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Author Topic: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker  (Read 5051 times)
Jonas
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May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« on: 05/23/17, 08:32 AM »

Fantastic conditions on the Squak Sunday. Road had snow 6.7 mi from Baker Lake Rd (shortly after the last switchback), took us 1.5 hrs at a relaxed pace to reach the TH. I would expect a while until it's fully melted, though you'll probably get another mile of driving within a week or two.

Skinned continuously from somewhere along the road, starting up the Scott Paul but then skinned direct up the ridge to tree line rather than following the trail. Crossed onto the glacier just below Crag View, some visible crevasses but easily avoided. We did rope for most of the glacier, because why not? Superbly filled though from there up to around 8800, where there was a large crevasse. Easily traversed by going left around it, then smooth sailing to the crater rim. Combo of solid snow due to early start, low slope angle most of the way, and less apparent recent accumulation than we expected cleared most of our apprehension about stability.

We booted up the roman wall, which was in great condition for steps and had no visible cracks or sags. Fantastic views at the summit, hardly a breath of wind.

Ski down was excellent, deepening corn to crag view and then a bit mushy. A group of snowmobilers was gathered at the 8800' crevasse, as two people and one sled had fallen in. Luckily they were ok, but still stuck in. We offered to help with rescue, but the navy helicopter was already on the way. We stayed (and gawked) til it was clear they'd be ok. Pretty incredible watching the helicopter hover and sling the two people right out of the crevasse.

Aside from that incident, we were nearly on our own the whole day. No one else we saw climbing the squak, and we were above 9k before any snowmobile noise started from further down. Met a couple of other parties on the summit who had climbed the Coleman Deming. From a distance we saw a couple of parties had done the Easton as well. One pair on Colfax.

Amazing day in the mountains. Go get it!
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Good2Go
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #1 on: 05/23/17, 08:43 AM »

Great report!  Also, holy crap about the sledders!  No pics? 
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markharf
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #2 on: 05/23/17, 12:49 PM »

....holy crap about the sledders!  No pics? 

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article152049372.html

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kamtron
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #3 on: 05/23/17, 01:02 PM »

Surprised that doesn't happen more often. I guess they called it in to SAR? That's a big object to litter up there.  Glad everyone is okay though.
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Good2Go
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #4 on: 05/23/17, 04:05 PM »

According to the sledder site, the guys who fell in were skiers/boarders riding double up to get in some laps, which seems to be confirmed by the drone footage linked in the Bellingham Herald article.  Sledders also said the snomo was successfully extracted. Looks like it was a bridge collapse, but how they missed that sagging bridge is beyond me.  Can't imagine they thought it would "go".
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dberdinka
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #5 on: 05/24/17, 09:28 AM »

I saw a different facebook post on this....they gunned it right into the already wide open crevasse because they couldn't see it and it hadn't been there earlier in the season.  Hit the far wall, plummeted 80' and walked away from it.....
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kamtron
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #6 on: 05/24/17, 09:37 AM »

See https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestGlacierCruisers/
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Norseman
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #7 on: 05/24/17, 10:40 AM »

Just pin it to the summit! Throttle-thumb, engage!
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n16ht5
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #8 on: 05/24/17, 01:36 PM »

they were two skiers who borrowed a snowmobile to ride up to near the crater and then skin from there. They rode into a wide open crevasse at 8900ft, hit the other side and fell down in. Definitely not sledders by any means. Until their incident they were the only snowmobiles that went high onto the glacier. My friend and I were up below crag view when we saw the helicopter come and go. We were surprised to see snowmobile tracks going up that direction as we noted the freshly opened up crevasse visible where we were. Once you got to just below the crevasse it sagged so that you couldn't tell it was an open hole until you were just feet away. Northwest glacier cruisers is organizing a party this weekend to go pull the snowmobile out


you can see the swath of sled tracks going up the right hand straight to it. The climber route up the Easton on the left was almost equally bad, when we went up to the bowl around 7400ft we could see large visible sags that they walked right over.









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tabski
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #9 on: 05/24/17, 04:05 PM »

Hopefully they ruin it for everybody.

(To specify, since e-sarcasm doesn't translate well, personally I'd prefer snowmos be prohibited on Baker, at least above ~6k'.)

Then again, good on the crew rallying up there to try and rescue the sled.
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Salal
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #10 on: 05/24/17, 05:48 PM »

 Thanks for the info. Lucky sledders! Looks like the crevasse that one normally would expect to be on that part of the squak
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joke
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #11 on: 05/26/17, 06:59 AM »

Hopefully they ruin it for everybody.

You can always go to the other sides of the mountain, or to one of the other snomo-free volcanoes in the state.  I think snowmobiling offers a very unique opportunity on Mt. Baker.  The overall area in the cascade range available to snowmobilers is very small compared to that available to back-country skiing and snowboarding.  There is plenty of opportunity for solitude, and I think there should be room to tolerate the activities chosen by others.
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Gregg_C
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #12 on: 05/26/17, 10:25 PM »

You can always go to the other sides of the mountain, or to one of the other snomo-free volcanoes in the state. 

Sledders are constantly riding in the wilderness on the Coleman Deming side.  I ski over there (using a sled to get up the road) 4-5 times a winter and I always see sleds in the wilderness.    Three weeks ago I was guiding with clients and four sleds came roaring down into Grouse Creek and up to the slopes below the rod on heliotrope. Fortunately we were above this group.   I support sleds up Glacier Creek road but my patience for these frequent incursions is getting thin. 
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Pinch
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #13 on: 05/27/17, 09:29 AM »

Clearly, the sled community needs expansion of riding areas and a shift of the imaginary lines to include some fun terrain to ride with enough to last for more than a day. But, I fear the riding areas will continue to shrink, leading some to go beyond the imaginary lines and leave tracks in the snow, much to the dismay of people who think it should all be theirs.

IMO- "guides" are worse than sleds in the Wilderness!!! They introduce people with lacking skills into terrain and situations that they may now consider normal, without the years of experience needed to subjectively assess a situation and make informed judgement the next times they head out. Of course, you will take the "I am teaching" stance.

Short version- if you need a "guide" you probably shouldn't be there.

Also, If you do not belong to citizens for forest roads, CFFR, in the Whatcom co. area, please join. Members (many of whom are sledders) have worked tirelessly to maintain road access for everyone, including your for profit "guiding" on Glacier Cr. road and many others.  Hundreds if not thousands of hours have been worked so far...
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peteyboy
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #14 on: 05/27/17, 11:18 AM »

The practice of responsible community, whether at your company, in your city, your country, or in the backcountry, follows a simple guideline:
Participate in the structure and organizations that determine policy.  Voice our differences in those forums and leave the room, once participatory democracy has resulted in policy, honoring that policy.  Sledders have a voice and rights.  Wilderness must be respected by all on the honor system.  Guides help people engage in backcountry travel more respectfully, knowledgeably, and more safely.  When you don't think it's right, take the path of public re-evaluation of policy, not rogue behavior. Stand up for what you believe in and honor the process for the greater good.
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Pinch
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #15 on: 05/27/17, 12:01 PM »

Thanks! So your saying there's a chance... Smiley Likely not due to the size of the sled community.
Guiding can be perceived in different ways. The skiers that used the sled for access in this thread could have most definitely used a guide that day! But more likely, they should have spent years getting to know the area, building skills and judgement through personal desire, drive, and experiences, then proceeded with caution.
Please join CFFR (if not already) for the greater good of everyone's access.
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kamtron
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #16 on: 06/08/17, 10:40 AM »

The sled is still down there along with what looked like a snowboard.
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Norseman
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #17 on: 06/08/17, 11:56 AM »

Thanks for the update, Kam.

Turns out I know one of the riders of the crevasse-bound sled. Somewhat distant pal now but best buds in highschool... you met him in the shelter at Muir earlier this spring. I've been hassling him about it since figuring it out. He had a military pilot friend make a low flyover of the area recently but reported no visual, and assumed that the shelf had collapsed. I'll relay your sighting to him, as he's probably still keen to extract the machine.
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kamtron
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #18 on: 06/08/17, 01:40 PM »

We saw 2 helicopters circling the summit yesterday. One was I think the Coast Guard/Navy SAR helicopter from Whidbey. The other was blue and white and made multiple passes relatively slowly while we were in the area of the crevasse. Maybe they were the ones your friend hired? Sled is intact and in the exact same spot it was when it crashed. This is the usual crux crevasse of the Squak which is almost always open. I think it is here, but I neglected to drop a pin when we stopped: http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDorer4Cgw

The crevasse seemed relatively stable to me, not too overhanging on the lips, but I'm no expert. We threw together a little t-slot anchor and belayed each other over to the lip. Tabski has a good photo of the sled and crevasse that maybe he will post up here.
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tabski
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #19 on: 06/08/17, 02:29 PM »

Pinch arguing snowmobiles "only leave tracks" in a convo about a crashed sled stuck inside a mountain is pretty rich.

I do feel for the responsible motorized rec users out there. It stinks when a few bad apples detract from your efforts at responsible use and access involvement.

Anyway, as Kam mentioned, the sled was still in the big hole on Baker yesterday.


* IMG_6819.PNG (101.05 KB, 619x800 - viewed 176 times.)
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Pinch
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #20 on: 06/08/17, 05:12 PM »

...better get Ron's skis out of the crevasse on the other side of the mtn...
We observed lots of air travel (helicopters and planes) on Monday up there as well.
« Last Edit: 06/08/17, 05:17 PM by Pinch » Logged
kamtron
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #21 on: 06/08/17, 05:21 PM »

Your sled's gone, man.
(Actually, I really hope they pull that thing out!)
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tabski
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #22 on: 06/08/17, 08:20 PM »

Looks like a snowboard remains in the crevasse too, so by my count your team is still up one snowmobile.
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Pinch
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Re: May 21, 2017, Squak, Mt Baker
« Reply #23 on: 06/08/17, 09:02 PM »

No team here. Junk is junk.
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