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| | |-+  June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
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Author Topic: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier  (Read 4590 times)
AndyMartin
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June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« on: 06/14/09, 10:01 PM »

Armin and Andy started out on the John Paul trail after half an hour blundering around the campsite amidst the dark and snow patches at about 4 am.
After suffering temporary delusions of being able to skin all the way the reality of a week’s worth of snow melt became evident. 2 hours walking on the sometimes buried trail brought us to tree line and sunshine below the Squak glacier. Easy skinning on moderate slopes with softening snow brought us to the crater rim at about 9:30. Crevasse bridges were becoming obvious, but they all seemed solid and wide. The headwall was a little more challenging with incipient penitentes in places, but we reached the summit around 10:40.  One other party of 3 climbers was there, having climbed all through the night non-stop! Various other groups were seen, mostly on the Easton glacier, but we preferred our approach.
The weather remained superb, with a light cold breeze on top. Billowing cumulus was developing to the east, hinting at the afternoon thunderstorms which had been forecast. Time to ski!
The ski down was a delight, slowly softening smooth corn gradually becoming a little slushy at tree line. We were able to “ski” the trail to around 4,200’ after which a 45 minute walk brought us back to the trail head at about 1:30 pm.
All in all a fantastic tour and I can understand the Mt Baker enthusiasts on this site!


* IMG_2818.JPG (90.56 KB, 706x529 - viewed 920 times.)

* Skinning_the_Squak.JPG (95.84 KB, 614x461 - viewed 926 times.)

* Summit_and_Shuksan.JPG (98.22 KB, 608x456 - viewed 925 times.)
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Telemon
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 06/14/09, 10:06 PM »

Thanks for the report; hopefully conditions will still be good in two weeks time.
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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?
scotteryx
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 06/14/09, 10:58 PM »

Thanks for the update/
Plan on heading up Saturday and spending the night at Crag View since I have been up this way 3 times and never spent the night.
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Life is short, spray hard
JimD
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 06/16/09, 07:27 AM »

We were up there on Sunday the 14th and conditions were great. We climbed the boulder field, but skied down the Scott-Paul which worked out well. No summit due to one member of the party running out of gas, but a great day on the mountain above the clouds.
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Stugie
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 06/16/09, 01:14 PM »

Great write up and pics!  I agree, I like the Squak far more than the Easton as well.  More direct and a better fall line.
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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
mcohen
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 06/16/09, 03:49 PM »

Thanks for the infor recent climbers/skiers.  Just curious if you think Squawk is still the best route up and how much walking will there be before skis and skins are on.  May head up on Sunday.

Mike
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scotteryx
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 06/16/09, 06:25 PM »

Just curious if you think Squawk is still the best route up and how much walking will there be before skis and skins are on. 
May head up on Sunday.
Mike
Hate to say it, but it is the best IMO. Approach and traffic are low, but the route seems to be getting more traffic this year
I heard from a friend who went up easton last weekend that there is still snow on the road (1/2 mile b4 trailhead) and only a few parts of the trail were dirt. Who knows what has happened over the past few days....

Look for us on Sunday, we might see you on our way down, we'll be camped at Crag View Saturday night
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James Wells
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #7 on: 06/16/09, 07:04 PM »

I heard from a friend who went up easton last weekend that there is still snow on the road (1/2 mile b4 trailhead) and only a few parts of the trail were dirt. Who knows what has happened over the past few days....

This seems really different from the original post from AndyMartin, being able to ski down to 4200', thus about 800 vf non-skiing to/from the trailihead.  Is the coverage to/from Squak that different from going to/from Easton?  I would think it's not.  [Real question relating to planning for this coming weekend]

Either way, it is definitely melting out earlier than last summer, we still could not drive all the way to the TH on June 27th of 2008.
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AndyMartin
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #8 on: 06/16/09, 09:38 PM »

On the way in we hiked the trail until about 5,000' elevation, which took almost 2 hours. It was about 50% snow covered, with long dirt patches as well. On the way back we skied quite a bit further down, having scoped the trail on the way up. By this weekend I'm guessing you'll have to hike about the same, but it's still probably the best approach.
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James Wells
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #9 on: 06/16/09, 10:10 PM »

Great, thanks for the beta.
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Robert Connor
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Re: June 13, Mt Baker - Squak Glacier
« Reply #10 on: 06/17/09, 10:10 AM »

We skied the Squak yesterday from Sherman Peak.  We hiked the trail with intermittent snow to about 4600' and skinned from there.  On the descent we were able to stay west of the prominent north/south ridge and ski down to about 4200’ with limited dirt skiing.  It was really descending on skis rather than skiing, but it was much faster than walking.  By this weekend I expect that route will only get you to about 4400’ because the last 200 was sketchy side slipping down a barely snow covered stream.  The ‘schwack from 4200' was not too bad.  It is hard to say when the trail will become the faster option for the descent.  It isn’t yet, but it will be soon.  The route is still in very good shape, but from the summit of Sherman I could see a number of sagging bridges that were also showing cracking at the lips of the crevasses below.  We didn’t rope for the ascent and the snow was rock hard.  It won’t be as safe for long.  The route was only nominally circuitous up and down.  The suncups are moderate in some areas and very deep in others.  We both agreed that it wasn’t a great ski, but it was pretty good.
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