Coleman-Deming Route on Mount Baker

Enjoying the summit views

Enjoying the summit views

With a stellar forecast only days after returning from Peru, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to take Erica out on her first volcano and enjoy some beautiful views.  We drove up on Saturday afternoon and left the car around 3:30pm in a very busy parking lot.  The approach was mostly snow-free until the base of Heliotrope ridge, which itself was bare in many places.  We stayed unroped up to the 7,000 ft glacier camp, with only one or two gaps to keep an eye on along the way.  It took around 3 hours to get to camp, where we set up shop among many other tents and promptly took a pre-dinner nap after having dessert first—I love doing things backwards, I guess.

Sunset at glacier camp

Sunset at glacier camp

We had dinner to an awesome light show over the Northwestern reaches of Baker and Puget Sound, with views of a sea of mountains extending into Canada.  We decided to start early since freezing levels were above the top of the mountain and we wanted to avoid a slushy mess on the way down.  Plus we were motivated to get ice cream on the way out at Graham's.  We left the tent at about 4:15am and made fast progress in a well-established boot pack.

We took a break at the Colfax-Baker saddle at about 6am and then headed up the Roman Wall with many other parties on the route.  We broke into the sunshine on the summit plateau and were on the top by 7:30am with great views of the North Cascades and Shuksan, in particular.

Heading back down the Roman Wall

Heading back down the Roman Wall

It was an uneventful descent, including a brief nap at camp before breaking it down and continuing out to the car, making it there by 1:30pm or so.  I'd never spent the night on Baker before despite having been up there many times between the North Ridge, Coleman Headwall, Coleman-Deming a few times, and Colfax a few times, so it was a nice change of pace and chance to enjoy the views.