Mount Baker North Ridge
The RouteIf you have time to sample one alpine route in Washington we might recommend the North Ridge. The North Ridge of Mt. Baker is a very achievable and iconic NW climbing route. Given the quality of the climbing, this is one of our most popular 2-day alpine ice climbs. Overall the route is moderate in nature with a few steep sections up to 70 degrees to keep things spicy. Baker's North Ridge is shares the same trail head as the Coleman-Deming route, which serves as the descent route for the North Ridge.
We like to think of the North Ridge as a shorter version of Mt. Rainier's Liberty Ridge, and a very good addition to a resume that claims other routes like the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart, the North Face of Mt. Buckner, and the North Ridge of Forbidden Peak}.
ItineraryBaker North Ridge Day 1: 9 am group orientation and introductions at the USFS ranger station in Glacier, WA. Prior to the trip you will be contacted by our office to make sure you have all the gear you need and to arrange rental of the items you do not own or want to buy. For this route it is imperative that you bring lightweight gear that is sufficient for the climb. At this morning meeting we will conduct a thorough equipment check, distribute group gear, get organized for the hike in.
We hike in to around 6700' and get setup for an early wake up to traverse to the base of the North Ridge. This trip in usually takes around 4+ hours. On the evening before the climb we will eat a big dinner, and be sure to get to bed early for our pre-dawn start.
Baker North Ridge Day 2: Up early, we must first negotiate the often very broken Coleman Glacier to the base of the route at 7,800' We will often have scouted and marked this route the night before in order to speed our approach in the morning. The route tends to slowly get steeper and more complicated as the season progresses.
Once on route, things remain fairly low-angle before reaching the crest of the North Ridge at around 8,800. From here the route narrows and steepens before eventually gaining a 1-2 pitch section of steeper ice leading to the magnificent 50 degree slopes that lead to the summit. After descending to camp in the early afternoon we then hike back to the trailhead.
Qualifications for climbing Mt. Baker's North RidgeIn order to join our North Ridge of Mt. Baker climb you need to have suitable ice climbing skills, including comfort climbing steadily and efficiently for up to 12 pitches of 45-50 water ice with short steps of steeper ice. If you would like to polish your ice climbing skills, we can often schedule a day of ice climbing on the lower Coleman Glacier prior to your climb. You should also be familiar with belaying, removing ice screws and pickets, and have solid rope travel skills.
Other routes we guide on Mt. Baker
Custom Climbs of the North RidgeThis route can easily be guided 2:1, but many of our customers opt to do it 1:1. If you would like to do a custom climb, give the office a call at 509-548-5823 to check on guide availability and book your trip. Customs are also a nice option if you want to link to another route such as Shuksan or something nearby in the North Cascades.
Good sources of Beta on the North Ridge of Baker
- Steph Abbeg's North Ridge Trip Reports: We have a soft spot for Steph's very detailed and well put together trip reports. This is good place to get an overview of the route.
- Mountain Project: We often end up here when researching climbs we have not done.
- Selected Climbs in the Cascades by Nelson & Potterfield (Vol 1, 2nd Edition): If you climb in the Cascades this should be on your shelf.
- Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite Climbs in North America: Fred Beckey made the first ascent in August of 1948 and we can't quit thumbing through it.