Mt. Baker Summit - Climbing

Safety Information

Safety Precautions

Mountain climbing is inherently dangerous and can result in serious injury or death if you are not cautious and prepared. Mt. Baker is an ever-changing and unpredictable environment.
If you are new to mountain climbing, the Mountaineers can get you started.

Mt. Baker is the second most heavily glaciated volcano in the Cascades after Mt. Rainier, presenting serious hazards to climbers. Glaciers are particularly sensitive to minor climatic changes and tend to be severely crevassed as a result. Glissading is extremely dangerous on Mt. Baker and is not recommended.

Mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable and Mt. Baker is no exception. Conditions can change drastically and suddenly without warning. Clear climbing conditions can quickly become very dangerous and climbers should always be prepared for every type of weather condition.

Open bergshrunds are snow melted back from rock and are common on Mt. Baker. Climbers are warned against glissading or traveling down the draw directly west of the Hogsback on the Coleman Climbing Route where there is an open bergshrund at approximately 5,400 feet over a snow- covered creek and waterfall. This hazard is invisible from above and has brought tragedy to several climbers through the years.

Avalanches and Lahars
Mt. Baker is an active volcano and thermal venting can cause sudden avalanches and lahars, (mud and debris flows).

Ice Caves
Networks of ice caves appear at various locations on the mountain because of thermal activity in Baker’s fumaroles and steam vents. These caves are extremely dangerous because of their instability and the poisonous gasses that fill them. Although they may appear inviting, do not enter them under any circumstances.

Tips for a Safe Trip

  • Climb with an experienced leader.
  • Rope up for all glacier travel.
  • Have at least two experienced people per three-person rope team.
  • Do not climb with less than three people in a party.
  • Check current weather and route conditions.
  • Use good judgment and know your limits.
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