“I think you got this.”
Madness guide Niels Meyer and Armando are standing at the base of the Roman Wall in a complete whiteout with the wind howling and temperatures dropping. Just half an hour earlier Armando, Adrian, Jeff, and Niels had been climbing up Baker’s Easton Glacier with partly cloudy skies and mild temps.
Adrian, Armando, and Jeff approach Baker via the Railroad Grade. Niels Meyer photo (all)
Armando and Adrian flew in from Mexico City a few days before their Baker climb. Adrian has climbed many of the Mexican volcanoes, Aconcagua, and a few other South and Central American peaks. Armando had done a lot of mountaineering in his youth and wanted to get back into the swing of things. They chose Baker as a good introductory climb to the North Cascades. The team met in Seattle to do a quick gear check, and after a very important coffee stop we cruised up towards Baker.
A room with a view.
Adrian, Armando, and guides Jeff and Niels approached the Railroad Grade and Easton Glacier under bluebird skies with perfect temps and beautiful views. Adrian, a photographer, snapped pictures of the many marmots out foraging and surveying their territory. At basecamp we dug in our camp and ate dinner while staring up at the mighty Mount Baker, contemplating tomorrow’s climb. Due to weather we were planning to summit the next morning. We prepped our gear and got in our sleeping bags to catch a few hours of sleep before our summit attempt.
Armando and Adrian contemplate tomorrow mornings climb over a delicious meal.
We awoke to clear skies and light winds. A quick breakfast and we were on the trail. A light overnight freeze made for tough breakable crust conditions but we climbed on, pushing for the summit.
A quick break for water, snacks, and views.
With just over a thousand feet to go, weather came in. It began snowing, temperatures dropped drastically, and Armando and Adrian were introduced to the North Cascade ping pong ball. With a complete whiteout and fatigue weighing down on the group we discussed turning around. Despite tired legs and adverse conditions, we summited. After pictures and high fives we began our descent, looking forward to a hot brew and an early bedtime.
Almost back to camp, finally out of the whiteout.
The next morning we packed up our gear after a long night of heavy rain and headed back to Seattle. Baker provided an excellent introduction to North Cascades mountaineering and reminded us that the warm, dry climate of summer in Washington was still a few weeks out.
Armando writes “I will take to my everyday life the encouragement from Niels at the base of the Roman Wall: ‘I think you got this!’ — And I did. We did.”
Armando, Adrian and Jeff on the summit!
~MM Guide Niels Meyer, text and photos