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| | |-+  June 3, 2006, Coleman-Deming, Mt. Baker
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Author Topic: June 3, 2006, Coleman-Deming, Mt. Baker  (Read 736 times)

Posts: 28

June 3, 2006, Coleman-Deming, Mt. Baker
« on: 06/06/06, 04:06 PM »

Two boot-packing snowboarders and I decided to climb baker this weekend.  After some debate about whether to climb it as an overnighter or to go it all at once, the weather report suggested we do the latter.  It would have been fun to stay up there for a couple days exploring different lines, but Saturday was the only viable weather window.

The trail was mostly snow-free to almost the tree-line.  Once into the snow, I found that skinning wasn't going to be a practical option due to the irregular (and very frozen at 6:00am) snow surface.  I wound up boot-packing with the snowboarders all the way to the summit... but I don't mind boot-packing.

The first and only sign of scary crevasses (defined by being anywhere near the main route) was at around 7000 ft where we found ourselves about 30 feet from a small one.  All in all the glaciers were pretty closed up on the main route.

Only one of us had a decent set of crampons (the female).  My tele boots were sufficient, but the other snowboarder was slipping (even crawling) in a couple spots also around 7000 ft.

There was another party of 4 about two hours ahead of us, and by the time we were still quite a ways below the ridge on the way up to the Roman Wall, they appeared to be on their way back down the wall.  1.5-2 hours later when we got to the base of the roman wall, they were finally finishing the down-climb from the wall.  We thought they were just taking in the view, but it turns out that it was a pretty scary ascent/descent at that time in the day.  They described the ice on the way up the wall as "barely able to grip with crampons".  This scared us a little as we didn't have crampons, ice anchors, or ropes.  We're just a few stupid ski bums that couldn't let go of the winter, I guess.  Anyway, we started up the wall despite their warnings.  It was not easy, and not fast, but we basically built a staircase using our ice axes that should last for quite a while up there to help everyone else out on those icy mornings.

We (two of us at this point, as one snowboarder decided to turn back about 1/2 way up the wall) summitted around 3:30pm, hung out at the top for an hour or so, and skied pretty much non-stop all the way to the tree line.  The skiing was nothing short of totally killer.  It went from being almost (but not quite) too icy at the top, to almost (but not quite) too slushy at the bottom.  Wax your skiis!

I'd recommend attempting the summit in the afternoon rather than the morning.  I'd also recommend a ski/snowboard descent rather than a down-climb, but heck, I'd always recommend that.  It just seems safer to me since it's soooooo much easier.

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