The Northwest Provides Awesome Experiences for Beginners!
Beginning climber Christophe Robert shared his wonderful experience of his second summit with Mountain Madness on his Mt. Baker trip this August. He first joined MM on a summit climb of Mt. Adams. For all you beginners who are considering joining us on the mountains, check out Christophe’s experience — it will inspire you to strap on your crampons and join us!
“Yesterday I climbed Mt Baker, the third highest mountain of Washington State, and reached the summit at 11.15am. This is my second summit after climbing Mt Adams in July. Mt Baker is actually much lower than Mt Adams, 10,778 ft vs 12,276 ft or 3286m vs 3742m, but the climb is much harder and technical. On Saturday after a three hour hike our party composed of two guides and five people (all very nice!) reached base camp at 5,600 ft.
Getting ready at trailhead
Hike to base camp
First night at base camp
Guides Chris Petry and Rob Schiesser
Practicing walking on snow before summit day
“After a very short and cold night, we woke up at 3am on Sunday and got ourselves ready for the summit push. We actually did not start before 4.45am. The sky was clear and the stars beautiful. We could see as far as the city lights of Bellingham. The views were beautiful and the glacier massive.
“Quickly the clouds rolled in and as we climbed further up the fog settled-in. It will take us six and a half hours to ascend the Easton glacier and reach the summit, and a grand total of ten hours and forty five minutes once back to base camp.
“It was my first travelling on a big glacier with lots of huge crevasses as large as a home and as deep as a ten story building. It was also my first experience climbing a 35 degree slope over 800 vertical feet, the Roman Wall, before reaching the summit. Unfortunately we had no views whatsoever from the summit.
Teammate reaching the summit
Summit of Baker
Group photo at the summit
“On the way up I was the last one roped up, which also made me the first one on the way down as the guide needs to stay on top of the group for safety reasons. I was really outside of my comfort zone to step down on a 35 degree slope with no-one in front of me, big crevasses down below and a slope which looked endless. I took one step at a time and remained very focused having to trust both my crampons and my footing. After climbing down these 800 feet at 35 degrees, the rest of the way down looked much easier.
Me leading on the way down as the guide is the first one up and the last one down
“We got caught several times in a white-out and it even started to snow. Visibility was so poor that at some points I would not see more than 10 feet in front of me. Thanks to the guide (and the GPS!) we were able to back-track our way up and went around the same big crevasses on the way down.
Base of Roman Headwall on the way down
Camp site with the Sisters in the background before breaking camp on the last day
Marmot with a view
“Then on the way back we stopped for a great lunch after eating camp food for 3 days!
Well deserved burger on the way back to Seattle
“I will sure go back to Mt Baker in the summer and try to pick a time of the year to maximize the chances to get views from the summit, which I heard are spectacular.”