They say the most riveting climbing stories come from tragedies. I totally agree, but success does not take away the beauty or pride of a well-executed climb or backcountry trip.
In the summer of 2016, I traveled to the state of Washington to not only attempt my first unguided glaciated climb, but to also stay in a secluded fire tower with breathtaking views of Mount Baker. I climbed Baker with my good friend and favorite climbing partner Han. After a flawless ascent, I headed back down to town to meet up with an amazing photographer and one of my best friends Brad North to trek up the Park Butte Lookout tower. Everything went smoothly, and I managed to grab some great images along the way. Hope you enjoy.
The Coleman Deming Glacier Route
Our approach to Hogback to build camp.
Han settling in at camp.
The colorful Hogback camp at the base of the Coleman-Deming Glacier route.
The summit in the distance beyond camp.
Gearing up for our 2 a.m. alpine start.
The Roman wall.
Looking down from the base of the Roman wall.
If you look closely, you can see a tiny row of climbers ascending behind us.
Crossing a platte toward the summit.
The summit of Mount Baker.
Climbing Baker unguided was a thrilling experience, and one that will stick with me for a long time.
After a successful summit, I took a day’s rest and then made my way to Park Butte Lookout for a night. The lookout tower is open for backcountry travelers with expansive views of Mount Baker.
Brad and I walked up into the clouds as we approached the lookout, so with no view we took some time to read a few entries left by previous visitors.
As the sun set the clouds broke. We set out to get some shots.
Changing weather made for some breathtaking views.
One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever stayed.
This lookout accommodates a small party on a first-come, first-served basis. We got an early start. That, combined with a little luck, landed us this perfect spot for the night.
A clear night sky over Mount Baker.
Another angle of Mount Baker.