Mount Baker is the quintessential ski summit. 8000 feet of vertical, spectacular glaciers and relatively moderate skiing...and we're going to do it car to car in one day! Can you do it?
This is a strenuous trip that includes 8,000 feet of vertical ascent and descent in one day. This is not an appropriate first ski tour. You should be an advanced skier and have prior ski touring experience.
Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience
Fitness Level: Very strenuous due to almost 8000 feet of vertical gain in one day
Pretty simple. We will drive to Glacier, WA in the late afternoon or early evening on the day before the trip. You can sleep in your car at the trailhead (or as close as you can get to it), pitch a tent somewhere, or get a room in Glacier. We will drive up the Glacier Creek Road and meet at the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead (or as close to it as possible) to start skinning from there around 4:00am. This will be a long day, with an even longer and spectacular ski descent. Excellent physical fitness is a must, and confidence in your equipment is required for a successful summit day.
Blow by blow:
Once we get started on the Glacier Creek Road, we will probably have to tour on it for a mile or two before getting to the actual summer "trail head". The next section will either take us up the upper reaches of Glacier Creek or through beautiful old growth forest. These two options join again in the "Hogsback area" below Heliotrope Ridge at around 6000 feet. Depending on our starting point on the road, you might have already gained 3000 feet of vertical by now. We will hit the Coleman Glacier at around 6500 feet and tour up its beautiful and gentle slopes. This will take us under the spectacular Colfax North face and on to the famous Coleman - Deming Col at 9000 feet. No rest for the weary... Our last section takes us up the Pumice Ridge and the Roman Wall to the Mount Baker Summit Plateau. A short scoot across the plateau will see us to Grant Summit at 10780 feet. Our average ascent time is around seven hours.
The descent is a different matter. Time to harvest all that vertical. We will ski down the same way. If all is well, we will ski down the Glacier Creek Canyon and out to the road in less than two hours.
Snow Travel Gear
No prior mountaineering experience is required, but excellent fitness, good skiing ability, and some ski touring experience will enhance the quality of your weekend substantially.
No, you are responsible for your own food. We are glad to provide food suggestions though. The Baker Bullet is strenuous! There is no way around it. This the the day where electrolyte drinks, power gels, and shot blocks might make a difference in the end. Make sure you are well hydrated out of the gate!
Try to fit your gear into a 30 liter pack.
Although tipping is not required, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat amount that you are comfortable with.