Mt. Baker

FasterSkierAugust 14, 2011

On my way home from Alaska, I made a stop in Seattle for some family time.  In the past couple years it has been hard to get our whole family together at the same time so we wanted to make sure it happened this summer.  Eben and Elsa both live in Seattle , it was an easy place to convene.  After a hard training camp in Alaska, this was supposed to be my recovery week but I knew that was likely to be the case.  Since nobody in our family is very good at sitting still, family vacations have always been filled with lots of hiking, biking, skiing, canoeing, and other adventures.  My mom’s fears of skin cancer limited our time spent lying on a beach and this timewas instead replaced by finding another mountain to climb.  This vacation was no different and the highlight of the trip was climbing Mt. Baker in the North Cascades.


Here’s the family at the start of the hike.  We did the trip in three days instead of the normal two which allowed for a more leisurely hike and more time at the campsite.  This also made for very heavy packs at the start as we were going to be camping in style with lots of very delicious food and drink.


Eben was an awesome guide for the hike!  He does a lot of mountaineering and climbing so it was great to see him in his element.

Hiking to Camp

The Cascades are still really snowy at this time of the year so we hit the snow very early into the hike and had the ice axes out before we reached camp the first day.  Here we are approaching our campsite and Sherman Peak is in the background.  Mt. Baker is hidden from view at this point behind Sherman but you can see part of our route on the left side of the peak.


Elsa and her boyfriend Linden found a flat spot on some heather to pitch a tent.


Blaze stands watch over the camp.  A family friend, Gary Schillhammer, joined us as well for the hike.  His dog, Blaze, was amazing and probably covered enough ground to have summitted three or four times over the course of our hike.


The sibling time was great!  Eben and Elsa spend a lot of time together and send me pictures of the trips like this one, which they do together almost every weekend so I was excited to be able to join for once!

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My new MSR tent and a slightly staged photograph


This was my first time sleeping out on the snow and the first time sleeping on a glacier.   But I slept amazingly while wearing lots of clothes (including a down jacket) inside my sleeping bag.


Eben used his MSR fry-bake to make blueberry muffins and lemon poppyseed cake for breakfast.  That with lots of coffee got us going for the big day.


Morning clouds burned off for clear skies for the climb.


We roped in and navigated around the crevasses on the Squawk and Easton glaciers.



Linden with a sea of clouds below


Eben and I stopped to checking out some of the interesting volcanic rock formations


My mom, the courageous photographer, got quite close to the edge for some of these pictures.  She really enjoyed being roped as close as possible to Eben for this trip.


My dad had his sights set on the summit of Mt. Baker for quite some time so thanks to Eben for making this trip happen!



P8060202My big sis was very impressive and helped me along during a tough point in the Roman Wall, a steep face where my fear of heights kicked in.  As my best friend and role model we are usually very similar and she always knows what to say to make me feel better.  But at that moment when I was trying not to freak out and just take another little step, I knew we were different people when she said, “Isn’t this more fun than intervals?”


Looking down on Sherman peak which from the campsite had looked so high and far away

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Getting organized for the final push to the summit


It actually flattened at the top and was actually an easy stroll for the last few hundred meters.


The Sargents on top!  It was very windy and cold so we only hung out long enough to snap a good Christmas picture.


And then it was back down the same route towards camp




Awesome trip and looking forward to the next mountain!


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