Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Glacier Creek Road at Baker washed out

Friday after work I crossed the border and headed up Mount Baker. I had a pack with a tent and was going to spend the night on Hog's back then hit the Glacier in the morning. I was going to go the Friday before but the border was gridlocked because of Blue Jays games in Seattle and a pop concert. This time I made it across the border no problem. The first time since Covid.

Glacier Creek Road is an old single lane logging road on the way to the Heliotrope Trail. There are pullouts along the way so if a car is coming down when you are going up, one of you needs to make it to a pull out so the other can pass. On my way up I blew past a sign that said road damage ahead and I thought no kidding. The road is crap. It's full of pot holes and uneven pavement with much of it gravel. It's great for a dirt bike but not very good for a street bike.

Then I get to the road closure half way up and I was like WTF. The river had completely washed the road out at one point. Two cars were parked there and the sign said people would hike up from there to the trail head. I saw mountain bike tracks and thought that was a great idea. I guess the people in cars brought mountain bikes with them for the rest of the way up.
I got off my motorcycle and took a look at the conditions of the trail beside the road and say I can make that so I took my motorcycle past it. That part was easy but the rest of the road up on my street bike was a bit of a slog. As I started along the trail head the two young guys who came up on mountain bikes were just coming down. I asked them how long to Hog's back and they figured an hour to the junction then another hour up hog's back. It was 6:30 PM. I could just make it to set up my tent before dark. So I start booking it. Then I started thinking.

I realized that there was no one else in the parking lot. I'd be the only person on the mountain. I have food in my tent. Hog's back is above the tree line. There are no trees for you to throw a food cache over a branch. I have no problem with solo camping but usually when I do there are other campers in the area. If something goes wrong there are other people around.

Normally the parking lot is full and there are tons of people going up and down the trail. The dangerous thing about Baker is the crevasses. This time of year the crevasses get huge. You do not want to fall in one. There are people that go up with rope and ice anchors in case someone falls in one. Pulling someone out of one of those is a big operation. That's why the back country skiers have to be careful skiing down. If they're not careful, they could fall into a crevasse.

There's a guy in my complex who went up with a group and brought a ladder with them to cross the crevasses. I'm like I'm not carrying a ladder up the f*cking mountain. An over night pack is heavy enough. I'm not going to shimmy across a ladder over a 40 foot crevasse either. I'm going to walk around the crevasse. My point is, if there's no one else on the mountain and I fall into a crevasse, I'm f*cked. I started doing the math and start thinking it's time to abort the mission.

There was one other factor as well. The weather in Vancouver was calling for sunshine but right before I left I checked the weather for Baker. It was calling for rain overnight with a possible thunderstorm. I guess cause there are more clouds in the mountains.

I kept going because I thought it would be pretty impressive to watch a thunderstorm from Hog's back but me being the only person on the mountain was a big concern. The clouds were rolling in and I started to feel a few rain drops. After weighing my options I said nope and went home.

I was a bit discouraged because I had come all that way and made it past a few hurdles. I just get so tired of making plans then hitting another roadblock or setback. I just want to get something accomplished. Setbacks are a part of life. They can slow us down but they can't stop us.

The road's an easy fix. Don't bother with fill. Just move the road over to the right.


  1. You have to know when to say when.

  2. Listen to your GUT.

    If there is ANY doubt the wise decision is to ALWAYS abort.

  3. Yeah, I just don't like b*tching out. However, Baker is a big deal. It is a significantly higher elevation than the local mountains here. I checked the forecast right before I left and it said minus 2 to plus 3 at 9,000 feet. I was like, I've camped at Hog's back in the summer before and it wasn't that cold. Just really windy. 9,000 feet is like freaking Everest. Here they're around 3,000 feet.

  4. "If there's any doubt there is no doubt".

  5. I’m glad common sense prevailed. Always better to be safe then asking “wonder what happened to that Dennis guy?” LOL


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