2018/5/12 – Barometer Mountain / 氣壓山

Today's leading protagonist
Today’s leading protagonist

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Another recent find while browsing reports of North Cascades. The trip gave us the rare opportunity to visit the area and to drive Highway 542 (aka Mount Baker Highway) nearly to its eastern terminus. On the way to the trailhead, we even drove past the famous Picture Lake where many of the iconic photos of Mount Shuksan had been taken.

A surprisingly quiet weekend morning with about a dozen vehicles in the parking lot. Following the eastern shore of Lower Bagley Lake, pup and I soon arrived at the upper lake. I put on snowshoes by the outlet and we proceeded to walk crossed the lake near the northern shore toward head of the basin.

Upper Bagley Lake outlet
Upper Bagley Lake outlet

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Two skiers were spotted coming in from the lake as we made a rising traverse toward Herman Saddle. We avoided steep terrain in the northwest-trending gully by heading in the direction of the summer trail across south slopes of Mount Herman. The skiers opted to head straight up through the steep gully.

I couldn’t help but keep turning back to see the magnificent view of Mount Shuksan as it slowly rose from behind Austin Pass on the eastern horizon. This was probably the closest we’d ever seen the mountain. As terrain began to taper at 5,000′, pup and I started contouring the slopes southwestward to reach Herman Saddle at 5,300′.

On Herman Saddle
On Herman Saddle

Photos from this trip can be found here.

But the views didn’t stop there! The minute we stepped onto the saddle, immediately we were greeted with more views to the west, including that of the majestic Mount Baker. We could have easily made this our stopping point and enjoyed all-around views for the rest of the day. But, alas, the show had to go on, as today’s leading protagonist patiently awaited our arrival.

After dropping 500′ into Galena Chain Lakes Basin, we got around Iceberg and Hayes Lakes from the dividing ridge. From western shore of Arbuthnot Lake, we then headed west into Anderson Lake Basin toward Barometer’s southeast saddle at 4,700′. A fairly straightforward ridge traverse simply by staying on or east of the crest, with steepest section from 5,200′ to 5,400′.

Iceberg Lake backed by Mount Baker
Iceberg Lake backed by Mount Baker

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Exposed rocks higher on the ridge allowed us to negotiate snow on both sides. Views got progressively better with everu bit of elevation gain, hard not to keep stopping and checking out the surrounding peaks. We arrived on the snow-covered summit after a short, easy rock scramble.

I say this about just any summit with jaw-dropping views, but WOW what a gem this mountain was! “Good things come to those who wait” I suppose? The only high points I could recognize were the ones we’ve set our foot on, like Church Mountain and Excelsior Peak northwest of here, and the two major attractions Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.

American Border Peak and Mount Larrabee
American Border Peak and Mount Larrabee

Photos from this trip can be found here.

As I looked around, I realized just how much of the Cascades I have yet to explore, as I mentally added more high points to my never-ending back burner list. Tomyhoi, Yellow Aster, Ruth, Icy, Winchester, Larrabee, American Border, the list kept growing. We spent a good hour on top, then slowly and unwillingly made our way down the mountain.

Slushy snow and noticeably more ski and snowshoe tracks back in Bagley Lakes Basin since this morning.

Shuksan to Baker panoramic view
Shuksan to Baker panoramic view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Bagley Lakes Trailhead
Gear: snowshoes

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