Monday, December 26, 2011

Glacier Creek Road with MBC on 12-17-2011

Dec. 17, 2011

Met up with a group of Mount Baker Club members for a pleasant snowshoe along the Glacier Creek Road.

Glacier Creek Road is located just east of the town of Glacier along the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542) in Washington State.

During the summer months, this road is used for access to the Heliotrope Ridge trail which is one of the primary climbing routes for those seeking to summit Mount Baker. The trail provides up close views to a number of glaciers and is highly recommended for an interesting and enjoyable day hike.

In the winter months, the Glacier Creek Road is a designated sno-park and is shared between snowshoers, skiers and snowmobilers. All vehicles need to have a sno-park pass for parking unless you want to take your chances on getting a ticket.

Generally, snow levels, the capability of the vehicle and the capability of the driver determine just how far you will park.

We parked alongside the road when the snow became consistent, but not deep.

Accordingly, we ended up walking a mile or two before the snow became deep enough to warrant use of snowshoes. Many people opted to don their snowshoes early simply due to the thin layer of ice that covered the road, making each step an opportunity for an injury.

Weather was mostly cloudy, but there were a number of sunbreaks later in the day.

Upon reaching the junction with the Coal Creek Road we had our first views of the mountains and the impressive glaciers.

We took a short break at the Heliotrope Ridge trail head. The picnic table is still available for use (not quite buried) and the outhouse was still accessible also.

The views vary a bit, and improve slightly, if you continue beyond the Heliotrope trail head and on to the picnic area at the end of the road.

One of many ice walls (full digital zoom):

It was a fun trip with a great group of individuals. Thank you, Mount Baker Club, for hosting/organizing this outing!

Total distance (round trip) was 9.7 miles and included about 1,901 feet of elevation gain.

Here is a video slideshow (of the above pictures) plus a short video clip at the end:

Happy Trails!


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