2017-05-27 Mount Baker Attempt/Table Mountain Circumnavigation

Distance: 9.15 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3413 ft.

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We wanted to take full advantage of the three day weekend over Memorial Day to do the Park Glacier route up Mount Baker as a ski tour. We got started from the Mount Baker ski resort parking lot a little before 10 AM and skinned southwest toward Table Mountain. We traversed south below Table Mountain and the snow was very weird. Instead of having spring corn on top of a consolidated base, it was just spring corn down to infinity. So the snow kept sloughing off and making us slide down on the steep sidehill traverse. It was a very exhausting, mushy way to travel.

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Vanessa crumpled in a ball on infinity slush slope

We skinned southwest-south until we reached a ridge that allowed us a good view of our route up Park Glacier. We could see that there was a ginormous bergschrund spanning almost the entire glacier, with only a couple potential tenuous snow bridges to snake our way up the mountain. We were moving way slower than we had hoped and the prospect of a successful summit was looking slim, so we decided to turn around here and make it a day trip.

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Giant bergschrund spanning Park Glacier

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We decided to go back around the north side of Table Mountain to avoid the sun-affected southern slopes. There were some scary cornices on the north side of Table Mountain, however, and it was a very warm mid-afternoon, so we skied even lower to give the cornices a wide berth. Then we skinned up toward Iceberg Lake and then curved around the west edge of the lake. Once again, there were giant cornices hanging above that did not inspire confidence. We tried to space out while still moving quickly through the terrain. We climbed right (east) toward Herman Saddle and then skied down toward Bagley Creek. This landed us below the parking lot, so we had to skin up a bit at the end of the day. Would I recommend this extended circumnavigation route of Table Mountain in late spring? Not really. But it was a really beautiful day in the Mount Baker Wilderness, as always!

We decided to take it easy on Sunday and then rounded out our three day weekend on Monday by climbing Unicorn Peak!

More Photos
Download GPS Track

(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)

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Gear Used:

  • Avalanche beacon/shovel/probe
  • Backcountry boots/skis/skins
  • Glacier glasses
  • GPS
  • Helmet
  • Trekking poles
  • Whippet

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