Located in the North Cascades, Mount Baker, aka Komo Kulshan-The White Watcher’s fame stems from its accessible, enormous glaciers that climbers gravitate to learn on and challenge themselves whether on the gentle Easton Glacier to the knife edge North ridge. Approaching via the Schrieber’s Meadow, climbers have ample opportunity to practice their glacier mountaineering skills from the comfort of the 6,000′ base camp. From here climbers take in the views of the Twin Sisters Range, Mount Rainier, Mt. Shuksan, and the crest of the North Cascades. The mountain’s abundant alpine terrain make Baker an ideal location to learn snow and glacier travel skills and conditioning in preparation for other Rainier, Denali, Aconcagua, and other high altitude peaks. On this climb we cover: Selection and use of personal equipment, ropes, knots & harnesses Crampon use & snow climbing techniques, ice axe positioning, and self arrest techniques Roped glacier travel, rope team management, route finding, and crevasse navigation Hazard assessment including a discussion of objective vs. subjective hazards Camp construction, camp management, and cold weather camping skills. Discussions will include proper clothing and climbing gear for survival in the high mountains, mountain weather, alpine ecology, and Leave No Trace ethics. Included: Guide, group climbing gear, helmet, harness, carabiners, tent, breakfast & dinner Not Included: Transportation, crampons*, ice axe*, boots*, lunch/trail snacks, gratuities for guides and personal camping equipment. Day 1: Elevation 3,700 feet / 1128 meters Drive from Seattle to the Heliotrope Ridge trailhead (3,700 feet) on the North side of Mt. Baker. Approximate driving time is 3 hours. The approach to base camp at 6,000 feet takes 3 to 4 hours. We will travel through lush ancient forests, high alpine meadows, and snow covered areas en route to our high camp. After setting up camp, we will perform a skills assessment. We spend the afternoon learning the essentials of of glacier travel; ice axe / crampon technique, self arrest, roped team travel, route finding, and hazard assessment. The remainder of the evening is spent making final preparations for the next day’s summit attempt. Day 2: The second day begins early with an alpine start followed by a quick breakfast – typically between 2 and 3 a.m is our start time for the climb. Depending on conditions and the pace of the group, it takes from 5 to 7 hours to reach the top. Gorgeous views of the North Cascades reward you as you stand on the summit of the North Cascades’ highest volcano. We return to base camp by early afternoon. After a brief rest, we break down camp, and descend to our vehicle. Plan to be back in Seattle by 6-7 p.m.
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