Mt. Baker is the third highest mountain in Washington state. The Watson Traverse is a tribute to the history of skiing in the Pacific Northwest and the 14 miles, 10k+ foot traverse was first accomplished by Dwight Watson in 1939. Watson completed the traverse in a single day and filmed the feat on a 16mm camera which film still exists today. In May of 2019, Cody Townsend and Bjarne Salen recreate this feat but face a rapidly melting glacier pocked marked with deadly crevasses, an impending storm and the modern-day softness that makes them question the entire point of ski traverses.
This is Episode 19 and line 19 completed for The FIFTY, a project following Cody Townsend as he attempts to climb and ski all fifty of the lines and mountains chronicled in the book, “The 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.” The series documents Townsend’s journeys, travels, challenges and each line and mountain listed in the book. It’s a journey through the most majestic mountains and ski lines in North America along with a unique insight into how skiers make decisions in the backcountry, how they plan, navigate and safely move through the mountains and the people that dedicate their lives to the mountains.
Mt. Baker is also known by Native Americans as Lummi: Qwú’mə Kwəlshéːn; Nooksack: Kw’eq Smaenit or Kwelshán