At 10,781 feet Mount Baker is one of the most picturesque mountains in all the Cascade Range. The mountain renders the second largest glacial system in the lower 48 States second only to that of Mount Rainier. In 1998 Mt. Baker’s annual snowfall amounted to 95 feet exceeding the world record previously held on Mount Rainier since the 1970’s. Mount Baker is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. The mountain presents a fantastic objective for those seeking a challenging climb in a pristine alpine environment.
We guide two different standard routes on Mount Baker, the Coleman Deming Glacier on the Northside of the peak and the Easton Glacier on its Southern flanks. Both routes are considered similar in length, elevation gain and difficulty and offer a great introduction to roped glacier travel and basic mountaineering. Our professional guides will introduce and teach you the skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb.
On the Easton Southside we meet at the Ranger Station in the town of Sedro-Woolley. On the Colman Deming Northside, after meeting in Sedro-Woolley, we drive to the small town of Glacier, Washington. Our guides will introduction the team and check equipment before heading to the trailhead. Depending on the route, a 3 to 5 hour hike reaches our scenic high camp at the 5,000-6,000 foot level. Our camp is located at the base of the glacier and the evening is spent setting up camp and eating an early dinner before bedtime all while enjoying the Cascade’s alpenglow. On day 2 we introduce basic mountaineering skills. On Summit Day! we get a pre-dawn start and your guide will lead the way up the glacier by headlamp attached to his climbing helmet. We slowly make our way up the glacier bypassing and end running crevasses and ascend the “Roman Wall” finally reaching the summit plateau. As we crest the last summit mount, Baker’s ash crater and the full breath and beauty of the North Cascades come into view, Mount Shuksan as well as Glacier Peak in the distance are most notable. After our summit attempt we descend back down the mountain to our high camp, pack up and hike out to conclude our adventure.
The Easton Glacier route is climbed in three days which gives us more time on the mountain to refine basic mountaineering skills. The approach to the Easton Glacier begins in meadows and eventually ends up in dense old growth forest, then high alpine meadows before we reach the snow. Our high camp is in a wonderful location between the 5000-6000 foot level at the toe of the glacier. The southern approach offers a more gradual glacial ascent before reaching Sherman Crater and climbing the Roman Wall. We have the option to climb on the second day if we are feeling well and the weather looks good, otherwise we train more on day two and go for the top on our final day.
Like the Easton Glacier route we have the option of climbing on the second day. The northern route offers a slightly shorter hike to high camp with less elevation gain compared to the southern approach. High camp is located above the Hogsback Ridge at 5500 feet. The shorter approach makes summit day a bit longer and steeper. The route ascends glacier until reaching Colfax Col between the Black Buttes and Mount Baker’s Roman Wall. Both routes are thought to be of equal length, elevation gain and difficulty.
How many days is best for me?
Our three day option is designed for beginner climbers or for those without previous experience using ice axe and crampons on glaciated terrain. You will simply have more time for learning the skills needed to climb Mount Baker safely with a mountain guide. For those considering climbing Mount Baker as a two-day option, stronger hiking and backpacking skills are required. The two day climb is best suited for those with previous climbing experience or a high level of athletic fitness as you are expected to keep a swifter guided pace.
• Rest step, step kicking and pressure breathing
• Ice axe techniques and self arrest training
• Crampon usage and techniques
• Snow travel, climbing as a rope team
• Introduction to snow anchors
• Basic climbing knots
• Leave no trace skills
• Summit climb of Mount Baker
• Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, acclimatization, route finding and navigation, glacial fundamentals, snow camp skills. Our professional guides will follow the above curriculum, introducing the basic mountaineering skills necessary to make a successful summit climb.
NW Alpine Guides is an authorized outfitter guide within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District.
For more information about international adventures, please visit our partner company Mountain Gurus.
Climbs begins and ends in Mount Baker National Forest
Plan to arrive the day before the climb begins.
Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Start time and location to be determined. Gear check and drive to the trailhead. Hike to high camp. (B, D)
Day 2 • Intro to Mountaineering School
Today is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self rescue, crampon techniques, snow travel and basic introduction on knots and anchors. Throughout the program guides will host discussions on numerous mountaineering topics. (B, D)
Day 3 • Summit Day • Mount Baker • 10,781 feet
Summit day starts early. From high camp, we climb moderate snowfields to the saddle between Sherman Crater (9600′) or Colfax Peak (9000′) depending on the route. Both routes ascend the final Roman Wall steeply to Baker’s expansive summit. After returning to high camp we pack our gear and return to the trailhead.
Plan to depart the day after the climb ends.
NWAG makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Where to Meet
8:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Sedro Woolley, WA for equipment check before heading to the trailhead.
Upon registration, you will be emailed a PreClimb departure PDF containing detailed trip information.
Registration and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes a $300.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to start date. Please read NW Alpine Guides Cancellation/Refund Policy for details.
Guided climb and course
Dinners on the mountain
Professional mountain guide
All group equipment (including tents, stoves, pickets, ropes)
Services not included
Trailhead parking pass fees
Breakfast, lunch and snack food
Hotels or lodging
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb departure information upon reservation. For your safety and comfort it’s extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Please click to see our gear rental items. We have a full selection of mountain gear and clothing items for rent.
Click on the camera icon below to view a sample gear item.
Head and Face:
**An expedition down parka w/ hood is required for Mount Rainier. A mid-weight insulated parka is required for Mount Baker and climbs and courses in North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips.**
**Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips. Gaiters are optional on mid and late summer climbs.**
**Read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy-weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier and early season Mount Baker and North Cascades NP climbs and courses. Single-weight synthetic/ leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid and late summer climbs and courses on Mount Baker, North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. NO Backpacking boots allowed on any trips, boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.**
**An adequate size backpack is required depending on the climb or course you’ve joined. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.).**
Personal Health and First Aid
Previous mountaineering experience is not required on most Northwest trips. Our guides will teach you the basic snow and glacier travel skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb. Although above average physical conditioning is required for most mountain climbs in the Cascades. Prior hiking, backpacking or climbing experience is very beneficial. High altitude experience is not required.
Most trips in the Pacific Northwest are rated as strenuous and we cannot over emphasize the importance of conditioning. By getting your heart, lungs, and legs in top physical condition, you can focus on learning, while being able to enjoy the high mountain environment. It is recommended that you have some hiking and backpacking (camping) experience prior to this trip. All participants are required to carry a share of the group food and equipment which includes tents, stoves, pickets, ropes. Be prepared to carry a 40 to 60 lbs backpack to high camp depending on the climb or course you choose.
The mountains of the Cascades Range are physically demanding and your ability to enjoy this adventure depends on your overall health and fitness.
It is often stated. The best training for mountain climbing is hiking, backpacking or climbing with considerable elevation gain (2000 vertical feet or more). Few other fitness activities truly replicate the physical demands of climbing steep mountains with a backpack.
We suggest you begin your training program at least four months prior to departure depending on your current conditioning. Walking up steep hills and stair climbing are both excellent ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. In order to condition yourself to carry the weight, it will be important to take long hikes (4-6 hours) with a weighted pack at least one or two times a week. The best training for mountaineering is to carry a loaded pack up and down hills or small mountains. Hike uphill without breaks for at least an hour at a time when possible. Then break 10-15 minutes at the most and then continue hiking uphill for at least another hour. Do this as much and as often as you can. This is certainly not the only way to train but is probably one of the best ways to train for climbing big mountains. Don’t worry about your pace, this will increase over time, instead hike uphill slower if needed without taking as many breaks. Work at maintaining an even respiratory rate.
Unfortunately, many of you don’t live near good hills or mountains so then you will need to find another activity that will help increase your endurance. Supplement this with running, cycling, swimming, cross-fit sports, weight training, etc. for additional aerobic conditioning your heart and lungs. Any time spent at altitude will also prove beneficial. Remember mountain climbing (unlike running) is an activity where you slowly climb uphill over long periods of time while carrying heavy to a moderate amount of weight.