Ascent of Mount Baker on 2015-06-07

Climber: Petro Ksondzyk

Date:Sunday, June 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Baker
    Elevation:10781 ft / 3286 m

Ascent Trip Report

Initially I was planning to climb Sherpa peak this weekend, but some of our team members cancelled the climb and I changed my plans to do the North Ridge of Baker instead. I called my friend and we did last minute plans for this climb. We decided to leave Saturday afternoon and camp at the base of the glacier. We arrived to the camp site around 9pm and went to sleep at 10. Woke up at midnight, loaded ourselves with tasteless Mountain House food and stated the climb at 1am.

The weather on the previous day was very hot (probably the hottest day in this year so far) and the snow didn't look like it is going to refreeze at all. We turned left towards the ridge around 6500'. The route finding was quite easy. A lot of the crevasses haven't formed yet there and it was a straight forward walk. The first step on the ridge was a bit sketchy as it was a mix of soft snow and crust in some places. An hour or so later we reached the top section of the step and walked towards the second ice step. There was a large slide on the upper slope of the mid section probably a few days to a week before. There were a bunch of huge ice boulders scattered over the slope. That actually helped to cross a few crevasses there as the slide closed them and made nice bridges. We reached the base of the second step around 7am. The quality of the ice was definitely not what we expected. Recent rains, rapid warming and lack of melt/freeze cycles formed a slushy cover a few inches deep on top of the ice. After assessing the ice quality initial desire to climb the right section of the ice step went away and we decided to do the left corner instead. In some places the ice was not bad at all, but the sun heated upper section of the corner was hard to protect. You had to scrape off 4-5 inches of slush to get to a more or less stable ice to place in ice screw. Shortly we reached the top of the ice step which we climbed in 1pitch (about 50 meters long). The snow above the step had a thin crust on top and was very soft under it. In places the snow was soft and covered by little ice marbles with hard crust about a foot deep. Around 9 or 9-30am we were near the last summit slope. We shortened the rope and went up using pickets for running belays. We reached the summit around 11am and shortly after that started descent on Coleman-Deming route.

It took us a little longer than we expected to climb the route, primarily because of the step kicking effort in a not perfect snow, but overall if was a fun and enjoyable climb. Reached the camp at 1-30, packed the camp and returned back to the trailhead at 4pm.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7281 ft / 2219 m
    Total Elevation Loss:7281 ft / 2219 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.9 mi / 20.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb, Ice Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:7281 ft / 2219 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    Route:North Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Heliotrope Ridge TH#  3500 ft / 1066 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:7281 ft / 2219 m
    Distance:7.2 mi / 11.6 km
    End Trailhead:Heliotrope Ridge TH#  3500 ft / 1066 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Petro Ksondzyk
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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