Mount Baker’s classic North Ridge represents the next challenge for those interested in honing their alpine skills on more advanced glaciated terrain. This alpine route is truly one of the best moderate “big mountain” alpine snow and ice climbs in the Lower 48 states.
Mount Baker North Ridge • 3 Day Ascent
Previous climbing experience and advanced alpine climbing skills are required for this climb. We approach the North Side of Mount Baker, the North Cascade’s highest volcano, via the Heliotrope Ridge trail, the same trail which takes us to the Coleman Deming ascent. After traversing the Coleman Glacier to the North Ridge, we climb several pitches of 60 to 70 degree alpine ice up the large exposed ice cliff before reaching the upper mountain. This spectacular climb offers dramatic views down to the Roosevelt and Coleman glaciers, followed by a final push up steep snow slopes to Mount Baker’s massive summit, providing climbers a rewarding alpine experience. We descend via the Coleman Deming route which takes us down the Roman Wall to the west and to the saddle between the Black Buttes and Baker’s summit. A descending traverse of the Coleman Glacier quickly takes us back to the lower mountain and on to base camp where we can relax and enjoy the evening alpenglow.
Coleman Glacier / Northside
- Approach Time to Camp: 5-6 hours
- Distance: 3.5 miles, 3300 ft. gain
- Trailhead: Heliotrope Ridge, 3500 ft.
- High Camp: 6800 ft.
- Camp to Summit: 8-10 hours, 4000 ft. gain
- Trail synopsis: From the parking area, the well-maintained trail gains elevation quickly, which makes this approach a bit shorter than the southside. After crossing Kulshan Creek at 2 miles (4500 ft.), we break through the trees, crossing another stream at 5400 feet, we climb the steep moraine we and arrive at the Hogsback Camp between 6000 ft. and 6200 feet. Our route then traverses the Coleman Glacier to a bivy site at 6,800 feet.
- Enjoy a Northwest Alpine Guides adventure on glaciers and summit a classic Pacific Northwest volcano.
- Ascend Mount Baker’s North Ridge route and climb steep alpine snow and ice to the mountains spectacular summit.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Day 2 • Summit Day
Day 3 • Hike to Trailhead
2 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio
We lead the Mount Baker North Ridge at a 2 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the climb.
Northwest Alpine Guides holds a Special Use Permit and is an authorized outfitter guide within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District
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Climb begins and ends in Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest
Plan to arrive the day before the climb begins.
Day 1 • Hike to High Camp • 6,800 feet
Meet in Sedro Woolley, WA.
Northwest Alpine Guides will provide you with a detailed PreClimb departure book upon registration including personal gear list, meeting location and driving directions.
Our alpine guides will meet you for team introductions, gear check, and group gear distribution. The drive to Heliotrope Ridge trailhead at 3,500 feet takes approximately two hours, reaching the North Side of the mountain.
The hike to high camp takes 4 to 5 hours. After ascending to Hogsback camp at 6000 feet, our route traverses the Coleman Glacier to a bivy site at 6,800 feet. We gain 3300 feet from the trailhead to high camp.
Accommodations: Tented Camp
Day 2 • Summit Day via Northridge • 10,781 feet
The day begins with an alpine start. Our route travels up the right-center of the Coleman Glacier, weaving around large crevasses to the toe of the North Ridge. The standard start crosses a double bergshrund and then goes up a broad gulley feature of 40 degree snow. Straightforward glacier travel on the central ridge section steepens into ice slopes that lead up to the base of the prominent ice cliff spanning the bulk of the north face. As the angles steepen we’ll start belaying and then climb, in a classic and exposed position, directly up the ice cliff in a few short pitches (60-70 degrees). Beyond this it’s more glacier travel, some short and steep traverses, and the final summit plateau. Depending on conditions and the pace of the group, it takes from 9 to 12 hours to reach the top. Gorgeous views of the Cascades reward you as you stand on the summit of the North Cascade’s highest volcano. We gain 4000 feet from high camp to the summit.
After enjoying summit views from Mount Baker’s highest point and celebrating our success we descend the Coleman Deming route to Hogsback camp near the toe of the Coleman Glacier.
Accommodations: Tented Camp
Day 3 • Hike to Trailhead
After breakfast, we break camp, pack our gear and retrace our hike back to the trailhead. We generally arrive back to the trailhead by early-afternoon and conclude our adventure in Sedro Woolley.
We usually arrive back to the trailhead by mid-afternoon and conclude our adventure in Sedro Woolley.
Plan to depart the day after the climb ends.
Northwest Alpine Guides makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Where to Meet
8:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Sedro Woolley for equipment check before heading to the trailhead. We will email you PreClimb info including gear list and departure details upon registration.
Deposit and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application. Balance due 90 days prior to start date.
- Guided climb and instruction
- Boiled water for meals
- Professional mountain guide
- Group equipment (including tents, ropes, stoves, etc.)
- Wilderness Permits
Price Does Not Include
- Trailhead parking fees (NW Forest Pass)
- Meals and snack food
- Personal gear
- Hotels or lodging
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Medical and evacuation coverage
- Staff gratuities