Exposure and Overexposure on the North Ridge of Baker

I dont' really now how to use my camera, or any camera, for that matter. This first picture is a great example. I took it 5 years ago on the north ridge of baker. Only recently did I finally figure out a fairly simple way to adjust the aperture on my Lumix DMC-LX3 and avoid overexposing snow. It makes taking photos in the mountains even more fun than before.

I took my new know-how to the North Ridge of Mt. Baker on Saturday with Pro Guiding Service. Tanya only started climbing last year, but she made a great showing on the North Ridge. It was her first technical route on a bigger, glaciated mountain.

We camped at Black Buttes camp at 7,000' on the Coleman glacier, a reasonable 3,500' approach day with light overnight packs. The weather station confirmed a good forecast for Saturday, so we turned in early in preparation for a 3AM rise.

The sky didn't clear until about midnight, leaving us with an unsupportive crust. We stomped up to 8,000 feet and then under the Coleman headwall to the base of the ridge. The big winter has the glaciers in great shape, and we encountered no difficulties on the approach. Above us, the North Ridge slowly came into profile, with the ice prow seeming far away.

A short, steep climb gained the ridge proper and firmer snow. We moved together up to the base of the ice prow and built a quick belay. Two fun ice pitches came next, with sun-softened ice up to 60 degrees in an incredible ambience. Above that we pitched out more steep, firm snow. One 3-foot crevasse near the top provided some excitement as we climbed down onto a little plug and back out. Tanya posed at the edge of it for a photo.

We climbed up into a lenticular on the summit plateau. While that normally makes me nervous, I saw nothing threatening in the forecast, and indeed we found reasonable temperatures in a steady 15 mph wind. A quick scamper to the true summit gave me a chance to give the traditional tour d'horizon: Shuksan, the Pickets, the Cascade pass area, and Glacier Peak.

Then it was off to the sunny Coleman and a pleasant walk down to the trail and back to the car. Thanks to Tanya for a great couple days in the mountains!