May 17, 2019

Reminders for Early Season Travel on Mount Baker

The snow is melting fast! 
Warm weather is quickly melting out the winter snowpack at lower elevations in the Mount Baker National Forest. Heliotrope Ridge and Boulder Ridge trailheads are clear of snow. On May 16, rangers were able to drive to within 1/4 mile of the Schriebers Meadow trailhead, and they estimate it will be completely melted out within two weeks.

With early season conditions on most of the trails and routes, here are some things to keep in mind when visiting the mountain:

  • Use caution when crossing snow bridges over creeks, rivers, logs, and other obstacles. Snow can, and often does, melt out from beneath. Bridges may be much thinner than they appear from above. 
  • Please stay on the trail as much as possible. Visitors often step off the trail because an alternate route through the snow appears more direct, but the snow may be thin or melting quickly. Footprints in sensitive areas cause damage and lead others visitors off route. Stick to the trail! 
  • Bring the ten essentials and be prepared for unexpected changes in weather. Extra insulation and good navigation tools are very important this time of year. Cold and wet weather with low visibility conditions are common in the spring.    
  • Visitors to Heliotrope Ridge Trail or the Coleman-Deming climbing route should be aware that the waterfall/moat in the upper Kulshan Creek drainage, west of the climber's trail leading to Hogsback Camps, can be very dangerous as it begins to melt out. This has been the site of fatalities in the past. Please avoid this drainage and stick to the normal trail on the ridge. 
  • Remove all dog and human waste using blue bags or another system! Waste buried in the snow will not biodegrade and will eventually impact our water sources. Please pick up after yourself and your dogs. 

Rangers are working to climb the routes and gather conditions information. Reports will be posted to the route information page as they become available. Happy climbing!




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