The field trip portion of my AIRE class was scedruled to be held at the Mount Baker Ski area last weekend. I decided to come up early and snowshoe up the Artist Point on Friday. It’s a route I’ve always wanted to be and the weather forecasted was perfect. Clear sky’s and avalanche danger low. The Bagney Lakes Basin snowed evidence of avalanche debris from earlier in the week during the massive rain dump and crowns were everywhere in the gullies. I was happy that wasn’t there a few days earlier.

The route follows the cat track from the Heather Meadows Parking lot for the first 500ft of gain going over two steep sections. beware of inbound skiers and riders and stay on the right side of the track. There is a huge switchback that goes left and a sign warning about backcountry travel dangers. Stay right at this sign and cut across the ungroomed terrain. There was a pretty clean stomped down trail here. This leads to Austin Pass. The backcountry trail leads back to the road which is sided by steep slopes above. Due to the low danger of avalanches I decided to take a shortcut up the slopes to reach Artist Point. From here I followed a faint trail to the base of Table Mountain. I considered climbing it, but the sluffs of loose snow above made the going look sketchy. Instead I turned around and walked back to Artist Point. From here I followed the ridge to Huntoon Point and practiced self arrest.

Splendid views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan graced me the entire day as I explored the slopes. Conditions were good from snowshoeing as the snow was hard packed from the rain and there was minimal sinkage.

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