Type of HikeSnowshoe/XC Ski
Trail ConditionsObstacles on trail:
RoadRoad suitable for all vehicles
SnowTrail snow-covered at times - gear and expertise recommended
My buddy Chad and I were determined to get to Artist Point regardless of the weather this weekend and try our chances in getting out to Ptarmigan Ridge and/or Chain Lakes in the afternoon and on day 2. We arrived at the Mt Baker ski area around 10:15 Friday morning (still temporarily closed). Some clouds, visibility was good. Recent snowfall made snowshoes a necessity after just a few hundred yards. We reached Artist Point (about a 2 mile hike, depending on how direct you go). We could see the top 4 feet of the outhouse roof. We continued past Artist Point and up toward Huntoon Point. We found a suitable place for our site (protected from the winds from the north and west). By the time we finished digging out a level spot and getting our tent in, the snow started falling. And falling. Soon conditions were near white out--we could only see 6-8 feet in front of us and quickly realized that the smarter choice would be to stay put. Dug a partial snow cave and practiced using our avalanche beacons. The snow kept falling until around midnight. The moon came out for awhile and then rain starting falling sporadically around 3 or 4am. We hoped morning would bring clear skies but visibility was still pretty bad at 7am, and it was snowing again. Given the hard layer of snow, with about 8-10 inches of new snow overnight, we weren't confident avalanche conditions were in our favor. So we did some snow shoeing around Austin Pass and made our way back down to the ski area. Cloud breaks gave some spectacular views of Shuksan and nearby peaks. Wow! Lots of friendly skiers on their way up for fresh powder.