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The Easton Glacier on Mount Baker - Mountain Madness collection
Climbing Mt Baker - Training and Tips
Elevation: 10,778 ft (3,285m)
Location: Washington State, USA
Mt. Baker is considered among renowned mountaineers as the most beautiful and pristine of the Cascade volcanoes. It is the highest peak in the North Cascades, with 12 active glaciers and beautiful views of the North Cascades, Mount Rainier to the south, and the San Juan Islands to the west. It holds the world record of ~30 meters of annual snowfall (1998) and sustains more than 100 square kilometers of glaciers and permanent snow fields. The actual summit, Grant Peak, is a 35-acre nearly level ice mount that covers the ice-filled summit crater. Crevasses, while a major danger, also afford beautiful photo opportunities unparalleled in the Cascades. They dictate that all parties be proficient at glacier travel and rescue. Avalanche danger is commonly high because the notoriously variable weather can create unstable snow, even on moderate slopes.
Among its popular climbing routes are the easier, less technical basic routes up the Coleman/Deming Glacier on the west side (the most popular), Easton Glacier on the south side (known by some as the “Railroad Grade”), and Boulder Glacier on the east side. While the Easton route is perhaps the easiest and most straight-forward, it can be somewhat unpleasant because it lies in the Mount Baker Recreational Area where snow-mobile access is legal and mechanized noise can be a problem. A popular later-season ice climbing route is the challenging and committing North Ridge route that starts via the Coleman-Deming route and then traverses left (north) to gain the ridge.
Routes & Skills
The three introductory routes (Easton, Coleman/Deming, Boulder) require 7,000 feet of elevation gain with about 2/3 of that over heavily glaciated terrain. Trips are typically 2-3 days long. Strong glacier-travel skills are required for all routes. More difficult routes can include varied levels of ice climbing.
Mt. Baker Climbing Route Descriptions DVD
Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills Book
Route reports on CascadeClimbers.com
SummitPost.com info on Mt. Baker
PeakWare.com Info on Mt. Baker
Physical Conditioning Requirements
All routes on Mt. Baker require over 7,000 feet of elevation gain while carrying anywhere from 35-65 pound packs depending on whether you are going as a private or guided trip or attempting the peak as part of a mountaineering seminar. Climbing trips are typically 2-3 days long and require substantial cardiovascular stamina and strength endurance in all muscles of the legs, core, and upper back/shoulders, as well as capability of sustained exertion at high altitudes. Typical training programs for Mt Baker will last between 3 and 8 months depending on a person's conditioning base.
Six Month Training program to climb Mt. Rainier and Mt Baker
Additional Planning Resources