THIS DAY, Cameron Grewal and I joined up to do Excelsior Ridge in the Mount Baker area. Thought of doing Goat Ridge near Chwk lake, but decided instead to do the Excelsior Ridge hike and snowshoe and expected weather would give us good views.
We met around 8 am at Tim's Sumas Way, and after border wait, drive, and gearing up we were ready to hit the trail at 9:15 am. The trail has a lot of switchbacks; but at a very good grade and okay for the knees. We started at 585 meters elevation; and it was at 1130 meters we put on our snowshoes for the whole way forward.(4.5 km) From there the trail was covered, but followed orange flagging tape and/or the dim resemblance of a clear round switch backing through the trees. At around 1320 meters ,1 km further up.. we could not follow the trail. We cut up along the spine of a ridge which became a plateau adjoining to the south of Excelsior Ridge. Cameron and I shred trail breaking for 2 km of heavy new snow. Took a lunch break high up the plateau slope, then up to the summit afterwards. hi point 1745 meters at the summit.
Stats 8 hours car to car including lunch break and the lengthy summit stop. net elevation gain 1160 meters over 15 to 16 km return which is the biggest effort for me this year.
PS ... Recent soft heavy snow is about 20 to 25 cm deep on top of old hard snow... Snowshoes at wide angle outward made it possible to ascend. No instability from the snow base now...........which can change dramatically with the coming warm spell.
Trail Head Sign
Starting up early on the trail:
Spectacular waterfall flowing over a clean straight angle rock:
At about 1200 meters, put on snowshoes:
Continual moderate ascent up to the plateau area, south of Excelsior Ridge summit:
Look up to steep eastern slope of summit, to go up used a duck walk with feet pointed outward to the sides to maximum traction and reduce slippage on this slope.
Eastern Ridge of Highland Divide, view east..
Cameron making up the last leg to the summit.
VIEWS FROM AROUND THE SUMMIT
Yellow Orchids, a lot of them growing by the trail on the way down.
Topog Map of Hiking/ Snowshoe Trail.