August 5, 2011
IMG client Katie Kaluza chimes in with her recent Mt. Baker experience with IMG…
“When I signed up to climb Mt Rainer with IMG this past spring, I had no expectations. The whole idea started and ended over beers in Mexico. Without much research my friend Trish and I decided it was something we just had to do and sent in our forms once back in the states! Once we realized what we actually committed ourselves to, we were scared! With training, the right gear, great weather and a super fun group we had a ball, one of the best times ever. We failed to summit but either way, I was hooked. While the guides did an excellent job of giving us tips, pointers, and showing us the proper technique for “blue bagging”, the most important thing I learned on Rainier is that I didn’t know anything at all. Which brings me to Mt Baker.
I decided for my next climb I needed some serious training so I would not be the “Dope on a rope” as teammate Joe named us. One afternoon, while hard at work surfing the IMG website I saw they had a new climb! A three day Baker trip that included crevasse rescue, rope skills, all while getting the chance to summit. I was in! SOLD! Sent in my form and showed up on a beautiful Friday morning in late July.
We met at the ranger stating in Sedro Woolley. After a quick gear check, assignment of group food/gear, several coats of sunscreen we were off. Again, I was blessed with a wonderful, kind and fun team, including one of the same guides from Rainer, Dustin! Our route was to be the Easton glacier. We made our way across a stream, over rocks, through the trees and came out at Schreiber’s Meadow, looking up at the summit, breathtaking. We continued up the railroad grade and came to rest at 6500ft, set up camp and started dinner (Which was delicious)! Who knew mac and cheese with sausage and peas would be such a great combo, a mountain delight. Maybe we were just hungry. Ty and Dustin decided that due to weather, we would summit the following day. Before bed we went over rope travel, walking with crampons, and various other glacier travel skills.
We woke up at 4:45, when an “independent” team decided to go over rope training right outside our tents. Not happy. We saw them again on the mountain and were thankful for the expertise and knowledge of our guides. After a quick breakfast we were off. The views were incredible. After 5 hours we made the summit! We celebrated with high-fives, water and a snack, all while taking in the views. We scurried down back to camp, unloaded our packs and got ready for training. We went over gear, and how to use it. Again, I was reminded of how much I didn’t know and how much I need to learn, which is why I was there. With the assistance of our guides Dustin and Ty, we set up a pulley system and learned how to pull someone out of a crevasse, should someone go in. After another delicious dinner we packed up our gear and retired to our tents, ready for our Sunday decent.
This trip was different than my Rainer climb. Smaller group, more training and less pressure. It was a perfect way to spend weekend in the pacific NW and something I’d highly recommend.”