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2002 Backcountry Trip Reports => Trip Reports - September-October 2002 => Topic started by: Amar Andalkar on 10/21/02, 06:20 AM



Title: October 17, 2002, Mount Baker, Squak Glacier
Post by: Amar Andalkar on 10/21/02, 06:20 AM
Finding exceptional snow on Tuesday on the south-facing Sulphide Glacier, it was only logical to head to the south side of Mount Baker as quickly as possible. A nasty scrape/gash below my knee, courtesy of exiting the Shuksan "trail" by headlamp, had barely begun to heal, but three of us (David Coleman, Sky Sjue, and I) nonetheless headed for the Squak Glacier on Thursday. Sky had skied down this route in September as an Easton-summit-Squak loop and he said the crevasse situation was OK (verified by photos), so we boldly (foolishly?) left the rope at home this time. We headed up the Scott Paul trail at 8 AM, perfect weather and quite mild already (50 F). Leaving the trail where it turns west near its high point about 5200 ft, we headed north up moraines and a stream drainage (difficult hiking/scrambling) to reach continuous snow at 5900 ft, below and to the east of Crag View. We skinned up with ski crampons, finding generally moderate and safe crevasse conditions although more broken up than either the Sulphide or Coleman Glaciers. Two of us stopped and turned around at the first very sketchy snowbridge at 8950 ft (a sagging bridge over a monstrous gaping angled crevasse), just before 3 PM.

Sky had gone ahead solo and summited by 3:30 PM. Doing so right now requires a high level of skiing ability, along with acceptance of a very high degree of risk, and I certainly wouldn't (couldn't) do it unroped or recommend it to anyone. The ski down from 8950 ft was absolutely superb though, a nice 1-2" of corn over a firm base, just like we'd seen on Shuksan two days earlier. Sky skied from the top uneventfully and caught up to us near 8000 ft, reporting that the ski conditions on the Roman Wall were OK, but not as good as lower down. We skied back out to 5900 ft on continued excellent snow, taking lots of ski photos with towering serac fields in the background.  How can you beat 3000 vertical feet of corn (or 4800 for Sky) on a brilliant blue day in mid-October?  By the way, the hike out to reach the trail was made much easier by following the stream drainage directly and avoiding the moraines altogether.

Amar



Title: Re: October 17, 2002, Mount Baker, Squak Glacier
Post by: ron j on 10/21/02, 08:45 AM
Nice report, Amar.
You guys are animals.


Title: Re: October 17, 2002, Mount Baker, Squak Glacier
Post by: Robie on 10/21/02, 12:07 PM
Amar ,Thanks for posting  the 3 reports. The Sulphide sounds particulary interesting.


Title: Re: October 17, 2002, Mount Baker, Squak Glacier
Post by: Charles on 10/22/02, 08:37 AM
I agree - very timely information! Amar, your TRs are, IMHO, great examples of how to write a useful TR, with all kinds of details on access and weather, snow, and skiing conditions. You write so well, maybe you should consider writing a book.;) And thanks also for your website (www.skimountaineer.com) - you've put a lot of work into it and it is a very valuable resource.


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