Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trip Report: Mount Baker

We just received a quick trip report from Justin Wood, lead guide on this past weekend's Mount Baker climb:

Day one: Ten climbers joined fellow AAI guide Kristen Looper and me at the AAI office Saturday morning, and after reviewing gear, efficiently packing our packs, and loading up the AAI vans, we headed for the Coleman glacier. We arrived at the Hogsback Camp at 2:00pm with very high spirits, though the weather was looking gloomy. After setting up camp, we took a short break for lunch. We then spent some time reviewing the use of the technical equipment we would be using and introduced and practiced several climbing knots. We concluded the evening by demonstrating how to properly rope up for glacier travel.

Day two: Although it was raining, everyone had a lot of enthusiasm to continue learning the skills necessary to complete this climb. We spent more time on climbing technique and working on knots, practiced self-arrest, and concluded the day applying glacier travel skills during a tour of part of the Coleman glacier. We were all excited when the skies cleared around 7:00pm.

Day three (Summit day): It was quite hard to sleep once the weather turned nice, and we knew we were going to get a real chance to make the summit. But we did get up in time for a 1:00am departure from the 6000’ camp. We were treated to starry skies during the first three hours that we were headed for the summit, and we enjoyed the sight of the rising crescent moon. As the sun came up, we were nearing the summit, and at about 7:30am, all 12 members of our group made it to the top. We were lucky to have expansive views of the Cascades in three directions and the San Juan Islands to the west. After enjoying some views, we made an efficient return to our camp where we had some food, took a rest, and packed up. We then headed down the trail and made it back to Bellingham and the AAI office by 6:00pm, celebrating our success!

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