers
there already (Tom and Steve) who graciously shared their rock spot.
Holes in the cloud cover began to pass over us
and teased us with promise of a view of the mountain, but the view never came so
we crashed in the tent to get some sleep before the morning climb.
Then just before sunset, Tom woke us up with
reports of a clear view. And that it was.
We slept through the alarm and woke up just as
the sun was beginning to light the sky. Tom and Steve had left for the
summit an hour or two ahead of us so we didn't waste any time roping up and
gearing up. We headed out across Colman glacier at high speed.
The route shots up to the saddle between Colfax
Peak and Grant Peak (the main summit), then follows a ridge to the summit dome.
The dome itself is probably the steepest part but good steps from previous
climbers make the assent a pretty easy walk up.
Here's Scott with the back side of the Sister's
range and Colfax Peak behind him.
The summit was cold and windy.
We were beat. The Ski-to-Sea race the day
before had taken a bit of a toll.
The decent took nearly as long as the ascent.
Scott's feet were giving him trouble and I was low on energy, so we just kept it
slow and easy.
The sun was taking it's toll on the firm snow
surface though and by the time we reached camp, we were plunging through the
surface about a
foot or so.
After a little nap at camp, we packed up and
headed down. The way back to the tree line went fast even though we were
now plunging nearly to our knees in soft wet snow. The trail to the truck
seemed to literally stretch out in front of us as we hiked. But as always
it eventually gave in to persistence
and our climb was soon over.
The forecast called for more rain, but it held
off for another photo from the valley. You see the majority of the route
from here and our camp site as well (if we had the resolution).