Mount Baker Safety Reminders

Seasonal Hazards
When crossing snow, use extra caution around rivers, creeks, ditches, logs, and other obstacles. Snow bridges may be melting from the bottom and be thinner than they appear.

Moats, like the one at approximately 5400 feet in the west fork of Heliotrope Creek, can be extremely dangerous in the spring. A fatality occurred there in 2011. Do not glissade or ski directly down Heliotrope Creek drainage, to the west of the climber's trail. Stay on the ridge. 

Always stay in control if glissading. Do not glissade in low-visibility conditions or when you can't see and assess the entire slope in front of you. 

Weather can change rapidly this time of year. Carry the ten essentials and be prepared for various weather conditions. 

Overhead Hazards

DON'T GET CAUGHT BY AN AVALANCHE LIKE THIS ONE


This amazing and scary video from USFS Snow Ranger Pete Durr is a reminder that hanging ice on Mt. Baker poses a serious threat.

Some of the most popular climbing routes travel beneath overhead hazards that have the potential to collapse at any time. The video shows the Coleman Headwall, but similar avalanches are know to originate on Colfax Peak and impact the Coleman-Deming route. The bootpack there sometimes leads through a debris field and it would be difficult to escape from a large avalanche in that area. Other overhead hazards are found on the Roman Mustache and the rock buttresses near Sherman Crater, as well as many other parts of the mountain.

Climbers and skiers would be wise to give all overhead hazards a wide berth and spend as little time as possible beneath them. Move efficiently and pay close attention to your surroundings. Look up, down and around before deciding on a spot to take a break, eat lunch, or set up camp. Powder clouds, rocks and debris may travel faster and farther than expected.

It’s also a good idea to get off the mountain before the hottest part of the day. An early alpine start on your summit morning will give you the best chance of returning to camp before the worst melting occurs.


Stay Updated

The climbing rangers are gathering information about trail and route conditions and will post reports as soon as possible. To stay updated, follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts! 

Thanks and happy climbing!