icons/avalancheicons/bootscompassfacebookicons/gloveshandsicons/hearticons/helmeticons/ice axeinstagramminusmountainicons/pathsMap Pinplusicons/questionicons/guideicons/ropeicons/gogglesicons/stafftenttwitteryoutube
Soaked and stoked 2048

Soaked and Stoked — A Family Climb of Mount Baker

Mad­ness guide Mal­lo­rie Esten­son shares a sog­gy but suc­cess­ful Mount Bak­er climb with a fam­i­ly and their friend. Inter­est­ed in a climb with your fam­i­ly? Also check out Mount Adams and Ruth Moun­tain!

On Thurs­day, Arthur Her­l­itz­ka and I drove down the Mount Bak­er High­way, cof­fee in-hand and wind­shield wipers work­ing. After a full month of trips in per­fect weath­er, the Pacif­ic North Wet’ was final­ly liv­ing up to its reputation.

I thought to myself, I hope every­one brought good rain gear.”

As we got to the trail­head, we tran­si­tioned into boots and full raingear and set off down the trail at a com­fort­able clip. Arthur and I were trav­el­ing with a par­ty of five, the Dahl fam­i­ly and their friend Michaela Flum. Maybe the group was real­ly strong, or maybe nobody felt like hang­ing around in the rain, because we only paused for a break once on the way to camp.

For­tu­nate­ly, the rain let up long enough for us to get through snow school, where we cov­ered the basics of walk­ing on snow and self-arrest. We had Thai veg­etable cur­ry for din­ner and then got to bed ear­ly, hop­ing that the break in the weath­er would last.

Fast for­ward to 2:00 a.m.: I unzipped my tent and rain­fly to reveal a sky full of stars. It was a good start to an excel­lent day.

A beau­ti­ful sun­rise on Mount Baker.

High on the Roman Wall, my team paus­es to take a look at Col­fax and Lin­coln Peaks in the fore­ground; Ana­cortes, Belling­ham and Cana­da beyond.

After a quick cup of cof­fee, a ham and cheese break­fast crois­sant, and a few cram­pon adjust­ments, we were on our way to the top just before 4 a.m.

Arthur roped up with the Dahl par­ents, Dan and Megan. I was excit­ed when I learned I would have an all-lady rope team with the Dahl daugh­ters, Tatum and Scar­lett, and their friend Michaela.

Once again, we set off at a speedy clip and found our­selves on the sum­mit just before 9:30 a.m. With a few quick breaks along the way and a pause for blis­ter mit­i­ga­tion, we made excel­lent time climb­ing from Hogs­back camp at rough­ly 5,500 feet to the top at 10,781 feet.

Our team on top of Mount Bak­er (10,781’) after climb­ing the Cole­man Dem­ing route.

After sum­mit­ing, we enjoyed a leisure­ly after­noon around camp and hap­pi­ly climbed into our sleep­ing bags before sunset.

I woke up around 5 a.m. on our final day to the sound of wind blast­ing my tent and rain pelt­ing down from above. I willed myself back to sleep hop­ing that it would clear up by 7 a.m., when we’d planned on get­ting up. Once again, I woke up around 6:30 to the sounds of the storm… And when it was final­ly 7 a.m., it was still rag­ing. Thank good­ness we’d got­ten our per­fect weath­er win­dow the day before.

As we began the hike out, I think our par­ty was both soaked and stoked; drenched by the down­pour but excit­ed that we’d made it to the top. It was an excel­lent trip.

Soaked & stoked with Michaela and the Dahl family!

~Words and images, MM Guide Mal­lo­rie Estenson