icons/avalancheicons/bootscompassfacebookicons/gloveshandsicons/hearticons/helmeticons/ice axeinstagramminusmountainicons/pathsMap Pinplusicons/questionicons/guideicons/ropeicons/gogglesicons/stafftenttwitteryoutube
14 NW0614 BAKER 006 1024px

Early season on the Easton Glacier route of Mt. Baker

Embark­ing on this trip, the weath­er fore­cast wasn’t encour­ag­ing. Snow and clouds up high, rain down low; it seemed that old man win­ter wasn’t quite through with us yet. Nev­er­the­less, our guests, Peter, John, and Adel weren’t deterred in the least. John and Peter hail from Ire­land, and Adel calls Seat­tle his home, so they were accus­tomed to their fair share of wet weath­er. With hard­shell out­er­wear and plen­ty of gloves we began the ear­ly-sea­son, snowy approach up Rocky Creek toward the Eas­t­on Glacier.

The trek was tru­ly Cas­ca­di­an, with mist and clouds swirling amongst the moun­tain hem­lock, occa­sion­al­ly lift­ing to afford us a view of the ter­rain ahead. Hoary mar­mots sat alert on rocks. As we gained ele­va­tion toward our camp atop one of the lat­er­al moraines cre­at­ed when the Eas­t­on Glac­i­er extend­ed fur­ther down val­ley, hoary mar­mots, the occa­sion­al pika, and rosy finch­es greet­ed us at breaks, won­der­ing what this col­or­ful group of five trav­el­ers was doing in their home.

The snow and clouds couldn’t stop the gourmet back­coun­try cook­ing! Quinn Rohlf photo

Set­tling into camp, we erect­ed the guests’ tent and began melt­ing snow for water. The con­stant mist and occa­sion­al snow didn’t deter us from prepar­ing a healthy dose of warm appe­tiz­ers and din­ner while our guests warmed them­selves inside the tent. While fill­ing our bel­lies and replen­ish­ing our bod­ies, we talked about plans for the fol­low­ing day: our sum­mit bid, and how to prep our packs the night before for a smooth depar­ture in the morning.

Clouds begin to break as the team nego­ti­ates the ice­fall part way up the Eas­t­on Glac­i­er. Chris Mar­shall photo

Sum­mit day began with 50m vis­i­bil­i­ty leav­ing camp. As our teams trav­eled up the glac­i­er, the sun threat­ened to poke through, cast­ing a soft light in the vast glacial land­scape. Ice­falls and crevass­es appeared to our right, so sur­re­al they had the appear­ance of a paint­ed back­drop. Through the clouds we climbed, peri­od­i­cal­ly break­ing for fuel and water. Trav­el­ing toward the base of the Roman Wall, the steep­est part of the climb, we emerged above the top of the cloud­bank, with blue skies above and renewed excite­ment for the summit. 

John stoked to be feel­ing the sun. Quinn Rohlf photo

Approach­ing the base of the Roman wall after break­ing through the clouds. Chris Mar­shall photo

Stand­ing on top of Mount Bak­er, look­ing down onto a sea of clouds, the inevitable feel­ing of accom­plish­ment and suc­cess was shared with laughs, smiles, and sum­mit pho­tos. I was remind­ed of the val­ue of per­se­ver­ance and deal­ing with adver­si­ty while in the moun­tains. To feel the sun’s rays illu­mi­nate our spir­its while cast­ing a gaze down onto a world blan­ket­ed by clouds is a spe­cial expe­ri­ence that comes with hard work and deter­mi­na­tion. We were on top of the world, and had earned it too! Now only to descend back into the world of white…

The team reach­ing the top of Mt. Bak­er under blue skies and above the clouds. Chris Mar­shall photo

A moun­taineer’s salute on the sum­mit of Mt. Bak­er. Chris Mar­shall photo

This was a sum­mit that remind­ed us why we climb; beau­ti­ful views, great com­pa­ny, and per­son­al accom­plish­ment; what an awe­some day! Our sum­mer climb­ing and moun­taineer­ing sea­son is in full swing with numer­ous peaks that beg to be explored.

High above the sea of clouds, look­ing down towards the sum­mit crater, Mt. Bak­er. Quinn Rohlf photo

~MM Guide Chris Marshall