21 May 2011. According to one religious evangelical fanatic, when I came home today an undetermined number of people were to vanish. These presumably select few were going to be carried straight to heaven, without even having to die first, as the End of the World began. That's all well and good - I was more concerned with finding enough batteries for my avie transceiver at 3:30am.
I was working with Martin Volken, the owner of Pro Guiding Service, for a combined two-group single-day ascent and ski descent of Mt Baker. Martin calls this the "Baker Bullet." He and I drove up to Glacier the night before, met our group of nine at 2:30am, and drove to the end of the Glacier Creek Road, which is still snowed in 900 feet elevation below the Heliotrope Trailhead. All counted, we had 8300 feet to climb to Mt Baker's summit at 10,781 feet. The time passed quickly and we climbed steadily, but the weather deteriorate faster than we climbed. By the time we reached 8100', we were traveling in a whiteout, with only occasional breaks in the clouds showing us the Coleman-Deming Col, Colfax Peak, and the Razorback. This kind of travel is disheartening - sunny clear days with the summit in sight can help motivate, and the little pains that happen are easier to ignore. But not today. At 8100 feet, just under the Col, we stopped, discussed the conditions, and put it up to a vote. And then we turned around and skied down.
Apparently everyone in my group heading out to climb and ski Mt Baker are damned, since none of us were met and carried away by angels. And that's a good thing, because we rescheduled the climb in two weeks.
Statistics: Pro Guiding Service, Mt Baker Bullet Train, 21 May 2011. 8:30 hours out-and-back, 14km traveled, 5400 feet climbed and skied.
Photos: I forgot my camera, so all the photos from this trip are courtesy of Evan Wang and used with permission. Thanks Evan!