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Mountain Madness Climber

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.

Eas­t­on Glacier

Mt. Bak­er

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.

Roped up

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.”

~ Christophe