Monday, May 18, 2015

Glacier Circle Cabin

We made the trek into the Glacier Circle Cabin over the Victoria Day long weekend with Nick. There was just enough snow remaining for us to ski right from the car. But only just.

We started out under clear skies but the visibility crapped out by midday.

We chose the Macoun ramp route for the descent into the circle. This photo shows the entrance into ramp route with the Witch Tower route across the other side of the valley.

After 9.5 hours we finally set eyes on the old cabin for the first time in five years. It was in good shape except for a few missing shingles on the roof and we sorely missed a hand saw to cut wood for the stove.

The next day we had a relaxing morning before heading out to look around. Glacier Circle is a stunning place to be.

We retuned via the Witch Tower route the next morning under beautiful clear skies giving a us a great view back to where we'd been. The cabin is located in the trees at centre right in this photo.

Once over the glacier we were forced to start hiking through the rockier parts of the trail.

But not for too long.

Outbound Depart @ 6:15 Arrive @ 15:45
Return: Depart @ 6:19 Arrive @ 13:52

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mount Baker Coleman Deming Route

Dave asked us to have a go at Mount Baker. On Friday night after work we drove most of the way to Vancouver and then met him just over the border in Sumas. Spending the night in the camper at the Helios Ridge trailhead gave us a good early start the next morning. We hiked for about an hour before putting on the skis and making our way up the broad glacier.

Every now and again we'd get a whiff of strong rotten egg sulphur smell. The accusations flew thick and furious before Dave pointed out that, duh, it's a volcano. We were dumbfounded. It just never occurred to us that Baker would in any way be...well, sort of active. Cool.

It took a long 8 hours to reach the summit. Thankfully the scenery helped pass the time. It was simply stunning. Shimmering icefalls all around, views of the Pacific Ocean to the west, and snow capped peaks in all directions.

Baker is a busy place this time of year. It's near some major population centres and the access is dead simple. There were several parties camping on the glacier making a two day trip of it. This was our view of a line of people booting up the steep headwall just below the summit. (There is a better line to climber's right that avoids the need to remove skis.)

We reached the top at 2PM and had the place to ourselves for a few precious minutes.

Brenda with her Miss Bakers on Mount Baker.

From the summit we could look down into the source of the sulphur smell, a series of steaming vents called fumaroles.

The ski down was pretty rough on something more closely resembling mashed potatoes than snow.

Still good though. And fast. It wasn't long before we were back at treeline for a nice cold drink.

Climbing a volcano within a few hours drive of home. Who knew? Thanks Dave.