Climb with incredible views of the North Cascades and San Juan Islands. This route is a great introductory glacier climb and an easier, quicker, and less crowded route up Mt. Baker.

NOTE: THIS ROUTE REQUIRES GLACIER TRAVEL SKILLS

Mt Baker, or Kulshan, is a remarkable mountain in northwest Washington. Whether you're in Anacortes, Bellingham, Vancouver or on the San Juan Islands you can see Mt Baker standing as a citadel over the Northwest. Unlike the more popular routes like the Coleman Deming and Easton, the Squak sees fewer people and provides the opportunity for a great ski directly to your car during the winter and spring. This route is around 10 miles roundtrip and can be done in a day or two.

The Squak starts at the same trailhead as the Easton route. Getting there requires taking Hwy 20 east out of Mt Vernon for 22 miles and turning left onto Baker Lake Rd. A little ways down Baker Lake Rd you'll turn left on NF Rd 12 and then right on NF Rd 13, which ends at the Schriebers Meadow parking lot.

From the parking lot take the Scott Paul Trail heading north towards the Squak Glacier. During the late spring, summer and fall, you can take this trail all the way to the toe of the glacier. In early spring and winter it is easiest to hike or skin north along the ridge line until you make it to a prow at 6513' that is labeled on the map as Crag View. Just above or below this point is a good place to camp or rest. From this point on you will be on the glacier. This portion should only take about 2-4 hours depending on how fast you ascend.

From Crag View to the top is relatively straightforward. Head north up the Squak Glacier toward Sherman Peak navigating through the crevasses. Once closer to Sherman Peak, around 9400', the glacier will taper off in steepness and this is where you will want to start traversing northwest towards what is called the Roman Wall, the final push to the summit. The base of the Roman Wall is a good place to take a short rest break because the Wall is the steepest part of the climb and the busiest. When you are ready, head straight up the Roman Wall to the false summit, about 1000'. At the top of the false summit you will see the true summit, 10781', to the east a short flat walk away. To reach the summit from Crag View should take anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on how much navigation is required to avoid crevasses.

The way down is the same as the way up. I highly recommend skiing it if you can and to the take the time to check out the crater. Be sure to soak up the sun and beauty on the way down!

A final cherry on top is to make a side trip to Annie's Pizza Station in Concrete, WA for some delicious pizza and beer to celebrate the adventure!

Pack List

  • Glacial travel equipment (crampons, rope, harness, ice axe, pulleys, etc.)
  • 4-season tent
  • 0° sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles
  • USGS Mt Baker Wilderness map
  • Stove
  • Food
  • Water bottle
  • Headlamp
  • Helmet
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Climbing pants
  • Insulated jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Socks
  • First aid kit
  • Avalanche safety gear depending on season (beacon, probe, shovel)
  • Camera
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RT Distance 10 Miles
Elevation Gain 7500 Feet
Activities Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

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