At 10,781 feet Mount Baker (also known as Kulshan) is one of the most picturesque volcanoes in all the Cascade Range. The mountain renders the second largest glacial system in the lower 48 States second only to that of Mount Rainier. In 1998 Mt. Baker’s annual snowfall amounted to 95 feet exceeding the world record. Mount Baker is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. The mountain presents a fantastic objective for those seeking a challenging climb in a pristine alpine environment.
Easton Glacier or Coleman Deming Glacier • 2 Day Ascent
NW Alpine Guides will choose one of two standard routes on Mount Baker depending on mountain conditions at the time of the climb to ensure you the best chance of success. We climb either the Coleman Deming Glacier on the Northside of the mountain or the Easton Glacier route on the peaks Southern flanks. Both routes are considered similar in length, elevation gain and difficulty and offer a great introduction to roped glacier travel and basic mountaineering. Our professional guides will introduce and teach you the skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb.
We meet in Sedro Woolley for equipment check the morning of the climb and make our way to the trail head and high camp the same day. Day two, we wake early and ascend to the summit, descend to camp and return to the trail head.
The approach to the Easton Glacier begins at Schreibers meadows, makes its way up through old growth forest and high alpine meadows before reaching snow via the Railroad Grade. High camp is in a wonderful location at the 6000’ level near the toe of the glacier. The southern approach offers a more gradual glacial ascent before reaching Sherman Crater and climbing the Roman Wall.
The northern Coleman Deming route offers a slightly shorter hike to high camp with less elevation gain compared to the southern approach. High camp is located above the Hogsback Ridge at 6000 feet. The shorter approach makes summit day route a bit longer and steeper. The route ascends glacier until reaching Colfax Col between the Black Buttes and Mount Baker’s Roman Wall. Both routes are thought to be of equal length, elevation gain and difficulty.
Easton Glacier / Southside
- Approach Time to Camp: 4-5 hours
- Distance: 3.5 miles, 2800 ft. gain
- Trailhead: Schriebers Meadow, 3200 ft.
- Trail synopsis: This well-maintained trail is longer than the Northside route but gains elevation more gradually. We start the hike in the river valley, crossing the Easton Glacier stream (Sulphur Creek) and proceed up several switchbacks to gain a meadow at 4500 feet. From here the trail ascends the “Railroad Grade” which is a glacial moraine at a moderate angle. In early season we often camp at 5600 ft. at protected camps near the trees. We continue up the moraines over looking the lower Easton Glacier. This takes us right into Sandy Camp at around 6000 ft.
Coleman – Deming Glacier / Northside
- Approach Time to Camp: 3-4 hours
- Distance: 2.5 miles, 2500 ft. gain
- Trailhead: Heliotrope Ridge, 3700 ft.
- 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 final steep moraine we and arrive at the Hogsback Camp between 6000 ft. and 6200 ft. Camp sites are scattered along the edge of the Coleman Glacier, and exact elevation and location will vary depending on water sources and other climbing parties.
How many days is best for me?
Our three-day mountaineering school and summit climb is designed for beginner climbers or for those without previous experience using ice axe and crampons on glaciated terrain. You will simply have more time for learning the skills needed to climb Mount Baker safely with a mountain guide. For those considering climbing Mount Baker as a two-day option, stronger hiking and backpacking skills are required. A one-hour skills refresh will be taught after arriving at high camp. Our two-day climb is best suited for those with previous climbing experience or a high level of athletic fitness and able to learn skills quickly. You will be expected to keep a swifter guided pace.