Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Snow Camping: Artist Point in North Cascades

Mt Baker at Sunrise

This past weekend I went snow camping at Artist Point with some of my close girl friends + 11 other rad women who are all part of the PNW Outdoor Women's group and it was such a blast! Sarina and I have talked about snow camping at Artist Point for the longest time, but the stars never aligned until this weekend and the weather couldn't have been more perfect! We almost snow camped at Artist Point last winter, but I got sick and wasn't feeling it so we did a day trip to snowshoe Artist Point, then car camped nearby. Which was equally as fun! (You can read about that trip here)

Coordination & Planning

I originally had plans to hang out with my mom and wasn't going to be able to hang this weekend. But my mom ended up catching a bad cold and postponing her trip, so I joined the planning party a lil late. So I messaged the group of friends 5 days before the weekend to see what they had in mind and I got a "SNOW CAMPING!" response back. Well of course I was down for snow camping! But the question was where? With living in Washington comes the iffy winter weather, high avalanche dangers, and minimal sunny days. So in the Facebook chat I was in, a couple of locations got thrown out there, but we waited till Friday to make the final decision of where we were headed Saturday. Other ideas thrown out there had been Hex Mountain and a lake near Crystal Mountain. In the end, avy dangers lowered for the Mt. Baker area and Artist Point it was! (We use NWAC to check avy conditions)

Other things we coordinated during the week before the actual location was picked were: how many tents are we bringing and who's sharing with who? Who's down to drive and wants to carpool? Who has a snow shovel? Who's bringing a sled? (Jk jk, I was the only one who wanted a sled lol). What time do you all want to leave? After we hammered out all these details, we all had a lot of packing to do.

Mt Baker

Trip Details

Location: Mt Baker Ski Area
Dates camped: January 12-13, 2019
Miles hiked: 4+ miles R/T
Elevation Gain: 1000 ft
Parking: $10 for overnight parking, permit bought at ski lodge. Free day use parking
Dogs: Allowed
Main Snow Gear Used: Snowshoes
Driving Distance: 240 miles R/T from Lynnwood, WA

Saturday January 12, 2019

Kaelee and Katherine carpooled to my house in Lynnwood and I drove us to Artist Point in Cody's Tacoma (4 Wheel/All Wheel drive recommended, but not necessary to get to Artist Point/Mt Baker Ski area parking lot, chains highly suggested though).

We pulled into the parking lot around 9:40 AM and it was packed! Since we were parking overnight we were told to look for a spot on the rock wall. We did a drive by and there were no spots and by the time we looped back around to ask the parking attendant again where to park, the lot was a zoo! We eventually found parking on the outskirts of the lot. After we loaded up our packs, Amanda and I headed to the ski lodge office to buy overnight parking passes while everyone else headed to the trail head to wait for us (if I had known we needed to buy a pass at the office, I would probably have swung by there first with the car, then parked).

 Katherine and Amanda scoping out the area 
 Nikki and Sarina's tent
Kaelee and my tent
Table Mountain in the background

Pulk Sled

I made a pulk sled for this trip (aka I bought a $10 sled, drilled some extra holes in it and added paracord, so I could drag my gear up, instead of carrying all of it on my back). I thought I was going to be super slow with it attached to me, but it wasn't too bad! For the most part on the way up, the sled just stayed right behind me and it never tipped. On the way down, we attached the back end of the sled to the front of Kaelee so that the sled wouldn't run into me while we went downhill. Overall, we gave this pulk sled a 10/10! It also turned into great entertainment after we setup camp, as we all took turns sledding down the hill with it.
 Photo by: Amanda 
 Photo by: Amanda 
Photo by: Amanda

We got to the area where we all decided to setup camp around 1:00 PM and began digging holes in the snow to pitch our tents. For us, we wanted to create a small barrier so that if there were wind we wouldn't get pummeled. Also creating a nice flat spot to pitch your tent is key for you not to have a miserable night. Once our tent was pitched, we all hung out, ate some lunch, and sledded a bit before Teresa gave a crevasse demonstration with Nikki. Then some of us hiked towards Huntoon Point to check out the area and caught sunset.

We eventually all gathered together for dinner, hung out, took some night photos, and then Kaelee and I crawled into our shared tent around 7:30 PM and called it a night. (Yes, you spend a lot of time in your tent when snow camping in the winter)

Oh, if you're curious what I ate for dinner while snow camping: a $3 packet of ramen I bought from the Asian market. Hot soupy noodles sounded way more appealing to me than a Mountain House.

 Just chillin'
 How many people can say they went sledding under Shuksan?
Photo by: Amanda 
 Mt Shuksan
 Amanda and Sarina
Practiced some long exposure shots

Sunday January 13, 2019

We all woke before sunrise (it was 7:55 AM that day), and my group of friends gathered around outside our tents with cameras in hand, ready for the sunrise show. Sunrise this trip was better than sunset. After sunrise, we ate breakfast with everyone, packed up our stuff, and headed back down to the parking lot. It took us 40 minutes to get back to the car. Artist Point is not a hard hike at all.

Overall, it was another amazing snow camping trip with great company and amazing views! This was my first snow camping trip using my new 0 degree sleeping bag and I never got cold! My Oboz hiking boots did soak through and woke up to some very stiff and frozen boots, but it wasn't a big deal for me.

Until next time North Cascades!

 Sunrise was the best part!
 Hi Amanda!
 Our lil tent city
Nikki in her element
That sunrise show
That group shot (edited and taken by: Amanda)




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