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Mt. Baker
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North Ridge 

WI2-3

   
Type:  Ice, Alpine, 3000', Grade III
Original: WI2-3 Steep Snow [details]
FA: Fred Beckey, Dick Widrig, Ralph Widrig, August 1948
Season: April through early August
Page Views: 17,366
Submitted By: Kris Gorny on May 29, 2009  with updates from Nick Sweeney

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Mt. Baker. View of the Roman Nose from the North R...

Description 

The route ascends the broad ridge enclosing the east (left) side of Mount Baker's north face. It is supposed to be a moderately technical route on Mount Baker but we found it to be committing and long. Negotiating the serac wall several hundred feet to the right from its apex, over the north face (see topo picture) required some WI4 ice climbing.

To access North Ridge cross Coleman Glacier laterally until at the base of the ridge. From here ascend the snow slopes to the left of the ridge (crevasse crossings). In the early season and if the snow conditions allow it, the ridge can also be gained from the right (some rockfall danger). Once on the ridge, continue towards the serac walls. Find your way through the ice cliff and proceed on more graduate ice towards the summit cap. The last few hundred feet consisted of climbing in steep poorly consolidated snow. Later in the season this section apparently becomes solidified and a "secret passage" can be found to the left of the steep section and over the crevasses. From the summit cap the true summit is reached by a ~20min walk.

We now believe the serac walls should be climbed around and to the left of the apex of the ice (the passage can't be seen from the ridge unless the traverse left is completed). We chose instead to negotiate the serac walls on the right at a spot where we saw the wall narrow down. The traverse had little reliable pro and took us well onto the north face. Climbing the seracs there involved semi-hanging belay off two screws and ascending a 50ft section of 70-80 degree ice (WI4-?).

Descent via Coleman-Deming route.

Entire climb, including the approach across Coleman glacier and descent back to our tent, took us just under 18 hours.

References:
Cascade Alpine Guide; Climbing & High Routes. Vol. 3: Rainy Pass to Fraser River , Fred Beckey
Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes , Jeff Smoot

Cascade Climbers website is an excellent source of most recent trip reports and route conditions. Here's a trip report
showing climbers ascending the serac wall on the left, near its apex.

Protection 

4 snow pickets
6 ice screws
1 mountaineering axe and 1 technical axe/each


Photos of North Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Baker. Henning Boldt on the lower slopes of No...
Mt. Baker. Henning Boldt on the lower slopes of No...
Rock Climbing Photo: Belay over the north face.
Belay over the north face.
Rock Climbing Photo: Traverse under the serac wall.
Traverse under the serac wall.
Rock Climbing Photo: Descending Coleman-Deming route in the late aftern...
Descending Coleman-Deming route in the late aftern...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Baker. Ice slopes just above serac walls. Cole...
Mt. Baker. Ice slopes just above serac walls. Cole...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the ice pitches climbers right of the lar...
Climbing the ice pitches climbers right of the lar...
Rock Climbing Photo: Atop ice section
Atop ice section
Rock Climbing Photo: After the first ice step
After the first ice step
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Baker. Scouting the approach to North Ridge ac...
Mt. Baker. Scouting the approach to North Ridge ac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Baker. On the summit cap.
Mt. Baker. On the summit cap.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing towards the serac wall on the lower North...
Climbing towards the serac wall on the lower North...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ascending the initial snow slopes towards the ridg...
Ascending the initial snow slopes towards the ridg...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Baker. North Ridge with the overlay topo of ou...
BETA PHOTO: Mt. Baker. North Ridge with the overlay topo of ou...

Comments on North Ridge Add Comment
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By georgiamike
From: Hampton, GA
Jun 8, 2015

sent the North Ridge 5/28/15 via hog's back. camped on Coleman the night before so round trip was about 12 hours in near perfect conditions. descent via Coleman route was very slushy. abundant crevasses on the glacier required careful routefinding.
By Brian Mohr
Aug 13, 2016
rating: WI2-3

Aug 1st summit took us about 3 hrs to get to high camp the previous day. We found a nice spot for our tent at around 7000' just past the standard camp. It was around 14hrs tent to tent on summit day. The crevasses on the Coleman took some time to navigate as we traversed over towards the ridge. We went the longer way around the toe of the ridge due to it being late in the season and the schrund was looking impassable. The crux ice pitches were soft and sun baked to where screws weren't very solid. We took 7 screws and 3 pickets. If I climb it again in the same conditions I would probably shed 2 screws and take 4 pickets. Once we made it to the large hanging serac we went climbers right up through another steep section no harder than AI3. I would highly recommend taking 2 technical tools. Overall the route was steep and more committing than we expected. Amazing route that I would be willing to climb again.
By BenR
Aug 22, 2016

It seems like a lot of people, including our party, are getting stuck or delayed this season near the top of the route just below the summit plateau. There are three options I know of to gain the plateau:
1. Up the gully over the bergshrund
2. Secret Passage to the left of option 1
3. Far right, one can cut around the major bergshrunds and cross a snow bridge that was still in yesterday. Our team left a picket here to protect the downclimb onto the snow bridge.

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