Springtober in the North Cascades: Ski Touring Mt. Baker

Chaz Diamond | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

With the ski season in the Rockies getting underway, those of us living in the top left (PNW) are feeling real, real itchy for some turns. With the last significant snow accumulation over two weeks ago and nothing but high pressure and sun in the forecast, a trip was planned to Ski Tour Artist’s Point, near Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Mt Baker from E

Mt. Baker from the West, looking pretty dang good!

 From Artist Point it was pretty obvious that it hadn’t snowed in a while, the Southern aspects were barren and baked, but the Northern had great coverage at higher elevations. Choosing to hike across the snow-free Southern aspects of Table Mountain as opposed to the steep icy ravines on the Northern aspects we set out to reach a North-East facing slope off a saddle in Table Mountain. Low and behold, the ‘easier’ route we chose was not nearly as simple as we had hoped, and we spent the better part of 2 hours hiking through scree fields and snow to reach the notch we chose to drop in at.

photo 2

Hiking out to the goods.

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There’s snow, right? Southern aspects, definitely a little bare.

Coming over the saddle into our chosen zone, it was clear that the gamble had paid off. What opened up below looked more like March than October; full coverage and soft snow all the way down to Bagley Lake, 1500 feet below. The first 1000 feet or so blew all expectations out of the water, the snow at higher elevations had stayed soft, smooth and fast, while the last 500 feet were a bit icy, but soft enough in the mid-afternoon heat to make for great skiing. Getting to the bottom without tickling any rocks was mind blowing, conditions were definitely much better than expected!

Northern aspects of Table Mountain

Artist Point Northern Aspects

Northern aspects looking ready to go!

 


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