June 22, 2018

Cold Related Injuries and Bad Weather Can Still Happen in Summer

The climbing rangers just returned from a successful expedition to Denali and will be updating the route reports soon. We're excited to be back on Mount Baker!

A recent incident on Baker should be a reminder to us all about how to prepare for a climb this time of year. Even though it's summer, clear weather can quickly turn to whiteout conditions, making it more difficult to navigate and descend. We recommend that all climbing parties carry the tools and have the skills to navigate in a whiteout or build sufficient shelter on route. A GPS with extra batteries and a track recording function is great for retracing your steps. Make sure to have all your layers with you, including a shell to keep you dry in a storm and a thick insulating layer to prevent hypothermia. Each team should also carry a stove with fuel and pot, a sleeping bag, and a form of emergency communication (other than cell phone) on their summit bid.

Another reminder that there is a dangerous moat that develops in the Kulshan Creek drainage, to the west of Hogsback Ridge, as the winter snowpack melts away from a rocky cliff. The moat can be almost invisible from above until you're right on top of it. There have been several fatalities at this site because of people glissading down the drainage or trying to cross the moat. Stick to the normal Heliotrope Ridge Trail to get to Hogsback camp and you will not be exposed to this hazard.

Finally, using blue bags or another system to pick up and pack out human waste is a mandatory practice on Baker. Most camps do not have toilets and all visitors must pack out their poop when a toilet isn't available. Together we can protect our water quality and keep our wilderness clean.

Enjoy the mountain!




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