Mt. Baker Conditioning

Mount Baker is an active] glaciated volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc located in Northwest Washington State in the United States. Mt. Baker is approximately 100 miles (60 km) northeast of Seattle and about 70 miles (112 km) southeast of Vancouver B.C.   Beyond Mt. St. Helens, many volcanologist think Mount Baker could be the next big eruption in the Pacific Northwest.

After Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker is the most glaciated of the Cascade volcanoes; the amount of snow and ice on Mount Baker is greater than that of all the other Cascades volcanoes (except Rainier) combined. It is also one of the snowiest places in the world; in 1999, Mount Baker Ski Area, located 14 km (8.7 mi) to the northeast, set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season—1,140 in (2,900 cm).

At 10,781 ft (3,286 m), it is the third-highest mountain in Washington State.  Although Mt. Baker can be physically demanding for most people, the Easton Glacier route is a good alternative to Rainier for those that aren't up to Mt. Rainier’s challenge but want to experience Glaciers and Mountaineering.  It’s also a good training climb for a Rainier summit bid.  Having said that, the dangers of Mt. Baker as any other cascade glacier should not be under estimated.

Mt. Baker offers a variety of approaches with varying degrees of technical difficulty for would-be climbers. Some of the more popular routes are via the Coleman Glacier and the Easton Glacier. All routes to the summit of Mt. Baker are technical climbs on glaciers. Glacier travel experience, knowledge of crevasse rescue techniques and safe climbing habits are a must.

All of the northern approaches (Coleman Glacier, North Ridge, Park Glacier) start from either the Heliotrope Ridge Trail or Ptarmigan Ridge Trail.  From the east, the Boulder Glacier Route begins with the Boulder Ridge Trail.  One of the most popular routs the Easton Glacier accessed from the south. 

Train for Mt. Baker:

  • Prepare by hiking 8-10 miles per week with 3000-5000 feet of elevation gain.  
  • A good gauge is being able to carry a 40 lb pack on a 2000 ft elevation hike in about 2 hours.
  • Run 10 miles per week.  
  • Focus on building leg strength.
  • Focus on endurance.
  • Plan at least 1 multi day backpacking trips before with as much distance and elevation as possible (dependent on local terrain)

Beginners should give themselves 10 weeks to get in condition, we recommend at least getting to week 10 in the FitClimb 12 week Mountaineering Plan.

Free Training plans:
Hiking and Backpacking
6 week beginner plan

General Mountaineering:
Intermediate Plan 12 weeks

Mt. Rainier 12 week plan:

Mount Rainier Training Plan

8 Month Mountaineering Training & Fitness Plan

Meal Plans:
Backpacking and Climbing Meal Plans

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