USFS Climbing Ranger Observations for September 5th, 2015 are as follows: Climbing parties continue to reach the summit of Mount Baker via the Squak Glacier, although ascents have been infrequent in recent weeks due to challenging weather and route conditions. Recent storms have deposited 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow below 7500 feet with as much as 12 inches on the summit. The fresh snow may cover and hide crevasses or other hazards. All parties should carefully assess the route as they make their ascent. There are significant crevasse difficulties between 8500 feet and the Sherman Crater, as well as on the final summit wall. Always rope up and travel with competent partners when on the glacier.
Cragview Camp and Sandy Camp have some small patches of fresh snow, but most tent pads are currently dry. Running water is readily available throughout these areas. Please remember to camp on established tent pads only and do not trample sensitive alpine vegetation. Pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another waste removal system. There will surely be some beautiful days on Mount Baker this fall, so get out there and enjoy it! Lucky trails!
|Recent fresh snow above 6500' may hide crevasses and make the route difficult to assess.|
|Climbing parties continue to traverse from Sandy Camp across the lower portion of the Easton Glacier to access the Squak Glacier.|
|Cragview Camps has some small patches of fresh snow, but most tent pads remain dry.|
Squak Glacier - August 1, 2015
The Climbing Ranger observations for August 1st, 2015 are as follows: Climbing parties on the south side of the mountain continue to successfully ascend the Squak Glacier Route. The route is seeing heavier traffic this year due to an impassable crevasse at about 9000' on the Easton Glacier Route. Most parties are choosing to traverse onto the Squak Glacier from Sandy Camp or to camp at Cragview Camps, which is accessed from the Scott Paul Trail. The route currently travels through a section of large crevasses between 8900' and 9300'. All parties should assess snow bridges carefully during their ascent and descent. From Sherman Crater, the route traverses westerly across the final summit wall before cutting back towards Grant Peak. The crevasses on the final summit wall are changing rapidly thanks to recent warm weather and many parties are deciding to use pickets and other forms of running protection to safely navigate these hazards. Make sure to get an early alpine start in order to avoid being on the glacier in midday heat.
Sandy Camp and Cragview Camp are completely melted out and running water is available nearby. Mice and ravens have been active in recent weeks, so please remember to store all food securely when away from camp. Use established tent pads only and do not impact fragile alpine vegetation. As always, follow Leave No Trace principles while visiting the Mount Baker wilderness. Pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another waste removal system. Help us keep the mountain clean. Good luck and happy climbing!
|Dry blue glacier is melted out below 7000'.|
|Many parties are using pickets or other forms of running protection to safely navigate the final summit wall.|
|Parties are traversing from Sandy Camp to the Squak Glacier at about 6500'.|
Squak Glacier - July 20, 2015
Climbing parties continue to successfully ascend the Squak Glacier route to the summit of Mt. Baker, however, sections of the route are now showing extensive melt and thin snowbridges in exposed terrain.
The route involves many crevasses which can be stepped over or "end run" to the left or right before reaching a large crevasse at approximately 9,100 feet. Currently, this rather large and yawning crevasse has a narrow and thin snowbridge which some parties have been using to cross on.
This snowbridge appeared to have very little time remaining until it collapses into the crevasse.
Climbing Rangers observed an alternate route other parties have begun using to get around this obstacle.
This alternate route can be accessed by traversing to the climbers left just before reaching the earlier noted thinly bridged crevasse. Although this route prevents climbers from having to cross a crevasse that is thin and weakly bridged, it still enters an area which is heavily broken and in time will become unstable as well. As always, either route will require climbers to use good judgement, crevasse assessment and sound decision making before negotiating a crossing. All teams are encouraged to get early starts to their climb and to get off the glaciers before the hottest times of the day. Please remember to use blue bags or another waste removal system to pack out all of your waste. Good luck and happy climbing!
Squak Glacier - July 4, 2015
USFS Climbing Ranger observations from July 4th, 2015 are as follows: The route up the Squak Glacier has seen heavy traffic recently due to a section of impassable crevasses on the Easton Glacier route. Many climbing parties have been observed traversing onto the Squak Glacier from Sandy Camp and other nearby campsites. The route up the Squak Glacier currently meanders through a section of crevasses between 8500 feet and Sherman Crater. Most climbing parties have not had much difficulty navigating this section, but all visitors should make their own assessments of snow bridges and other hazards. From Sherman Crater, the route traverses northwesterly around a large bergschrund on the final summit wall before switching back and heading towards Grant Peak. From Sandy Camp, this route is significantly longer than the normal route up the Easton Glacier and visitors should consider getting an early start to avoid being on the glacier in the middle of the day when temperatures are warmest. The summit register on Grant Peak is melted out and awaiting your entries.
Please remember to always follow Leave No Trace principles while traveling in the Mount Baker National Forest. Pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another waste removal system. Blue bags are available for free at the Public Service Centers in Sedro Woolley and Glacier. Help us keep Mount Baker clean. Good luck and happy climbing!
|Dry, blue ice is beginning to be exposed at lower elevations.|
|Most parties have been observed wrapping around to the left of a large bergschrund on the final summit wall.|