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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 3, 2017, Mt. Baker Squak Glacier
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Author Topic: June 3, 2017, Mt. Baker Squak Glacier  (Read 1573 times)

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June 3, 2017, Mt. Baker Squak Glacier
« on: 06/04/17, 04:40 PM »

Road was snow-free to .6 miles from the Shreibers Meadow trailhead, so we parked there and slept in the car. 5am start, skinning right from the car under morning cloud cover. We bushwhacked our way through the forest, leaving the summer trail and awkward sidehilling in favor of a gully that looked like a more mellow route. We made it to Crag View at 8am and had a few moments to check out our access to the Squak before clouds rolled in and we spent the next 2 hours in a ping pong ball. Entered the Squak at 6200' and worked our way up, avoiding a couple of obvious crevasses. The glacier is so filled in, it looks more like a snowfield right now!
There was discussion of not wanting to ski in a whiteout, but we pressed on, "it'll burn off, just one more hour". We had the place to ourselves until finally spotting a climber's track and a skin track just before we popped out of the clouds at 8,000'. We got our fist view of Sherman Peak and the remaining climb up the Squak. We also saw crews setting up the fixed ropes for the Mt Baker marathon the following day.
We donned ski crampons at 8900' and followed the track that went along the fixed rope for the marathon up to about 9600', where most of our party switched to booting and quickly added crampons. Two of our party were bravely still skinning up. At this point, I realized we had missed the turn to go to the summit of Baker. We kept on going and figured we would tag the Sherman summit, then see if there was a way to do both. The fixed ropes were a nice treat for skirting around to the top of Sherman, since the wind was blowing hard enough to knock me off my feet and the exposure was a bit outside of my comfort zone. We didn't rope up on the route, but I was glad I had my harness for that last bit!
At 2pm, we decided we were out of time to go up the Roman Wall and climbed down from Sherman to transition. We had firm conditions for the first 10 turns, then firnspiegel that turned into great corn for about 3000' of amazing turns! Snowmobile crews were assisting with race set-up and we were tempted to ask them for a ride up to do another lap. Below 7000' the snow was sticky mush until we got back down to the trees, where it had held up better than expected. We bushwhacked our way down, losing our up-track from the morning, then finally finding it again after walking around for a bit. Back at the car at 5:30 to celebrate a successful summit and nearly 7000' of skiing!
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