If there’s one thing Washington’s Mt. Baker is famous for, it’s snow. In 2006, Baker set the world record for annual snowfall with nearly 96 feet of powder. Every winter, the mountain’s northeastern slopes are alive with powderhounds seeking out first tracks both inbounds and out. The best way to experience this iconic PNW volcano is to snowshoe or ski tour up to Artist and Huntoon Points for an overnight adventure.
Begin at the Heather Meadows parking lot and follow the groomed catwalk, which is actually the road to Artist Point in the snow-free summer months, at the edge of the resort area before bearing right (south) towards Table Mountain (the mountain that looks a lot like, you guessed it, a table).
The road is pretty obvious and provides a reasonably gentle ascent to the upper meadows. The landscape soon opens up into a broad basin, which is Artist Point, but the possibilities for adventure don’t stop there. You can bear right around the eastern flanks of Table Mountain and along Panorama Ridge* for unparalleled views of Baker, or stay along the ridge to the left to Huntoon Point, a fantastic backpacking spot with 360° vistas.
Set up camp atop Huntoon Point’s summit and orient your tent doors east to west. This way you’ll have an obstructed view of Baker to the west and Mt. Shuksan, one of Washington’s tallest non-volcanic peaks, to the east. Staying overnight on the point will allow you to maximize photo opportunities as the sun rises directly behind Shuksan and sets directly behind Baker.
Equally stunning are the ridges to the north, featuring the sawtooth summits of Mt. Larrabee and American Border Peak, and south, punctuated by White Chuck and Three Fingers, among others.
With a round trip distance of around five miles Huntoon Point is supremely doable in a day or as an easy overnight and provides about the best bang for your buck you’re going to get in Washington in the winter.
Gear: Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 50 Outdry Pack, Lowa Mountain Expert GTX Boots, Tentsile Flite Tree Tent, EMS Velocity Sleeping Bag, REI AirRail 1.5 Sleeping Pad, Sunskis Frosted Lava Taraval Sunglasses
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