Mt. Baker, WA
June 29, 2008
June 29, 2008
Kirsten, Pete and I had an inauspicious start to our Easton attempt. We tried to sneak in a better night's sleep than we would get sleeping on the forest service road by stopping at a campsite halfway up Baker Lake Road, only to be kept up all night by folks aimin' to get wasted accompanied by a 90's soundtrack of Candlebox and Live. Nonetheless we stuck to our 3:30 wake up time, drove to about 1/4 mile from the trailhead and started walking at 5. Feeling rather like zombies, we climbed straight up through the trees as per the Squak Glacier route, eventually hitting the glacier and catching our second wind. A cool breeze was blowing most of the morning making the climbing pleasant.
At around 8,000' we did a short traverse over to the cattle path on the Easton. Around this same point, the snow began to soften quite a bit, and laying a skin track in the deep, slippery corn turned into fairly hard work. The breeze also ceased, making our engines burn a little hotter. The route crosses a few big crevasses, but most of the bridges are substantial except one which may start to deteriorate in the next couple weeks. At the Caldera, we racked the skis on our packs and booted up the Roman Headwall in the trough left behind by the many climbers that morning. We topped out at noon.
The snow on the headwall was better than we expected, although it was warming up enough to generate the occasional foot-in-diameter cinnamon rolls. At the Caldera, we ran into Amar, Hannah et al on the their way up. Nice meeting you guys. The rest of the ski down the glacier was quite nice, ranging from deep corn up high to faster, shallower corn lower down. We stayed on the Easton trail for the entire descent, and stopped for a short foot and food break on the rocks at 6600 feet. After dropping down off the snout of the glacier and down the valley, Amar suggested staying far skiers left as you descend through the trees. This effectively avoids any of the stream crossings. After meandering through Schreibers Meadows, we linked patches of ditch snow along the road to within sight of our car at 3 o'clock. It's great when a day turns out so well after starting so roughly.