There are dozens of different climbs on Mt Baker. All of them require at least a minimum a knowledge of glacier travel.
Time To Complete
Summer and Fall
Tip: More people attempt Mt Baker in the Spring than the Fall although it's a bit in vein. Terrible weather can lag until late June and on big snow years the road can stay snowed in until late Spring. Spring can also mean difficult traveling snow conditions unless on skis and bad Whiteout conditions. Fall has the reputation for open crevasses and this can mean it becomes a little more technical it also means easy access and better weather.
Dogs are mostly allowed but not recommended on a glacier.
Rising 10,770 feet from the sea and visible on a clear day to a population of over 3 million people, Mt Baker is one of the biggest and baddest of the Cascade peaks. When you see the white mountain for the first time it clearly promises big adventures to anyone who looks for it. And it will not disappoint!
What Makes It Great
With a reputation as one of the snowiest places on earth it would be only fair to admit that the summer season on the “Ice King” can give way to some incredibly pleasant and clear weather. But even in perfect weather the various climbs are often underestimated in terms of effort required so please do your homework and prepare.
There are many routes to the summit but The North Ridge is Mt Baker’s showcase climb. To climb this route you’ll travel across complex glacier and up steep mountain walls until you find yourself high up in the sky tackling pitches of vertical ice climbing. This route is comparable to Liberty Ridge on Rainier but it has steeper ice climbing and there is not as much objective danger.
For general mountaineers just looking for a moderate route to the summit the Coleman/Deming route is a nice outing. It’s also the route of the first ascent made in 1868 by an Englishman named Edmund Coleman. The Coleman Deming route is also considered one of the greatest ski descents in the country.
One of the ultimate gifts that the mountain has to offer is the summer ice cragging on the lower Coleman Glacier.
Who is Going to Love It
Since the entire mountain is completely covered in a sheet of ice Mt Baker is really suited for those that love winter. The ice climbing on the lower glacier posses ice cliffs that range from short overhanging boulder problems to 70 foot vertical walls. Higher on the mountain backcountry skills and a good knowledge of glacier travel is required. With that said the easiest routes are fairly straightforward for glacier hikers but many parties have underestimated the more technical climbs, especially latter in the season when the glacier is broken up and the ice is hard.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
All of the climbs that I mention above are accessed via the “North Side” or Heliotrope Ridge trailhead. This entire area is in Designated Wilderness Area. No reservation or permits are required when entering this area for single or multi-day use. You are however expected to adhere to Leave No Trace Principles. This means pack out your human waste. There is a pit toilet above the lower Coleman Glacier where climber accesses the Ice. Other access point is Schreiber Meadows on the South Side. This is designated Recreation Area therefore lots of snow mobiles on this side.