The North Ridge of Mt. Baker is one of the best alpine climbs on the continent. Complex glacier travel, steep snow, ice climbing up to 70 degrees, and one of the most spectacular summit views in the Cascades characterize the experience. The climb begins on the popular heliotrope ridge trail, then veers-off to the remote north side of the mountain before ascending the long and committing North Ridge. The route generally descends the Coleman-Demming route back to camp, though a carry-over is sometimes necessary if the Coleman-Demming is out of condition. This climb is a good choice for those with previous glacier mountaineering experience, a high level of fitness, and comfort in sustained, steep terrain.
Skills Covered During the Climb:
PassportNot Required for Americans
Minimum Age18 years old
ActivityAlpine glacier and ice climbing
- Group climbing equipment (rope, anchors, protection)
- Group medical kit
- Guide services and instruction
- Lodging before/after the climb (tents on the climb included)
- Personal climbing equipment and clothing
- Travel and evacuation insurance
- Gratuities for Guides
Meet at a convenient Park and Ride in the Seattle Area at 7am. Drive 3 hrs. from Seattle to the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead near Glacier, WA. Hike three hours to Hogsback Camp alongside the Coleman Glacier. Set-up camp and enjoy some rest. Practice rope management, connecting to an alpine anchor, and belaying a lead climber. Make a hot dinner and head to bed early.
Wake-up around 2:30am. Eat a quick breakfast, rope-up, and cross the Coleman Glacier headed for the North Ridge. This portion of glacier travel may be straight-forward or involve short belays across narrow snow bridges while route-finding through crevasses. Ascend the hourglass couloir or wrap-around and ascend steep snow/low angle ice slopes for several thousand feet to the base of the ice pitches. This section may be short-roped or belayed for several pitches depending on conditions. Switch to pitched climbing, and climb three to five pitches of ice to lower-angled slopes above. Find a way around large crevasses and across a bergschrund to reach the summit plateau. This sometimes requires lowering into the schrund and climbing out the other side. Take photos on the summit and then descend back to camp via the Coleman-Demming route. Summit days often take 14 to 16 hours round-trip and require mental and physical stamina.
Sleep-in after the big day. Pack-up camp and descend to the cars, arriving around lunch. Drive to a lunch destination for a celebratory meal before heading back to Seattle.