Forum Index > Trail Talk > Avalanche safe-ish trip near Mt. Baker
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
anonwums
Member
Member


Joined: 04 Feb 2015
Posts: 24 | TRs

anonwums
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 9:41 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Hello,

I'm thinking of doing a trip on Saturday off the Mt. Baker Hwy. Initial plan was Welcome Pass. Right now, avalanche danger is high at and above treeline. The proposed route is primarily below treeline but does cross at least one avalanche run-out path. That should be avoidable if you start the ascent lower down. It also approaches some avoidable open slopes near the top. However, in order to do this "safely," it will require a fair amount of careful route selection and risk assessment. With high danger making natural avalanches likely, the margin for error is slim, and I don't feel comfortable doing that route if the forecast remains high.

Based on reading the upcoming forecast, I hope that avalanche danger will decrease over the next few days. But if it does not, are there any routes that are fairly safe, i.e. stay on ridges the entire time while in treeline, completely flat, etc? I know of a couple down near US2 and I90, but I'd prefer not to make that trek from up north.

And yes, I know that it's all about risk mitigation and you cannot entirely avoid avalanches. But I'm looking for something where that risk is low when the avalanche danger is high.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
rossb
Member
Member


Joined: 23 Sep 2002
Posts: 1292 | TRs

rossb
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 9:51 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Artist Point is fairly safe as long as you use common sense. Even if you don't -- even if you hug the side when there is a perfectly nice, easy bowl to the left -- you will likely be OK. Likewise, Huntoon Point (up above Artist Point, climber's left) is easy and safe. You won't be alone, but you can wander away from the crowds quite easily and have lunch to yourself.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
gb
Member
Member


Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 5272 | TRs

gb
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:01 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
On the weekend the avalanche hazard is likely to be High on Saturday as there is a strong front Friday - Saturday. Sunday could be better but that is too early to call.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 7783 | TRs
Location: state of confusion
joker
  Top

seeker
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:19 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
rossb wrote:
Artist Point is fairly safe as long as you use common sense.

Yes, so long as the "common sense" is augmented by at least some education on avalanche safety. Worth looking at where the semi-recent avalanche death  occurred to be aware of at least one spot one could wander into  en route if not familiar with what constitutes "avalanche terrain"! See this for a verbal  description. Also worth noting that  the  Mountaineers describe this ski/snowshoe trip with "Avalanche risk can be mitigated with good terrain choice, but this is not a trip suitable for high avalanche danger days" I've wondered about the potential for a slide where  the road traverses a steep slope just beyond Austin  Pass - I don't see any way to avoid either  traversing or climbing the  steep slope  to get from  near Austin  Pass  to  the  more moderate terrain beyond this one steep bit.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Abert
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Sep 2010
Posts: 558 | TRs
Location: Sequim
Abert
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:33 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Probably about the same driving distance from Bellingham to Goat Mountain or Point 4340 (Red Rock) near Grandy Lake off the Baker Lake Road.  Goat Mountain and Point 4340 trip reports and my photos of 4340.

--------------
Photos
Peakbagger Page
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
anonwums
Member
Member


Joined: 04 Feb 2015
Posts: 24 | TRs

anonwums
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 11:10 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Those are all great ideas! I should note that we are camping, so further distances are possible.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Abert
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Sep 2010
Posts: 558 | TRs
Location: Sequim
Abert
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 06, 2020 11:49 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
For camping, I'd think Point 4340 is private timberland.  Parts of Goat Mountain look like state land.

--------------
Photos
Peakbagger Page
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
rossb
Member
Member


Joined: 23 Sep 2002
Posts: 1292 | TRs

rossb
  Top

Member
PostTue Jan 07, 2020 5:35 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker wrote:
I don't see any way to avoid either  traversing or climbing the  steep slope  to get from  near Austin  Pass  to  the  more moderate terrain beyond this one steep bit.

It is really quite easy. The main thing to do is ignore the road and avoid cliffs. After Austin Pass, you basically head due south. It is very moderate terrain there. You may end up doing a little bit of up and down, but if you want to be safe, that's what you do. Then, make a sharp right. So more or less like this: https://caltopo.com/m/E867. It is actually quite intuitive.

I'm not one to downplay avalanche risk, but this is much safer than a lot of common winter routes. Commonwealth Basis is riskier. If you go far enough, Gold Creek is riskier. To be clear, it isn't 100% safe -- but it is a lot safer than most trips.

There are numerous ways of getting yourself in trouble up there. Trying to go down (or up) Blueberry Chutes under unstable conditions is crazy. Herman Saddle is a lot more dangerous (and there is no easy to avoid the risk). But the most common problem is that people follow the road. There are two cliffs that the road goes under, both easily spotted while there, and both can be found on the map. From the report, it sounds like they were under the second cliff (which would be climber's left) by the last big switchback. My sympathies.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 7783 | TRs
Location: state of confusion
joker
  Top

seeker
PostTue Jan 07, 2020 5:47 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I guess it depends on how far the runout from a slide there would travel into that flat area (where you are below a steep slope)... As you say, not 100% safe which was my point
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trail Talk > Avalanche safe-ish trip near Mt. Baker
  Happy Birthday peppersteak'n'ale, lookout bob, chiwakum!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy