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North Ridge of Mount Baker
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.23 - 23:32:45
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Washington Cascades
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 2100m
Participants: Scott Nelson, Chris Michalak
Difficulty: 5: 10 m of 60-70 degree ice at the ice cliff. A few pitches of 45 degree ice and many pitches of 45 degree hard neve snow.
A climb of the north ridge route on Mt. Baker
The north ridge of Mt. Baker had been on my todo list for a while. Chris and I decided on the plan at the VOC August barbeque. The weather forecast was perfect.

We did the usual drive down to Mt. Baker, and hiked up the trail to the lower camping area below the glacier. Conditions were unusually dry, with lots of bare ice on the glacier. We had a chat with one of the rangers who said that a party from Seattle tried the north ridge the day before, and they were stopped by crevasses trying to get across the Coleman glacier to the toe of the ridge. The ranger was very nice, and he offered us some beta on how to get across the glacier - go up the first steep section and then traverse left, staying below some ice cliffs.

We spent the afternoon scrambling around on the hogsback moraine, trying to scout out the approach to the ridge. One snowfield with a big chunk of cornice debris stood out as a good waypoint, but the most difficult and broken part of the glacier was out of view.

At 3am the alarms went off and we grumbled out of the bivy sacks. I'd never slept in a bivy sack before, and I borrowed one from Chris for this trip. I found that tiny space didn't bother me, but the humidity inside did. Not that I ever sleep well the night before a challenging climb.

Anyway, we had some breakfast, sorted gear by headlamp and headed off up the glacier. One other team was with us as we headed out, but they veered off to go up the standard Coleman - Deming Route. The first part of the glacier was easy enough and we soon spotted the ice cliffs by moonlight. Chris only had a little Tikka, but I had recomissioned my old Petzl Zoom headlamp for this trip so I ended up doing most of the route finding. Soon enough we found ourselves wanting to traverse but our path blocked by...

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