The North Ridge of Mount Baker is one of the best alpine ice climbs in the North Cascades. The ice climbing is just hard enough to make it exciting but not so hard that you top out with a wicked forearm pump. The route is easy to complete in two days and has the added benefit of descending the standard Coleman-Deming route, allowing you to leave your overnight gear in camp and climb with a light pack. What more could you ask for? (maybe a hut with a cold beer at the end of the climb.....)
This year's snowpack has been much lower than normal but the climb is still in great shape. We had 4 teams climb the route this month and all teams found good conditions.
This year the upper portion of the route goes straight up the ridge. Most years you can skirt around to the left to bypass the last bit of steepness, but a huge icefall collapsed on the standard route. This made for some fun climbing and was actually quite direct.
One of the best things about climbing the North Ridge is the fact that there is an easy descent option that brings you right back to camp. Here Kyle pauses before moving quickly below the Colfax Icefall, definitely not a place to linger.....
Our prediction is that the North Ridge should stay in shape into August and possibly into September depending on what the weather does. Sooner will probably be better than later. If you want to book a trip we only have a few spots left this year, but we are accepting applications for next year's trips. Give us a call or send us an email to book your trip.