Enjoying the corn harvest on Mt Baker's Easton Glacier. Ski conditions on the Easton are hanging in there. Photo: Ian Peterson.
Great skiing and approach conditions greeted our guests and guide on this weekend's single day summit and ski of Mt Baker's Squak Glacier. Unseasonably warm temperatures have accelerated the shift from winter to summer in the last few weeks and we were not overly optimistic about conditions on the mountain.
We were pleasantly surprised by what we found. The approach to the snow, involved minimal walking on dirt before guide Ian Peterson and our guests were able to don skins and ski up the glacier. Here's what Ian had to say about the trip:
The Road to Park Butte Trailhead is almost melted out. Putting the adventure in ski mountaineering! Photo: Ian Peterson.
We made use of the summer approach to start the trip. The approach is melting out rapidly, and we spent a significant amount of time walking. There's dirt, dirty snow, bushes etc... full value! Continuous travel on skis was possible above 4300'. Gaining the glacier near crag view was again very straightforward. A layer of clouds and warm temps overnight prevented a full refreeze below 7000', and skinning conditions were good without ski crampons.
Good coverage and skiing conditions on Mt Bakers Squak Glacier Route. Photo: Ian Peterson.
Conditions were very similar to those on the Easton.
There are a few small cracks beginning to open up on the route, and some bridges are starting to sag. Definitely some stuff that you wouldn't want to ski into, but heaps of room to avoid it.
Smooth snow and great skiing conditions on the Squak Glacier. Photo: Ian Peterson.
From the Summit of Mt Baker looking to Mt Shuksan. Photo: Ian Peterson.
A nice breeze and colder temps kept things solid on the upper mountain, and we dropped off a scratchy summit ice dome onto a corny Roman Wall at 1:00pm. Corn prevailed down to ~6000', and sun cups resumed from there.
Ski Mountaineering close to the summit of Mt Baker. Photo: Ian Peterson.
The exit was similar to the approach: full value spring fun. Mt Baker still has some life left in it for skiing this year!
Trip Report by Blackbird Guide Ian Peterson. AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide and Apprentice Alpine Guide and Certified Single Pitch Instructor.