The first half of the approach to the Easton Glacier follows the Park Butte Trail. An alternate option is the Scott Paul Trail, but it is significantly longer.
|A climber gives the "double thumbs-up" during a quick break|
after a successful creek crossing.
|The Railroad Grade Trail on the left, with the toe of the |
Easton Glacier and the glacial moraine on the right.
|Climbers take a quick break along the Railroad Grade Trail|
to grab some water, snap some pictures and take in the beauty of the area.
|Marmots wrestling in the boulder field along the trail.|
Just before you reach 6,000', the Railroad Grade Trail tapers off as you enter an area known as Sandy Camp. Sandy Camp is not exactly one campsite, but a series of small established tent sites overseen by the US Forest Service. There are numerous sites throughout the area established in the rock outcroppings on the edge of the glacier.
|Camp sites often have a series of pre-established rock rings|
to help shield your tent from heavy winds on the mountain.
|If no established campsites are available, you can always|
camp on the snow at the edge of the glacier.
|Climbers melting snow for their dinners the|
night before the summit attempt.
The climb of the Glacier itself is usually straightforward. You start at the southwest edge of the glacier field and trend up and to the northeast, weaving through the crevasses as the mountain dictates. Climbers will leave camp in the early hours of the morning (between midnight and 2:00 am). This early hour helps to ensure that the temperatures will be colder and the snow of the glacier will be more firm, which will allow for faster and safer travel. On clear nights, climbers will set their initial sights on the rim of Mt. Baker's volcanic crater (the low point on the right edge of the skyline in the photo below). Climbing parties often reach the rim in 4 to 6 hours, depending on the condition of the glacier and the condition of the climbers themselves.
|A view of Mt. Baker's Easton Glacier, with the crater rim to the right.|
|Climbers peering into the crater of Mt. Baker.|
|The first rays of light starting to creep over the |
horizon to the east of Mt. Baker.
|Climbers starting up the Roman Wall on Mt. Baker.|
|Mt. Baker casting its shadow over the Twin Sisters and |
across the Puget Sound in the early hours of the morning.
|A short time later, near the top of the Roman Wall, with the|
sun higher and Mt. Baker's shadow much closer.
Once climbers have surmounted the Roman Wall, the remainder of the climb is a walk in the park. The summit of Mt. Baker is actually a very broad and relatively flat plateau with a small, isolated bump on the eastern edge that is only about 80' higher than the rest of the plateau.
|Large crevasses near the edge of the summit plateau.|
|A climber on top of Grant Peak, the official name |
of the small mound at the summit of Mt. Baker.
|A glimpse down into the crater of Mt. Baker, over 1000' below the summit.|
|A happy crew of climbers on the summit!|
|Climbers starting back down the Roman Wall.|
- James Pierson (all photos by author)