Mid-October is getting toward the end of the good weather in the North Cascades. I took advantage of a nice day today to head up toward Mt. Baker to photograph the mountain and the rugged crevasses and seracs on the lower portion of the Coleman glacier. I made this self-portrait at the high point of my hike, a bit over 5900 feet elevation. The crevasse I’m stradling wasn’t very deep so I felt comfortable going out on the glacier by myself without an ice axe. However, I didn’t go any farther than where I’m standing.
The weather wasn’t as good as I’d hoped for. The blue sky in the photo was only in evidence for a short time about 3 pm, but it couldn’t have been timed any better. Most of the time the sky was a hazy white with thin, high clouds signaling an approaching front which will probably bring rain on Monday.
The Coleman glacier, which flows north off Mt. Baker and terminates into Glacier Creek, is heavily crevassed and the lower portion has substantial seracs. A climbing class of more than a dozen students was busy practicing their ice climbing on the glacier below me. I tried that once, in about the same place, and decided ice climbing isn’t for me. Maybe I gave up too easily and I should try again.
Several creeks cross the Heliotrope Ridge trail as it winds its way up toward the glacier. The higher elevation crossings were challenging because of ice on the rocks. In mid-summer the challenge is huge water flows from melting snow, but that wasn’t the issue today. In one case I threw a bunch of small stones at the ice to break it off the rocks so I could have a firm place to stand mid-stream. I really didn’t want to get wet or injured.
All told, I hiked about 6 miles with 2300 feet of elevation gain and loss today. If I hadn’t gone to the mountains I could have gone kayaking, bicycling, or worked in the garden.