Monday, September 26, 2011

Mt. Baker

Alright, I'm back. Back in Canada and back blogging again. After 3 months of absence, this is an attempt to keep in touch with the outside world again. Europe was awesome, crazy busy and just too much going on for writing a blog. Four days after our arrival in Canmore I found myself back on a plane for Seattle. The goal was to climb Mt. Baker, the most northern volcano in the US. Together with 2 more fun guides, Steve Banks and Mike Bromberg, both from Crested Butte, we were hoping to lead 5 climbers and 2 camera men up the north ridge. Long story short, a brutal storm prevented us to set foot on this beautiful summit, but we had a good fight and came close. In the end, everyone including the guides had a great adventure and we brought the team safe and happy back to civilization.
After a 4 hour car ride from Seattle we finally arrived at the ranger station of Mt. Baker, where there was high quality bouldering to be had. If I would have only known, I could have brought my crash pad - note the bone crushing landing to my right. Luckily, after a summer of guiding in Europe, I was so out of shape that I could not lift my second leg off the safe ground anyways.
Below you can see the only shot I got from the mountain we tried to climb, considering the fairly low elevation of just under 11000 feet, the glaciation is quite stout.
A 3 hour hike with heavy packs through a magic west coast rain forest got us to high camp on the Heliotrope ridge.
After pitching the tents I ran up for another 1000 feet to check out the approach to the north ridge, just to make sure I find it with my cheesy headlamp the next morning. The reward for my efforts was this beautiful sunset amidst all those fully blooming wild flowers. Just freshly arrived from Europe I did not expect such a "fauna-tic" color show above tree line by mid September.
Back in camp I ran into one of our "clients" updating his diaries. Chad was very special and inspirational in his own way. He found the mountains helping him dealing with his disability, and his focus is to pass the message on to other challenged folks, very delightful to be with him.
Maybe an hour before we turned around, Steve and Mike trying to make sense between a map, compass and GPS in the intense white out.

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