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Mountain Madness Climber

Baker Summit — Rain or Shine!

This week­end Mark Pugliese and I took a group of 8 climbers (most­ly Cana­di­ans!) to Mount Bak­er for our clas­sic Eas­t­on Glac­i­er climb. The group was a mix­ture of expe­ri­enced climbers and first timers, but all were excit­ed to get up on the moun­tain! We left the van with blue skies and warm tem­per­a­tures. But that would­n’t last for long…

After mak­ing it up to Sandy Camp at rough­ly 6,000 feet, we had our snow school, fol­lowed by a quick din­ner, and then it was off to bed. Day 2 of the trip end­ed up being our only weath­er win­dow, and we want­ed to get every­one to bed so we would all be rest­ed in time for the sum­mit push the next day. 

Our 3am wake-up was accom­pa­nied by a large, bright moon and part­ly cloudy skies. We bare­ly had to use our head­lamps, since leav­ing camp at 4:25am allows for bright snow and after short nights. As we made our way up the glac­i­er, we fol­lowed a well-trod­dened boot path and did­n’t even have to put on cram­pons until the Roman Wall. The route was in great con­di­tions due to the recent snow­fall and the still some­what ear­ly con­di­tions. As we made upward progress, the weath­er slow­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed until we were enveloped in clouds as we pro­gressed up the mighty Mount Baker. 

The weath­er begin­ning to move in. Andy Dahlen photo

We reached the sum­mit plateau at 1pm in white­out con­di­tions and strong, side­ways gusts of snow and ice crys­tals. After some quick pic­tures, we descend­ed the glac­i­er as quick­ly as we could as the foul weath­er fol­lowed us to our tents at base­camp. Mark and I hur­ried to melt some snow and get din­ner start­ed in our vestibule so that we could get every­one rehy­drat­ed and fed (Pad Thai!) so every­one could curl up in their sleep­ing bags to get some well-deserved sleep. 

Not much of a view, but every­one made it! Andy Dahlen photo

Day 3 we woke up to more rain as we quick­ly broke down our camp so we could get out of the rain as quick­ly as we could. we reached the van at 2pm and enjoyed the ride back to Seat­tle with some Gatoraides and chips as we all planned on what we were going to have for din­ner that night. Thanks to every­one for the awe­some atti­tudes and great effort!”

~ MM Guide Andy Dahlen