Some of the peakers climbed Mt. Baker via the CD last weekend. We opted to skip any attempts at trailhead napping and decided to leave Seattle at midnight on Sunday morning. Fueled by the finest donuts in the 2 AM selection from Safeway, we pulled in to the trailhead around 2:45 and were walking by 3:30.
The trail is snow free up to 5,000 ft, where we ditched our shoes and put our skis where they belong, on the snow. We followed a faint skin track up the gully and to the ridge. Switch-backing up the first headwall proved tricky for those of us without ski crampons (everyone but me) but a breeze with them.
As we cruised along the Black Buttes the wind started to pick up. The small amount of fresh snow from the past couple days was getting blown around with great enthusiasm and was giving our faces a nice scrub. At this point I joined the ski carrying club and we started booting up Pumice Ridge.
Although less windy than the col, any loose snow from the ridge had been blown off and what was left behind was balls of blue ice embedded in super firm sastrugi. The Roman Wall was more of the same, but steeper. Nonetheless we carried our skis up and had a good feet-numbing and ear-piercing descent. Below the col wasn’t much better with patches wind blown snow on top of ice. We got back to our shoes by 2:30 and got back to the softest ground we had all day – the trail out. We were at the car by 3:15, just short of 12 hours, what a day.