Mount Baker Climbs and Mountaineering School 

Mount Baker Climb 2
Climb Mt. Baker - NW Mountain School Photo courtesy of John Scurlock

Mountain: Mt. Baker - 10,781'

Set-Date Baker Climbs

Set-Date Baker Courses

Client to Guide Ratio: 1:1 to 4:1

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Mount Baker is located just south of the Canadian border and less than 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Its geographic location make it the target of massive winter storms coming in from the Pacific, and as a result Mount Baker receives a phenomenal amount of snow each winter. In fact, it currently holds the US record for total snowfall in one season, an astounding 1,140 inches (95 feet) of snow in the winter of 1998-99. Mount Baker's 12 glaciers cover an total of 44 square miles, giving it even more glacial coverage than Mt. Rainier to the south. Extensive glaciation, plus the fact that Baker is the 4th highest mountain in Washington State, make it the ideal place for your first glacier mountain climb, or as a training ground for bigger mountains.

We offer a variety of guided climbing options on Mt. Baker, including leisurely 3-day ascents via the Easton and Coleman-Deming routes as well as more technical climbs of routes like the North Ridge and the Coleman Headwall. We also offer 3 to 6 day Mountaineering Courses on both sides of Baker. For skiing enthusiasts, Mount Baker is an world class ski touring destination and holds good skiing well into the summer months.

Our climbs of the Easton and Coleman-Deming routes always involve a review of basic climbing techniques such as self-arrest, rope travel, and the use of crampons, and thus are perfect for those new to climbing. We offer both set date programs and custom programs on most of the regularly ascended routes.

Which Route should you take? 

Those new to climbing should consider starting with a 3-day ascent of either the Easton Glacier Route, or the Coleman-Deming Route. In our experience the Easton is a bit easier, but still plenty challenging. The Easton is also slightly closer for those coming from Seattle as it is located on the South side of Mt. Baker. For intermediate to advanced climbers, we offer climbs on the North Ridge and the Coleman Headwall routes.

Mount Baker Beginner Climbs 

Mount Baker Advanced Beginner Climbs 

Mount Baker Advanced Intermediate Climbs 

Mount Baker Mountaineering Courses 

We offer a 5-day complete Glacier Mountaineering Course and have also introduced shorter format 3-day Glacier Mountaineering Courses that make it possible to learn all the skills taught on the longer course by breaking the components into two 3-day courses that can be taken on successive weekends or throughout the climbing season and allow for lighter packs and less missed work.

Youth Mountaineering Courses 

We also offer programs specifically for young climbers aged 14-17. The curriculum is similar to our normal 5-day Mountaineering Course, but with a group comprised entirely of young climbers and their adult leaders. When we started in 1994 our first programs were all youth focused and getting young climbers started on the right foot remains a priority for our business.

Why Choose NMS for your Baker Trip? 

There are a lot of good guide services out there. Our business is owned and operated by John & Olivia Race, both IFMGA guides. John has guided full-time since 1989 and Olivia has guided full-time since 2001. John and Olivia are very "hands-on" and still guide many of the trips. Shop around. We work to keep our prices very competitive, our guides prepare all meals, we provide all group gear, we have a good rental program for personal gear, and our guides concentrate on safety first and will give you a real shot at climbing as high as you can go. Professionalism means we generally answer the phone, are available to help you plan for your trip, and will always be on-time, prepared, and ready to serve you. We are happy to provide references upon request. In addition to work on Baker John has guided 20 Denali trips, Olivia has guided 10 Denali trips, and the two together have guided over 250 summits of Rainier. Give us a shot. If we can't accommodate you we will be happy to recommend one of our many excellent competitors.

Getting to Mount Baker 

Mount Baker is located in the NW corner of Washington State. The closest airport is Bellingham, WA (BLI), but most people coming from out of the area choose to fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Southern Approach to Mt. Baker:  

For climbs of the Easton Glacier we meet in the town of Sedro-Woolley, WA at the combined NPS/USFS Ranger Station on State Hwy. 20 in Sedro-Woolley. In light traffic it should take about 1 hour and 20 mins to get to Sedro-Wooley from downtown Seattle. Add about a half and hour if coming from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

South-side Mt. Baker Drive Times (assuming light traffic): 

Downtown Seattle-Sedro-Woolley, WA: 1 hour 20 mins
Sedro-Woolley, WA-Trailhead (3200'): 1 hour
Bellingham, WA-Sedro-Woolley, WA: 45 mins
Leavenworth, WA-Sedro-Woolley,WA via US 2: 2 hours 45 mins
Leavenworth, WA-Sedro-Woolley,WA via WA SR 20: 4 hours 45 mins
Marblemount, WA-Sedro-Woolley,WA: 45 mins
Trout Lake, WA-Sedro-Woolley,WA: 5 hours 30 mins

Northern Approach to Mt. Baker:  

Climbs of the North Ridge, Coleman Headwall, and Coleman-Deming Route all meet at the USFS Ranger Station in Glacier, WA. This can be reached in about 2 hours and 15 mins from downtown Seattle. Take I-5 North to exit 255 for WA-542E/Sunset Drive and follow 542 to the town of Glacier, WA. The usual meeting point in the USFS ranger station on the right as you leave Glacier heading east.

North-side Mt. Baker Drive Times (assuming light traffic): 

Downtown Seattle-Glacier, WA: 2 hours 15 mins
Glacier, WA-Trailhead 93700'): 20-30 mins
Leavenworth, WA-Glacier, WA via US 2: 3 hours 30 mins
Leavenworth, WA-Glacier, WA via WA SR 20: 5 hours 30 mins
Marblemount, WA-Glacier, WA: 1 hour 45 mins
Bellingham, WA-Glacier, WA: 1 hour
Trout Lake, WA-Glacier, WA: 6 hours 30 mins

Qualifications for Mount Baker Climbs: 

Follow the link to the specific Mount Baker climb for more details on qualifications for that climb. The Easton Glacier climbs are open to climbers of all experience levels, and is a very good first climb. The Coleman-Deming is just slightly more strenuous than the Easton, but is also a suitable first climb. Those attempting the North Ridge or the Coleman Headwall Route need to have significant previous climbing experience, including moderate ice climbing, excellent physical fitness, and familiarity with belaying and anchor systems. Mount Baker can provide very severe weather, and so all participants need to be prepared physically, and mentally for the challenges posed by the climb and need to arrive with suitable gear for the climb. It is best to contact the office at 509-548-5823 or by e-mail to discuss this prior to registering to make sure we get you on an appropriate climb.

Other good sites for Mt. Baker Climbs:

This program takes place on US Forest Service lands under a commercial-outfitter and guide permit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs & activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.