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|-+  2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 6, 2003, Mount Baker, Heliotrope Ridge
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Author Topic: June 6, 2003, Mount Baker, Heliotrope Ridge  (Read 2102 times)

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June 6, 2003, Mount Baker, Heliotrope Ridge
« on: 06/14/03, 08:01 PM »

Volcano #4 Volcano Tour 2003
Ski descent: 2,200 VF
Total Climb: 3,000 VF
Distance: 6 miles

Another surf and turf day!

Our group needed to check in with the world, so from our camp site near the Columbia River Gorge we made our way back to Seattle and did all the chores of responsible adults.  Once complete, we could get back to the play that keeps us young teenagers.  The weather was taking an alarming turn for the worse.  It wasn't rain that was the problem, but very warm temperatures and we worried that skiing might become troublesome if the predictions of 90 degrees in Seattle were true.  We decided that Mt Baker's Northeast exposure might help hide the snow from the warm sun, and the comparatively high trailhead of the Heliotrope Ridge route seemed like a good option.

We drove up to Mt Baker in the fading light of day on Thursday and were at the trailhead at the late hour of 11:30 pm.  Another uncomfortable sleep in the car and we woke at 3:30 am to Wayne's trusty wristwatch.  Another climber intent on the North Ridge we met in the parking lot also voiced his concern for the weather and he in fact abandoned his plans shortly after seeing the snow at the end of the access trail.  This was an omen for sure.

We climbed in the predawn light up through the beautiful forest and emerged on snow after a quick 2 mile hike.  From there we made our way up onto the Heliotrope Ridge and the spectacular views of the Mount Baker area assaulted our senses.  We climbed to the top of the ridge and then it was decision time.  Wayne voiced his concern about no emergency rope and the crevasse field we were to travel looked threatening in the warming sun.  None of us wanted to push our luck, the mountain would always be there, and gladly we decided to abandon travel any higher.  We all vowed to return - it was just a spectacular route that demanded respect.  We skied the Heliotrope Ridge run at 10 am while it was still in good condition and romped our way back down to the forest and the hike out.


Noon and all the rest of the day to play.  We drove back down to the house in Issaquah and grabbed the climbing gear.  We didn't want to drive too far (6 hours was enough for me in one day) so I suggested we hit the local sport climbing area by the house - Exit 38.  I was too proud to show them the choss piles of the lower areas so we hiked the 1,200 VF and two mile trail straight up the mountainside to the very picturesque Bob's area.  Groans of displeasure could be heard at each switchback, but moods improved remarkably once we clipped in and enjoyed the views of the Peannacle area.  Many moderate sport climbs later and our full day of fun was capped off with a fine dinner of Chinese food down in town.

Only one last Volcano remained on our tour, and we took another rest day to enjoy Seattle and wait for the weather to turn in our favor.  It was forecast to remain sunny and clear, but the temperatures were supposed to drop on Sunday, making skiing much more enjoyable.  We took in the downtown scene, a ferry ride and seafood, all the while talking of the last great ski of the trip - the Muir Snowfield.

[Volcano Tour 2003 sample photos available @: ]
« Last Edit: 06/30/03, 06:10 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
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