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Author Topic: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit  (Read 9489 times)
Teleskichica
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Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« on: 06/01/09, 09:46 AM »

There is a first time for everything and this trip was a number of firsts for me: first overnight ski, first rope team  experience, first glacier ski, first time above 10K, first summit of Baker and first time renting a house... okay, last part only contributed to the need for an early turn around time as I had to meet with the landlords to sign papers, but it's still a first. Smiley

After overloading on fish tacos and beer Friday night, David (Climberdave) and I met up with Don (Rusty Knees) and his daughter Molly to pack up the "house on wheels," aka 15 passenger ski van, to the Mt. Baker summit trailhead. I fell asleep through the end of this journey only to hear bits and pieces of "is this it?", "do you think this was the right road?" and "this is how all bad horror movies begin..." No horror movie script ensued, as Don eventually lead us to the safety of a number of other vehicles, tents and roadside bivys sometime around 1AM.

Around 4 or 5AM, people started moving. By 7, it was like the trail to mecca, still we took our time enjoying a leisurely start around 9:30...

Snow begins about a mile from the trailhead. Snowmobiles abound. The trail was solid and firm on the way in, but a series of unpleasant, chunky "speed bumps" for at least a mile on the way out. The trails are well traveled, but not necessarily clearly identified as to where you are going. After a wrong turn, the first thing we learned is GPS is handy, but map and compass still hold a place in one's pack for routefinding. Back on track, we ascended through the trees headed towards the Squak Glacier. The snow was soft and it was a very difficult trek for Molly who was in hiking boots, lugging a snowboard on her back. I commend her for all the effort she put forth this weekend! The route to the Squak does undulate up and down, but with some clever route finding, it is quite possible to rarely ever glide downhill. We made camp just above treeline on the edge of the Squak and enjoyed afternoon naps on the rocks and an evening ski before dinner. The only disappointment was the constant drone and piercing whine of snowmobiles continuing to buzz like annoying flies on a lazy hot summer day.

4AM reverie rousted us from our slumber... okay, it was only the beep-beep, beep-beep of Don's watch, but good enough to stir us into action. An early start was necessary for two reasons, very warm temperatures and soft snow and a firm 12PM turn around time due to aforementioned appointment. We were a bit late out of camp, but gained good experience practicing rope team travel for about 2 hours at which point we realized it wasn't really necessary. At this point, Molly, although wearing snowshoes was having a very difficult time making purchase on the snow or staying upright at times when it was just too soft to support her. David and I made a steady climb to about 7500 I believe where we stopped for a break and Don made the call that we separate into two parties. The wind was steady and we were cold, so David and I started moving quickly after this point. There are definite ripples and buckles in the snow where it is evident crevasse bridges are sagging. We made several crossings and kept our eyes out for any snow irregularities. This was an entirely new experience for me and at times a bit scary... snowmobiles continued to whiz by contributing to the feel of obstacle course ascent. Following David's GPS, we made it to the summit at 10:30. Wait. This wasn't the summit, it was the crater rim... ooohhh. Map, compass and some pre-reading prevail over GPS agian. Smiley A quick peek over the edge, an icy descent and we were back on track to the escalator boot pack up to the real summit. Between 11 and 11:30AM skiers began descending accompanied by the loud scritch, scratch and scraping sound of edges on ice... the wind was steady and strong. 11:57 AM we summited, took a few obligatory pics, and donned our skis for an expected icy descent ourselves. First, second and third turned proved to be just that. Fourth was perfection... Snow was lovely buttered corn from here until about 8500 to 8000 where it transformed into deep and loose, granular mush. Turns were still had, but extra caution was taken as many more bridges were sagging and crevasses making themselves more evident. It should be noted we met lurker "Mike" mid-way down Roman Wall and extend a very hearty hello... hopefully we didn't scare you off with all of our "Woohooo's" on the way down. Smiley

Back at camp, we packed up and negotiated Molly's descent, a combination of snowshoes, ice axe, snowboard, sitting, standing, sliding, pulling... eventually, Don, already loaded down with a significantly oversized pack, latched on the additional weight of Molly's snowboard for a very challenging descent through trees, suncups, needles, pollen and downed branches. I hereby dub Don "Dad of the Year!" Not only did he negotiate all of this with very few crashes, he even managed to make every turn a teleturn at that. Wow!

At 4:20PM we reached home sweet-15 passenger van for a few congratulatory pats on the back, surprisingly still cold beers, cookies and the three hour ride home...
Thank you, Don, David and Molly.

Picasa site pics here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/teleskichica/MtBakerSummitSki?feat=directlink


* DonMolly.JPG (45.72 KB, 640x426 - viewed 1257 times.)

* Holly.JPG (39.45 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1253 times.)

* David.JPG (23.26 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1246 times.)
« Last Edit: 06/01/09, 10:00 AM by Teleskichica » Logged

Livin' high on the cold smoke!
runningclouds
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #1 on: 06/01/09, 11:20 AM »

Congratulations on your first summit!

There are no ideal snowboard routes on Mt Baker but Boulder Glacier comes the closest in my view. Plus there are no snowmobiles around.
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bramvs
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #2 on: 06/01/09, 12:38 PM »

Quote
Snow begins about a mile from the trailhead. Snowmobiles abound.

Mmhhh, I don't think snowmobiles are allowed at this area once the snow has melted.... Guess some people don't care. From Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest website: "The Mt. Baker National Recreation Area including Schriebers Meadow is open to snowmobiles when snow depth exceeds 24 inches at the trailhead. It is the snowmobile drivers responsibility to observe this regulation."

Nice work on climbing Baker!
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Marcus
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #3 on: 06/01/09, 01:08 PM »

Mmhhh, I don't think snowmobiles are allowed at this area once the snow has melted.... Guess some people don't care. From Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest website: "The Mt. Baker National Recreation Area including Schriebers Meadow is open to snowmobiles when snow depth exceeds 24 inches at the trailhead. It is the snowmobile drivers responsibility to observe this regulation."

Nice work on climbing Baker!

My read on her description was that the *road* is snow-covered about a mile from the TH, thus the snomos can still access it... perhaps not.

Nice TR!
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James Wells
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #4 on: 06/01/09, 02:26 PM »

My read on her description was that the *road* is snow-covered about a mile from the TH, thus the snomos can still access it... perhaps not.

Nice TR!

I expect this is accurate.  Last year the snow melted to the Schreibers Meadow trailhead some time in the first few days of July.  The melt happens fast and there is a perfect time to go each year - drive to the trailhead and then walk on dirt just far enough to filter the banally evil sleds.  On June 30 08 we had a short skin from the car up to the trailhead (sleds present), and in Mid-July we hiked 1200 vertical up to skinnable snow (thus no sleds).  This year I think somewhat less snow so the perfect day will be mid to late June.
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Snow Bell
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #5 on: 06/01/09, 02:36 PM »

Thanks for the TR holly.  Great effort!  It sounds like your recovery is complete.  Better than new?

Congrats to Don for "Father of the Year".  I guess all the time I've spent here at home with my kids this year was a waste.  I should have been skiing.

If Don is such a great dad then why is his daughter hooked on snowboarding?!?

..sorry, I'm just a little disappointed not to have won again this year.  I though that I had it in the bag with the roller skating and all.  Maybe next year.
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Kyle Miller
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #6 on: 06/01/09, 03:54 PM »

If Don is such a great dad then why is his daughter hooked on snowboarding?!?
Oh snap
Once again congrads on a getting Baker she is a beauty
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
toby_tortorelli
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #7 on: 06/01/09, 04:20 PM »

The forest service is closing Schreiber Meadows access to snowmobiling for the year on Friday, June 5th. FYI.
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Teleskichica
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #8 on: 06/01/09, 05:03 PM »

Oh snap


Haha, I heard you had issues with "snapping" boards recently... Wink
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Stugie
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #9 on: 06/01/09, 05:08 PM »

Holly, hella nice work!  Great read...a good tr!  Looks like you're ready to drop sick lines again!  Nice work on the RW...she is a beaut!  Glad you guys had a great trip...thanks for the cookies, they were great!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Telemon
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #10 on: 06/01/09, 08:19 PM »

Thanks for the report. I have been considering a return trip to the Squak, but I haven't lined up any partners yet. The last attempt on this glacier ended when SilasWild and myself were stymied by collapsed snowbridges several years ago.

Nice to see that Don is spending time in the  mountains with his daughter; I appreciate the time that my son spares for me. I've skied on the other side of Baker with Dave; I guess that it is time that we hook up on a glacier, Teleskichica.
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Git down, Brothers and Sisters of the Church of the Telemark..What do you mean it is a turn not a religion?
Teleskichica
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #11 on: 06/01/09, 10:40 PM »

Bramvs: snow was on the road a mile before the trailhead.

Joe: someone once advised me butter, cheese, ice cream and skiing were the best four pronged approach to recovery. Pretty sure I ate a stick of butter the day before (I butter just about everything), ate a significant amount of pepper jack to power me up the Roman Wall escalator, skied to my heart's content this weekend (okay, I could always do with more skiing, but it was enough to satiate) and finished off with a generous dosage of Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter cup this afternoon... I feel great! Seriously, though, I'm definitely very conservative about charging any line I'm not fully confident I can handle (a bad fall would be a real setback) but each outing I get stronger and feel better. So, yep, I'm almost better than new Smiley and look forward to trying new routes/snowmo free approaches in the future.


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Don Heath
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #12 on: 06/01/09, 11:08 PM »

Thanks Holly and David! 
Molly and I had a blast with you guys.  And I can tell you from experience that father-daughter stuff wouldn't have been nearly so cute if you guys weren't there.  There would have been pouting and meltdowns and hissy fits and foot stomping - and that would have been me!  I'm proud of Molly for climbing so hard and long - and proud of you (Holly) and your comeback!  Thanks too, David for insisting we rope up to cross all of those sled tracks.  I felt much safer knowing that if a sledder came bombing down through our rope team that we could've lifted the rope and neatly yanked him off his steed!  HA HA I'M JOKING (am not).

Holy Holly! You forgot to mention the Moss tent!

Father of the year - as long as my kids don't get to vote. Wink
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The best part of summer skiing is napping on a warm rock.
Mattski
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #13 on: 06/04/09, 12:16 AM »

I believe this was the most skiers I have ever seen on the summit of Mt Baker. It may be time to christen it 'Tuckermans West!' Great skiing for sure!
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bramvs
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Re: Mt. Baker Squak to Easton Summit
« Reply #14 on: 06/04/09, 09:50 AM »

Ah, sorry, I misread your post. Looks like starting this weekend it'll be much more quiet though. Nice.
Thanks for the clarification Teleskichica and Toby.
Cheers,
Bram
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