Mount Baker’s classic North Ridge represents the next challenge for those interested in honing their alpine skills on more advanced glaciated terrain. This alpine route is truly one of the best moderate “big mountain” alpine snow and ice climbs in the Lower 48 states. Previous climbing experience and advanced alpine climbing skills are required for this climb. We approach the North Side of Mount Baker, the North Cascade’s highest volcano, via the Heliotrope Ridge trail, the same trail which takes us to the Coleman Deming ascent. After traversing the Coleman Glacier to the North Ridge, we climb several pitches of 60 to 70 degree alpine ice up the large exposed ice cliff before reaching the upper mountain. This spectacular climb offers dramatic views down to the Roosevelt and Coleman glaciers, followed by a final push up steep snow slopes to Mount Baker’s massive summit, providing climbers a rewarding alpine experience.
We descend via the Coleman-Deming route which takes us down the Roman Wall to the west and to the saddle between the Black Buttes and Baker’s summit. A descending traverse of the Coleman Glacier quickly takes us back to the lower mountain and on to base camp where we can relax and enjoy the evening alpenglow.
NW Alpine Guides is an authorized outfitter guide within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District.
Climbs begins and ends in Mount Baker National Forest
Plan to arrive the day before the climb begins.
Day 1 • Hike to High Camp • 6,800 feet
Gear check and drive to the trailhead. Hike up the Heliotrope Ridge trail, then traverse the Coleman Glacier to a bivy site at 6,800 feet. 3100 feet gain to high camp.
Day 2 • Summit Day via Northridge • 10,781 feet
The day begins with an alpine start. Our route travels up the right-center of the Coleman Glacier, weaving around large crevasses to the toe of the North Ridge. The standard start crosses a double bergshrund and then goes up a broad gulley feature of 40 degree snow. Straightforward glacier travel on the central ridge section steepens into ice slopes that lead up to the base of the prominent ice cliff spanning the bulk of the north face. As the angles steepen we’ll start belaying and then climb, in a classic and exposed position, directly up the ice cliff in a few short pitches (60-70 degrees). Beyond this it’s more glacier travel, some short and steep traverses, and the final summit plateau. Depending on conditions and the pace of the group, it takes from 9 to 12 hours to reach the top. Gorgeous views of the Cascades reward you as you stand on the summit of the North Cascade’s highest volcano. 4800 feet gain to summit.
Day 3 • Hike to Trailhead
After breakfast 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 for equipment check before heading to the trailhead.
We will email you PreClimb info including gear list and departure details upon registration.
Registration and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to start date. Please read NW Alpine Guides Reservation/Refund Policy for details.
Guided climb and instruction
Boiled water for meals
Professional mountain guide
Group equipment (including tents, ropes, stoves, etc.)
Services not included
Trailhead parking fees (NW Forest Pass)
Meals and snack food
Hotels or lodging
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage