While the climbing is not difficult, it does need approximately 7000' of ascent from the trailhead and a long summit day with about 5000 vertical feet of elevation gain. Mount Baker is the iconic volcanic climb in the Pacific Northwest. Depending on past experience, it is usually done as a two or three-day expedition.
The first recorded attempt on the mountain was in 1911 by F.O. Becker and H.L. Sabin who were unable to reach the top due to bad weather. The first successful ascent was made the following year by W.H. Holmes and E.W. Davis. Since then, more than 100 people have reached the top of Mount Baker.
The best time to go is between late June and early September when it is not too hot and not too cold. Precipitation varies depending on where you are on the mountain but generally there is enough rain to fill a lake at the upper end of the basin every year. There are also several large glaciers located on the northern side of the mountain that can be seen from the Skykomish River Valley.
You can drive up to the Skykomish Ranger Station and pick up a free map. You will want to bring water for yourself and your dog. Make sure to pack plenty of food because there are no stores near the trailhead. There is a small shelter where you can rest before heading up the hill.
Fill out the Climber's Log! Mount Baker is a magnificent volcano in the North Cascades that provides good climbing opportunities for both novices and specialists. Baker tantalizes Seattle residents on clear days and astounds ferry travelers in the San Juan Islands. The volcano boasts remarkable relief while being only 55 kilometers inland from sea level in Bellingham.
The most popular areas for climbing are the West Ridge, which requires technical rock climbing skills and takes four to six days to complete; the Southwest Face, which can be climbed in three days by an experienced climber; and the Central Buttress, which can be reached in two days by an average-ability climber.
Baker has been known to produce strong earthquakes, most recently in January 2016. The last major eruption of the mountain was in 1797, but small eruptions continue to occur more frequently. It is important to stay informed about changes at the mountain because life-threatening situations can arise very quickly.
People have been climbing Mount Baker since it first appeared on maps in 1879. Although the mountain is accessible via trail, those who plan to go further than a day hike should allow themselves time to reach the top through more challenging routes. The majority of climbers visit between April and October when the weather is best. Winter storms can close roads and trails, so make sure you check with local authorities before heading out into remote areas.
Mount Baker is part of the North Cascades National Park.
While it is feasible to summit in a single day, I would recommend making it a two-day adventure. There are two good possibilities for setting up base camp for people planning a two-day trip. Perfect weather and a fantastic weekend to climb Baker!!! The Heliotrope Ridge Trail provides an easy access point. From there you can see most of the mountain including its highest peak, Otto Bergman's Crest. You can even spot some of the other major glaciers like Wilbur and Albert from this trail.
A more challenging option is to go over Stevens Pass into Washington State. This route requires a permit but it is for experienced climbers only. The road is usually not too busy and it offers views of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other.
There are also several shorter trails that will get you up close and personal with Mt. Baker. These options are great for those who want to explore different aspects of the mountain or who are looking for a more intimate experience. Check out the website below for more information on these routes.
How difficult is it to climb Mount Baker? Mount Baker is a very simple climb. While you must be physically strong and have some basic climbing expertise to climb it, it is one of the greatest mountains for beginners to learn the ropes on. The mountain's lack of technical difficulty or exposure makes it perfect for learning how to navigate through snow and ice, use your equipment correctly, and protect yourself from dangerous conditions. Although there are several more challenging peaks in the Pacific Northwest with more technical challenges, none compare to Mount Baker in terms of beauty. It is estimated that it takes most people between 3-7 days to complete a round trip hike to the top of Mount Baker.
Mount Baker is located in Washington state, about 100 miles north of Seattle. The best time to go is during the summer months (June-September), when it is not too hot or cold. Winter weather can play havoc with your ability to see the spectacular view at the top of the mountain, but since it is only supposed to get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit at night, many people choose to sleep outside instead of at the shelter at the bottom of the hill.
The actual climb up Mount Baker is quite easy.