A blog about the great outdoors, photography, and not taking yourself too seriously.

Warm sunny day are not for everyone...

... and specially not for me. I melt in sunny days. My poor canuck scalp burns like an unattended pancake, and I sweat horribly. It's very dramatic.

Contrary to what this opening paragraph says, this article is not about my fair and perfect complexion

Sun's also not great for mountaineering (or mountain photography, as Angela Percival would tell you). Under warm conditions, snow becomes soft and the postholing is real. Postholing, of course, is the least of your concerns when collapsing snow bridges and slides are an option. Unfortunately, I was part of a BCMC group that had the ambition of climbing Mount Baker, so the sunny forecast was mildly depressing (It's Always Sunny in the PNW apparently). We decided to be bold and give it a shot anyway. 

Loaded packs and creek crossings are a recipe for twisted ankles. Luckily we had mad skillz. Note the professional coil job on Lea's rope.

The approach through thick brush and rushing melt water was figuratively a breeze. It was warm, sweaty, wet and confusing; as we learned on the way, a massive slide had wiped out most of the creek crossings, and we had to improvise new ones. Snow, ironically, only provides short relief. In my case, it only cooled off my ankles while reflecting sunlight, giving me a rare case of the sunburn-under-the-bridge-of-my-nose.

Practicing my hand at  alpine portraits. In here, Jill looks at nothing in particular while I admire the curve of my lens in her glasses. She also is rocking a coil job worth admiring.

The perks of this kind of weather? This is the comfiest camp I have slept at in a very long time. Dry ground, nice exposed trees for the hammock (orange chrysalis at the far right) and a warmth that makes you angry you trekked your sleeping back up to 5000 feet.

An extra early alpine start was complemented by nice views of Hera's mess. I requisitioned a handy tree trunk as a makeshift tripod and shot away. The resulting shots may not be as sharp as the ones taken using a sturdy tripod, but there's no way I'm hauling 10 extra pounds of gear.

I'm used to catabatic winds that freeze you, winds that you have to shield against using a strong Arc'Teryx Alpha SV 100D Denier includng new zipper design (I don't have a sponsorship from them, but I'm practicing. See how I casually slid that placement in the article? Soon I'll either be rolling in it, or I'll be editing the post at the request of their PR team).  Not that time. We woke up to a warm, weird wind coming from the col. Ever stuck your face in a hands drier? I haven't. But I imagine that's how it feels.

Climbing up the Easton Glacier by headlamp. Note the slushy snow and deep prints; alpine starts are meant to avoid those issues. Encountering them this early is a bad sign.

The weather proved way too warm for any serious attempt at the summit; we had to settle for a gorgeous sunrise instead. What a bummer.

Noping out of the glacier. Making your way down after a failed summit attempt is always a little depressing, but with temperatures like these, better be safe than sorry.

Settling in for a beautiful sunset. Not as fun as a summit but at least no one died. Which is fine.

Failed summit attempts are usually accompanied with a morale, about how failure doesn't define you and how adversity is the biggest ally you can have in your quest for personal growth.

Screw that. We're all adults here. 

The one thing I would like you to take away from this trip report is this: when you go back through Sedro-Woolley, stop at that little nameless diner on your right. Portions are huge and pancakes are cheap. 

Enjoying the snippets of adventure and exploration around the PNW? Subscribe! Click on the button located at the top right of this article, and you'll be emailed when a new post goes up! Guaranteed without spam.