Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mount Baker - One Day Ascent - June 20, 2012
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 7:33 am 
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Craig and I had been discussing our Baker trip via the Easton Glacier for what seemed like ages.  Prior to June we assembled a team of 8 climbers, all experienced and very strong.  A series of lousy weekends forced us to delay the trip several times and eventually our team shrank down to just Craig and I.  We had a lot of difficulty trying to get more partners for rope travel.  The most stressful part of this trip was the planning process.

After another bad weekend (June 17,18) we noticed an upcoming weather window mid-week.  Lucky for us, both our bosses at work were willing to cooperate.  I contacted Joe and he had Wednesday off as well.  He asked if he could bring his buddy Jeremy.

8000 feet
8000 feet
8500 feet
8500 feet

The four of us set off from the cars at 8pm Tuesday night.  We carried no tents or sleeping bags.  Our intention was to climb Baker in one long push.  I estimated that we would reach the summit around sunrise or thereafter and then get down off the glacier before the snow bridges started softening too much.

The first half mile to the end of the road was still snowed in.  Joe made a good recommendation for where we should cut up onto the Railroad Grade ridge.  Part way up the ridge it became fully dark and we switched to headlamps.  We passed several groups of tents at the various camps and we later learned these were mostly students for the Alpine Ascents climbing course.

Glacier Peak And Clouds
Glacier Peak And Clouds
Sloan Peak And Clouds
Sloan Peak And Clouds

We roped up at Sandy Camp.  Craig was in the back, ready to initiate Z-Pulley if need be while Jeremy and Joe being slightly less experienced were in the middle.  We followed tracks to around 8000 feet.  I suspected that they belonged to my fellow OSATers and I felt bad for them to see them end at 8000 feet.  Judging from the depth of the tracks, it had been raining when they were here.

We had passed by a couple small crevasses off to the side but surprisingly few.  Perhaps there was still too much snow to see the majority of them.  I said, "hey, maybe we won't see much in the way of crevasses".  Then I immediately wondered if I shouldn't of said that.  The tracks ended at the base of a steep incline.  I started leading up the slope until I heard a strange tinkling sound.  I froze in my tracks.  Something in the back of my mind told me that I had heard that noise before and it was bad thing.  I took one more tentative step and then I could see it.  I was on the edge of a massive gaping maw, the largest I had ever been so close to.

Colfax Peak
Colfax Peak
Bakers Shadow
Bakers Shadow

The other side was at least 40 feet away.  I couldn't see the bottom.  The tinkling sound was caused by small icicles that were breaking off the underside of the lip.  Someone down behind me asked "how does it look?".  "It looks like sh##!".  They asked again and I said, "It looks really bad".  I looked down at my feet and there was a large split in the snow that I hadn't seen at first.  This whole lip could sheer off at any moment.  I turned around and told the rope team that we needed to reverse direction.  Craig led the way back down until we could try another way around the steep slope and giant crevasse.

Went to the right and passed between a series of very large crevasses.  I wondered how Joe and Jeremy were feeling.  This kind of thing can be pretty exciting/scary the first time.  We continued to climb and had to cross over several smaller crevasses.  Most of them were still covered enough that we could step from one lip to the other.  Just after 4am there was enough natural light to see by.  The crater was above us.  We could see the gases pumping out and we could smell the sulfur on the wind.

Lincoln Peak
Lincoln Peak
Nearing The Crater
Nearing The Crater

Alpenglow was painting the peaks around us.  The view of Lincoln and Colfax was especially good but we could also see the Twins, Glacier Peak, and Rainier very clearly.  I was surprised about the lack of wind.  We were over 9000 feet and the temperature was below freezing but fairly comfortable.  At the rim of the crater we paused to absorb the ambience while giant clouds of volcanic gas rose hundreds of feet above our heads.

Beyond the crater we contoured the rocks and ascended far right of the Roman Wall.  At this point I remembered my first ascent of Baker in 2006 and how the Roman wall had been icy and a little unsettling.  But the snow conditions today were perfect.  Very firm but not the least bit icy.

Volcanic Gas
Volcanic Gas
Crater Rim
Crater Rim
Sherman Peak
Sherman Peak
Sherman Crater
Sherman Crater

We reached the summit around 8am.  It was Jeremy and Joe's first volcano climb.  But this was also a historic moment for peakbagging in Washington State.  At the summit Craig became the 10th person to complete the WA County High Points.  But not only that.  He also completed the WA County Prominence Peaks, the WA 25 Mile Isolation Peaks, and it was his 100th 2000 foot prominence peak.  Pretty amazing if you think about it.  I felt very proud of him and honored to be a part of this pivotal climb and several of the other challenging ones on those lists.  I laughed out loud when he pulled out a bakers hat and put it on his head.

We left the summit around 8:30am and followed our crampons tracks back down to where the deeper boot tracks were.  The snow remained firm until that point but then it started softening up.  Around 7500 feet we encountered some post-holing action which was discouraging now that the team was getting tired.  At the camps we passed by several groups practicing various parts of snow climbing and glacier travel.

Grant Peak
Grant Peak
The Baker
The Baker
Descending
Descending
The Twins
The Twins

Once we were off the glacier we untied from the rope.  Joe and Jeremy went on ahead to meet us back at Joe's house to exchange gear.  They were faster than us and we didn't want to hold them up.  After an endless road walk we got back to the car around 2pm.  It was hot and we were feeling exhausted after 18 hours of climbing.  I hadn't felt that tired since climbing Bonanza.  On the way back to Mount Vernon I started hallucinating.  I saw some very odd things on the side of the road.  I stared at them hard but they didn't disappear.  I guess I was dreaming awake.

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http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Redwic
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009
Posts: 3162 | TRs | Pics
Location: On Hiking Hiatus
Redwic
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 8:03 am 
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Thanks Adam, Joe, and Jeremy! I had a blast!

SPOT Tracks - Ascent Route
SPOT Tracks - Ascent Route

I created a symbol for our team... although I forgot to pass out the tags to my teammates. Oops!
Baker Trip Symbol
Baker Trip Symbol

Adam had this great gift waiting for me at the summit. He said he "found the Bench Mark" and we each looked at him with "Huh???" expressions on our faces. Adam had the following customized Bench Mark made. Awesome!!!

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"Revolutions are not overnight. The heightist mindset has minimally a 100 year head start. Eventually the climbing community will embrace prominence." -Adam Helman
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostThu Jun 21, 2012 8:41 am 
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That is a lonnnnnnng day.  stun.gif  Pulling it off in style, as usual, Redwic.  up.gif
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EastKing
Summit Addict



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
EastKing
Summit Addict
PostThu Jun 21, 2012 8:44 am 
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Good job to all! Way to hit that weather window!!!! Congratulations Redwic for your accomplishments.

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Redwic
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Redwic
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 8:47 am 
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Gimpilator wrote:
The Baker
The Baker

I was "cooking" something special!

Magellan wrote:
That is a lonnnnnnng day.

No kidding! It took us 11h30m up, 6h30m down. After we unroped, Joe and Jeremy were faster getting back to the parking area, while Adam and I were taking our time enjoying the scenery, snacking, and trying not to over-exert our already exhausted selves.

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"Revolutions are not overnight. The heightist mindset has minimally a 100 year head start. Eventually the climbing community will embrace prominence." -Adam Helman
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IanB
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Joined: 21 Jul 2010
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IanB
Vegetable Belayer
PostThu Jun 21, 2012 12:08 pm 
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A heroic outing - from the perspective of a humble scrambler!   up.gif

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"Forget gaining a little knowledge about a lot and strive to learn a lot about a little."    - Harvey Manning
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
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Go Jo
of the lykkens
PostThu Jun 21, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Nicely done gentlemen!  up.gif  up.gif
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Mike Collins
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Mike Collins
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 1:34 pm 
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Congratulations Craig on your mountaineering accomplishments. Alex Lowe said "The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun." On that day it was you.
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twodogdad
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twodogdad
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Congratulations. Dodging a bad crevasse in the dark is an accomplishment to remember. tdd
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mtn.climber
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mtn.climber
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Congrats Craig and others!! up.gif

A great accomplishment.  Wish it would've worked for me to join.

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Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff

Live the life of love.  Love the life you live.
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Paul M
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Paul M
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PostThu Jun 21, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Congratulations Craig.

Way to finish off these lists in style too!
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Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday



Joined: 30 May 2007
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Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday
PostFri Jun 22, 2012 9:52 am 
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Nice work on a beautiful mountain.  And nice job on your 100th 2000' prominence peak, Redwic.

We were in the neighborhood on Lincoln Peak... a beautiful couple of days in the Mt. Baker area!
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zephyr
aka friendlyHiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
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zephyr
aka friendlyHiker
PostFri Jun 22, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Congratulations!  Gimpilator what a terrific video to highlight y'all's accomplishment.  Love the shadow of Mt. Baker as the morning progresses.  When I was driving into Seattle Wednesday morning, I could see Mt. Baker so clearly for a change.  Usually it's hidden or murky over that way.   I knew you all were gunning for the peak and I wondered if you were up there on such a splendid day.  You were!  Craig, seeing your happy face in that video almost made me tear up.  I am so excited for you.  This is such good news.   party.gif  All the best, ~z
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Redwic
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Redwic
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PostFri Jun 22, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Tom_Sjolseth wrote:
We were in the neighborhood on Lincoln Peak... a beautiful couple of days in the Mt. Baker area!

We saw two people down below the east side of Colfax Peak in the morning... Was that you, or someone else?

zephyr wrote:
Craig, seeing your happy face in that video almost made me tear up.

I cried for the second time at the summit of a mountain... but not because of the summit this time. No, this time it was because of what I was talking about during a video I was filming at the summit. What was I talking about? I got emotional when I thought about several of the great people in my life.

BTW- I just added photos to my post up above. Sorry for the delays, everyone... I have not had much time to concentrate on this stuff because since I got back my work has been hectic and sleep has been at a premium. I am working on a video, too, but it is proving to be its own daunting task.

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"Revolutions are not overnight. The heightist mindset has minimally a 100 year head start. Eventually the climbing community will embrace prominence." -Adam Helman
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Redwic
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Redwic
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PostFri Jun 22, 2012 7:09 pm 
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I have met many interesting people during this journey. Some of them have provided useful information, some of them have accompanied me on trips, and some of them have become good friends.

I want to thank the following people for being teammates on Washington county highpoint trips:
Kerri, Victoria, Adam W., Dave M., Josh, Michael, Eric, Dennis, Ken R., Greg S., Adam H., Robbin, Skylar, Joe, Jeremy… and two other guys.

I want to thank the following people for being teammates on Washington county prominence peak trips:
Kerri, Victoria, Adam W., Dave M., Josh, Michael, Skylar, Joe, Jeremy… and two other guys.

I want to thank the following people for being teammates on Washington 25-mile isolation peak trips:
Kerri, Victoria, Adam W., Dave M., Josh, Michael, Bob, Skylar, Joe, Jeremy… and two other guys.

I also want to acknowledge those people who completed the Washington County Highpoints prior to me doing so, as those people helped inspire me to go for this goal:
John Roper, Bob Bolton, Bob Packard, Martin Shetter, Paul Klenke, Duane Gilliland, Edward Earl, Andy Boos, Paul Michelson

Now including myself, I will refer to these first completers of the Washington County Highpoints as the “WashingTEN”.
WashingTEN County Highpointers
WashingTEN County Highpointers

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"Revolutions are not overnight. The heightist mindset has minimally a 100 year head start. Eventually the climbing community will embrace prominence." -Adam Helman
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