Easton Glacier - 2016

September 1, 2016 - Easton Glacier 
Sunset behind the Twin Sisters. 
The south side of Mount Baker is beautiful this time of year. Park Butte Trail and Railroad Grade Trail are clear and in excellent condition to High Camp, Sandy Camp, and Climbers Camp. At least 30 tent pads are available at Sandy Camp. Running water can be found throughout the area. As winter approaches and temperatures fall, remember to carry extra clothing, gloves, and goggles. Autumn is a wonderful season for climbing, but it takes care and planning to remain comfortable and safe. All parties should be prepared for unstable weather and poor visibility.
The Easton Glacier from Sandy Camp. 
Climbers continue to summit Mount Baker via the Easton Glacier route. Recent snowfall above 6500 feet has covered the bootpack and may have begun to hide crevasses. Below about 8000 feet, the route travels primarily over dry glacier. Higher up, the route still consists of corn snow, except for a few patches of harder ice. Parties are encountering the most challenging route finding between 8500 feet and Sherman Crater, where a number of large crevasses intersect the route. Most parties have been able to safely navigate this section by crossing snow bridges or end running crevasses, but the glacier is always changing, and all parties should assess these hazards carefully during their ascent and descent. A few large crevasses have also opened up on the final summit wall. Some climbers have been observed passing these crevasses by traversing to the climber's left.

It is always smart to carry a GPS with a track function, or marking wands, to ensure that you can follow your exact route back to camp when visibility is poor. Weather changes quickly this time of year and all parties should be prepared to descend in a storm.

Pack out all human waste and garbage, including marking wands. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Centers in Sedro Woolley and Glacier. Help us keep the mountain clean. Thanks and happy climbing!

July 11, 2016 - Easton Glacier 
Summit teams have reported good conditions for climbing and skiing. 
Climbers and skiers have reported excellent conditions on the Easton Glacier. The route from Sandy Camp travels over crevassed sections at approximately 7000 feet, 7500 feet, 9000 feet, and 9500 feet on its way to Sherman Crater. Most parties have not had much difficulty navigating these hazards safely, but all climbers should assess snow bridges carefully during the ascent and descent. This time of year can be especially hazardous because the winter snowpack is melting and many new crevasses are opening. Climbers are reporting a direct and efficient route from Sherman Crater to Grant Peak. A few inches of fresh snow fell above 9000 feet last week. Suncups are developing below 7500 feet. 

Remember to carry extra water, food, and layers of warm clothing on your summit attempt. Weather can change rapidly and it is easy to underestimate how long it will take to reach the summit and descend. Average ascents take about 6 hours and descents around 4 hours. So, plan to be exposed to the elements for at least that long, and bring enough equipment to take care of yourself. The climbing rangers recommend that each climbing team carry on the summit attempt at least one sleeping bag, one stove with fuel and a pot, and one shelter. 

15-20 dry tent pads exist at Sandy Camp and Climbers Camp. Running water is available. Mountain toilets will not be flown to the camp areas this year, so please pack out all human waste using blue bags or another system. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Centers in Sedro Woolley and Glacier, where you may also register for your climb, buy maps, and ask questions to the staff at the front desk. As always, happy climbing!

June 10, 2016 - Easton Glacier

Welcome to the Easton Glacier! The mountain is is great shape and many parties have been reaching the summit. Come out and enjoy this beautiful wilderness.

Road: Forest Roads #12 and #13 are open and clear to Schrieber's Meadows trailhead. The road has recently been graded.

Trails: Park Butte Trail is mostly clear of snow to about 4500 feet, or just below Morovitz Meadow. Railroad Grade Trail is mostly snow free to Sandy Camp. Fallen trees have been logged off the trails. The footbridge at lower Rocky Creek has been installed.
Park Butte trail has been cleared of fallen trees. 

Morovitz Meadow is still covered in snow. 

Railroad Grade Trail is mostly melted out to Sandy Camp. 

Camps: Two to four tent pads have melted out at Railroad Camp and High Camp. Another 8-10 dry sites are available at Sandy Camp and Climbers Camp. Otherwise, camping will be on snow. Campers are finding running water close to all camps.

Route: Climbers and skiers are following a direct route from Sandy Camp to Sherman Crater and up the final summit wall. Snow bridges are generally in good condition, but all visitors should assess crevasses crossings carefully during their ascent and descent. Warm temperatures can cause rapid changes during the day. Climbers have been navigating a section of crevasses at about 8900 feet by end running to the left and then wrapping back around to head up the corridor to Sherman Crater. The bootpack up the final summit wall heads directly up, eventually angling right toward Grant Peak. Recent snowfall above 8000 feet has kept the glacier smooth, but some sun cups are beginning to develop lower down. Remember to get an early alpine start to avoid the worst of the midday heat.

Current snowpack on the Easton Glacier. 
LNT: If camping on snow, please do not secure your tent with rocks. Moving rocks causes damage to the fragile alpine ecosystem. Mountain toilets will not be flown onto Mount Baker this year, so visitors must use blue bags or another system to package and carry out all human waste. Blue bags are available for free from the public service centers in Glacier and Sedro Woolley. Help us keep the mountain clean!

Thanks and happy climbing!