Climbing Mt Baker Overview
2019 Expedition Dates
2-Day Summit via Sulfide Glacier
At 10,781 feet Mount Baker is truly one of the most picturesque mountains in all the Cascade Range. Baker has the second largest glacial system in the lower 48 States second only to that of Mount Rainier. In 1998 Mt. Baker’s annual snowfall exceeded the world record held on Mount Rainier since the early 1970′s with an amount of 95-feet. The mountain is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. Climbing Mt Baker presents a fantastic objective for those seeking a challenging climb in a pristine alpine environment.
We guide two different climbing routes on Mount Baker, the Coleman/Deming Glacier on the Northside of the peak and the Easton Glacier on the Southern flanks. Climbing Mt Baker offers a great introduction to roped glacier travel and basic mountaineering. On the North side route we meet in the small town of Glacier, WA to begin the climb. On the Easton South side we meet at the Northwest Mountain Shop in the town of Sedro-Woolley. After a 3-4 hour hike we reach our scenic high camp at about the 5,000-6,000 foot level. Our camp is located at the base of the glacier and out evening will be spent setting up camp, covering some basic mountaineering skills and eating an early dinner before bedtime.
The Easton Glacier Route is climbed using three days which gives us more time climbing Mt Baker to refine our basic mountaineering skills. We also have the option of using day two or three as a “weather day” as we have on our Mount Shuksan climbs for many years now. The approach to the Easton Glacier begins in meadows and eventually ends up in dense old growth forest, then high alpine meadows to reach the snow. Our high camp is in a wonderful location between the 5000-6000 foot level. We have the option to climb on the second day if we are feeling well and the weather looks good, otherwise we train more on day two and go for the top on our final day. After our summit attempt we climb back down to our high camp. On the final day of climbing mt baker, we hike out and grab a bite at “Bobs” near Sedro-Woolley to conclude our adventure.
The North side Coleman/ Deming Glacier route can be done as two or three day climb. Like the Easton route we have the option of climbing Mt Baker on the second day. On day two (Summit Day!) we get a pre-dawn start and your guide leads the way up the glacier by using a headlamp attached to his climbing helmet. We make our way up the glacier and finally to The “Roman Wall” and then the final summit crater. We return to our high camp by late morning, pack up, and hike down the same day. Either option our professional guides will introduce the basic mountaineering skills necessary for climbing Mt Baker.
Do you want to learn mountaineering? Climbing Mt Baker can be guided as a four day Intro to Mountaineering Course or six day Expedition Mountaineering Course. Taking a mountaineering course will help prepare you for the challenges of climbing higher peaks. NW Mountain Guide courses allow for further instruction of climbing and mountaineering skills. Including step kicking, ice axe techniques, self-arrest, crampon usage, glacier travel, crevasse rescue and rope techniques.
Climbing Mt Baker Itinerary
Flight Schedule: USA – Seattle (SEA)
Climbing Mt Baker begins and ends at the Northwest Mountain Shop.
Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Start time to be determined. Gear check and drive to the trailhead. Hike to high camp and basic climb school.
Day 2 • Summit Day • Mount Baker • 10,781ft
Summit day starts early. From high camp, we climb moderate snowfields to the saddle between Colfax Peak (9000′) or Sherman Crater (9600′) depending on the route. Both routes ascend the final Roman Wall steeply to Baker’s expansive summit. Descend to high camp. We also have the option of descending and hiking out to the trailhead the same day.
Day 3 • Hike to Trailhead
After breakfast we pack our gear and return to the trailhead.
Itinerary Notes: NW Mountain Guide makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary for climbing Mt Baker, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Climbing Mt Baker Details
Southside – Easton Glacier
Mount Baker Ranger District
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Northside – Coleman Deming Glacier
Glacier Public Service Center – Ranger Station
10091 Mount Baker Highway
Glacier, WA 98244
Deposit and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
Balance due 90 days prior to departure
North Cascades NP fees
Boiled water for meals
Professional mountain guide
All group equipment (including tents, stoves, pickets, ropes)
Services not included
Trailhead parking pass fees
Meals and snack food
Hotels or lodging
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
Climbing Mt Baker Gear List
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the pre-departure information upon reservation. For your safety and comfort it’s extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
We are able to rent most clothing items and mountain gear. Gear is also available for rent at many local Seattle area outdoor shops. Please see our gear rental list.
- Warm Synthetic/ Wool hat: One that covers the ears.
- Balaclava, Buff or Neck Gaiter
- Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
- Glacier glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields.
- Sunscreen: SPF 40 or more
- Lip Balm: SPF 20 or more
- Bandanas: Tied around neck they give good sun protection, optional
- Climbing Headlamp: Bring plenty of batteries.
- Upper Body Layers: We recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body. Items must be made of synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket. Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp.
- Synthetic Fleece Jacket and/or Pullover: Medium weight
- Shirts: One or two synthetic short sleeve shirts. One synthetic long sleeve shirt for summit day is required.
- Hard Shell Jacket w/ hood: Snow and high wind can be common. GORE-TEX© or waterproof nylon that has been “seam sealed”.
- Insulated Jacket w/ insulated hood: 700+ fill down.
**An expedition down parka w/ hood is required for Mount Rainier. A mid-weight insulated parka is required for climbing Mt Baker and climbs and courses in North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NW Mountain Guide trips. Rental gear is available.**
- Medium weight Synthetic (fleece) Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
- Climbing Gloves or Mittens w/ wrist straps: One pair
- Quick dry Hiking Shorts: One pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain.
- Long Underwear Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
- Hard Shell Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants of GORE-TEX© or waterproof nylon that has been “seam sealed” (full side zips are required).
- Climbing Pants: Synthetic, comfortable to climb in and provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn. Schoeller© fabric is recommended.
- Gaiters: One pair of high gaiters to keep dirt and snow out of boots.
- Undergarments: Enough for the duration of the program.
**Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NW Mountain Guide trips. Gaiters are optional on mid and late summer climbs. Rental gear is available.**
- Double Plastic Climbing Boots or Leather Mountaineering Boots (full shank and crampon compatible)
- Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of synthetic socks to wear for warmth with climbing boots.
**Plastic mountaineering boots or expedition leather mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier and early season of climbing Mt Baker and some early season climbs and courses in North Cascades NP. Mid-weight leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid and late summer climbs on Mount Baker, North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. NO Backpacking boots on any trips, boots must be full shank and crampon compatible. Rental gear is available.**
- Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated 0 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit depending on climb or course).
- Sleeping Pad: One closed-cell foam pad and/or an inflatable THERMA-REST© pad.
- Backpack: One lightweight large size 75-80 liters (4500-5500 cubic inches) comfortable pack with good support, adequate to carry personal and group gear. The pack should fit properly and have a good waist belt. Carry gear between 45 and 65 pounds.
- Bags: large plastic bag, large Ziploc bag or waterproof stuff sacks
**An adequate size backpack is required depending on the climb or course you’ve joined. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). Rental gear is available.**
- Trekking Poles: adjustable and collapsible, required
- Ice axe w/Leash: 70cm is recommended
- Climbing Helmet
- Alpine Climbing Harness w/ adjustable leg loops.
- Carabiners Locking: One large pear-shaped, screw gate
- Mountaineering Courses we require these additional items, four non-locking standard gate Carabiners, Prussik cord (6mm, 30 feet), Optional items include: Ascender, Pulley
- Water Bottle: Two, one liter wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
- Water Treatment: We recommend you bring one bottle of “Potable Aqua” or a “Polar Pure”, crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water.
- Water Flavoring: Lemonade, Tang, Gatoraid, optional
Personal Health and First Aid
- Small personal first-aid kit and medications
- Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
- Snack and lunch food
- Personal Items
Climbing Mt Baker Fitness Level
Prior climbing experience is beneficial. Basic snow and ice climbing skills are introduced during the program. Above average physical conditioning is required for most climbs in the Pacific Northwest. No high altitude experience is required.
Climbing Mt Baker is physically demanding, and your ability to enjoy this adventure depends on your overall health and fitness.
We suggest you begin your training program at least four months prior to departure depending on your current conditioning. Walking up steep hills and stair climbing are both excellent ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. In order to condition yourself to carry the weight, it will be important to take long hikes (4-6 hours) with a weighted pack at least one or two times a week. The best training for mountaineering is to carry a loaded pack up and down hills or small mountains. Hike uphill without breaks for at least an hour at a time when possible. Then break 10-15 minutes at the most and then continue hiking uphill for at least another hour. Do this as much and as often as you can. This is certainly not the only way to train but is probably one of the best ways to train for climbing big mountains. Don’t worry about your pace, this will increase over time, instead hike uphill slower if needed without taking as many breaks. Work at maintaining an even respiratory rate.
Unfortunately many of you don’t live near good hills or mountains so then you will need to find another activity that will help increase your endurance for climbing Mt Baker. Supplement this with running, cycling, swimming, racquet sports, weight training, etc. for additional aerobic conditioning your heart and lungs. Any time spent at altitude will also prove beneficial. Remember climbing Mt Baker is an activity where you slowly climb uphill over long periods of time while carrying heavy to a moderate amount of weight.