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Mt. Baker
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Boulder-Park Cleaver 
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Mount Baker, North Ridge 
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Mount Baker, North Ridge 

WI2-3 Steep Snow

   
Type:  Ice, Snow, Alpine, 3000', Grade III
Consensus: WI2-3 [details]
FA: Fred Beckey, Dick Widrig, Ralph Widrig, August 1948
Season: April through early August
Page Views: 10,633
Submitted By: Kris Gorny on May 29, 2009

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Mt. Baker. View of the Roman Nose from the North R...

Description 

The route ascends the broad ridge enclosing the east (left) side of Mount Baker's north face. It is supposed to be a moderately technical route on Mount Baker but we found it to be committing and long. Negotiating the serac wall several hundred feet to the right from its apex, over the north face (see topo picture) required some WI4 ice climbing.

To access North Ridge cross Coleman Glacier laterally until at the base of the ridge. From here ascend the snow slopes to the left of the ridge (crevasse crossings). In the early season and if the snow conditions allow it, the ridge can also be gained from the right (some rockfall danger). Once on the ridge, continue towards the serac walls. Find your way through the ice cliff and proceed on more graduate ice towards the summit cap. The last few hundred feet consisted of climbing in steep poorly consolidated snow. Later in the season this section apparently becomes solidified and a "secret passage" can be found to the left of the steep section and over the crevasses. From the summit cap the true summit is reached by a ~20min walk.

We now believe the serac walls should be climbed around and to the left of the apex of the ice (the passage can't be seen from the ridge unless the traverse left is completed). We chose instead to negotiate the serac walls on the right at a spot where we saw the wall narrow down. The traverse had little reliable pro and took us well onto the north face. Climbing the seracs there involved semi-hanging belay off two screws and ascending a 50ft section of 70-80 degree ice (WI4-?).

Descent via Coleman-Deming route.

Entire climb, including the approach across Coleman glacier and descent back to our tent, took us just under 18 hours.

References:
Cascade Alpine Guide; Climbing & High Routes. Vol. 3: Rainy Pass to Fraser River , Fred Beckey
Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes , Jeff Smoot

Cascade Climbers website is an excellent source of most recent trip reports and route conditions. Here's a trip report
showing climbers ascending the serac wall on the left, near its apex.


Protection 

4 snow pickets
6 ice screws
1 mountaineering axe and 1 technical axe/each



Photos of Mount Baker, North Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Mt. Baker. Henning Boldt on the lower slopes of North Ridge.
Mt. Baker. Henning Boldt on the lower slopes of No...
Belay over the north face.
Belay over the north face.
Traverse under the serac wall.
Traverse under the serac wall.
Mt. Baker. Ice slopes just above serac walls. Coleman Glacier below.
Mt. Baker. Ice slopes just above serac walls. Cole...
Descending Coleman-Deming route in the late afternoon.
Descending Coleman-Deming route in the late aftern...
Mt. Baker. Scouting the approach to North Ridge across the Coleman Glacier.
Mt. Baker. Scouting the approach to North Ridge ac...
Climbing towards the serac wall on the lower North Ridge.
Climbing towards the serac wall on the lower North...
Mt. Baker. North Ridge with the overlay topo of our ascent (the route normally does not traverse this far to the right).
BETA PHOTO: Mt. Baker. North Ridge with the overlay topo of ou...
Ascending the initial snow slopes towards the ridge.
Ascending the initial snow slopes towards the ridg...
Mt. Baker. On the summit cap.
Mt. Baker. On the summit cap.
Comments on Mount Baker, North Ridge Add Comment
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By jambnet
From: rock spring, GA
Aug 19, 2010

CONDITION REPORT 

did this route with Pro Guiding our of North Bend WA Aug 14 and found schrund at the base of hour glass passable by starting at the left edge and traverse right under rock band onto the hourglass with firm conditions. Snow bridges across glacier via the high crossing have all but colasped. We circled back lower to gain the foot of the hourglass. Good snow and ice all the way up. Descent was soft and many of the crevasses are starting to open up, many are roofed. Cascade climbers tr on Sunday reports more deteriorated conditions but offers alternative to low traverse.

Gear: 8 screw, 3 pickets