Mount Baker - Easton Glacier
June 13-14, 2008

Photos and story by Jason

There is something to be said about an open bivy. No tent, no problem. Give me the stars and everything 'ell be alright.

Christy and Hannah both were interested in going skiing for a few days. Being late in the season already, I couldn't convince either to try something different. At least not in Hannah's case. She knows better. Christy, on the other hand, is always up for something. You'd think with all the adventure that my brother Josh has submerged her in, she'd learned better by now.

Starting out, we began hiking at the trailhead, which was the first day you could do so this season. Hannah just the week before had been able to ski to the parking lot and just beyond. She didn't have to de-ski a single time. I held out hope we'd be as fortunate (we weren't).

Two girls and me, I felt like a pimp. I wasn't about to tell anyone I was just a friend. That'd crimp my style. Better it seemed to be stud (I wish). I think most could see right through my act. For one, I've got glasses and they both are wearing sandals with no socks. Given most other climbers were wearing full on plastic boots, they were certainly different in their light footware, swimsuit tops and skis.

At camp near dusk there amongst the crowd we found a nice flat place. None of us could summon the energy to go elsewhere, not that we didn't have it, but for the fact that we were being lazy.

That night I took photos of the mountain preening in the last rays of sun and later on, those of the stars. It has become an obsession of mine to become better at night photography. No matter that obsession though, I've had little chance to try my hand at it. This was a prick in my hide and so I stayed up well into the night working at different exposures. In between hiding my face under the covers of my sleeping bag to protect it from the wind. It was chilly. Having stolen my brothers ipod, it was a relaxing time for the most part with the most annoying thing being my arch enemies, the mice. They pretended to not exist, but I could hear their screechy diabolical game planning. It was a time before they carried out the first of their schemes. In the rocks was the tassel to my hat. I was propped up against the rocks. They proceeded to tug at it. By moving I was able to escape them, but dreams of further schemes kept me entertained well into the night.



The climb up is familiar to me by now. This time of year the route is simple enough. Follow the cow path to the top of the route. There are plenty of crevasses in between but nothing too challenging this time of year. We remained unroped throughout, but this isn't always wise. Sometimes it is fine and sometimes it isn't. If you don't know the difference, don't ask me how I know. It is a personal choice that always bears some chance of serious consequence.

Near the top, beneath the Roman Wall, I met Jim Dockery and friends who recognized me from trip reports online. I had met him before on Mount Adams when I was setting out on a solo journey to ski a few routes on the North Side. This had been a wonderful journey for me, a nice escape before having to go to my grandfather's funeral, something I was not looking forward to. Reality can bite sometimes.

At the summit were the expansive views that are common here. The wind was too much to allow us much respite. It wasn't long before we had turned tail and left.

I had forgotten to mention that mid-way up the mountain Loren had joined us ( He had shiver bivied (meaning slept with no sleeping bag or tent) far above our camp. I had seen him pass in the night but didn't recognize him. On the glacier I had convinced him to go back to the summit again, adding 2 more thousand feet to his day. He was glad that he had, cause the snow was much better the second time.

I was too ambitions on the ski down, going fast. Looks into the deep crevasses convinced me to slow down. At times I think it will be the easy mountains that will do me in.

We had fun swooping big turns down the glacier. They were too fun to pull up and stop too many times for photos. Not long after leaving the summit we had reached camp and picked up our sleeping bags and pads. On the trail, we managed to ski down several switchbacks and through many tight trees before submitting to walking the remainder.

Somewhere along the line I lost everyone. There were several guys who were lost so I had them follow me. Hannah caught up and joined. I had taken us all off track, but with some searching I found the trail again about a quarter of a mile before the cars. I'm sure Hannah and Christy's sandaled feet were cold by then.

Overall this was a great trip with good friends on a familiar mountain. There are many more times I will return and each time I will have been happy to have gone. Hopefully I will get many more chances to have an open bivy 'neath stars and glaciers cause I really enjoy summer heat and the nighttime chill. The mixture is what makes summer skiing so thrilling.


Jason Hummel...




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