Mount Baker Experience, Winter 2022/23

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TRAVERSING WASHINGTON’S PEAKS ADVENTURES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FREE WINTER 2022/23 JEREMY JONES: SHRALPINISM
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s I write this column, the 2022/23 ski season is one day old and the sky has nary a cloud in it — a clas sic bluebird day. Let’s believe it is an omen for another great Baker year!

Last month, the Washington News paper Publishers Association saw fit to recognize this magazine in its an nual awards ceremony.

We expect to see many more awards for these and the rest of the creatives who contribute to the Mount Baker Experience and make it what it is — the preeminent outdoors adventure magazine of the Pacific Northwest.

As proof, just look at what this issue contains.

Jason Hummel tells of his effort to ski across Washington state, from the Columbia River to the U.S./Canada border, which he coined the Wash ington Traverse. Looking to do some long climbs in the spring? Take note from two-time Everest summiteer Leif Whittaker who shares tips on training for strenuous climbs and other endurance activity.

We also have a review of pro snow boarder and Protect Our Winters founder Jeremy Jones’ memoir and manifesto “The Art of Shralpinism.” And local legend photographer Grant Gunderson fills our snow-heavy pho to gallery.

Our ever-growing appreciation goes out to everyone at the North west Avalanche Center for all they do. Please don't forget to check the ava lanche forecast before heading into the backcountry.

Have a great ski season — have fun and stay safe.

WASHINGTON TRAVERSE Skiing across the Cascades; a 93-day adventure over 21 years 13 10 NEWS Weather, events and other happenings 22 GALLERY Mostly snow and people in it 30 BOOK REVIEWS For reading by the fireplace 34 LOWLAND HIKES Trails below the snowline 36 HISTORICAL PHOTO Early days of Mt. Baker 37 FROZEN GEMS Small, local ski areas to visit 44 EATS AND SLEEPS Staying plump in Cascadia 44 EVENTS Competitions in the New Year BACKCOUNTRY COMMUNICATION From radios to satelite phones 16 29 LESS PAIN, MORE GAIN Training tips for endurance activity ART OF SHRALPINISM A snowboarders manifesto? ELEVATED BACKCOUNTRY New snowmobile education outfit 32 LOCAL LEGENDS Elijah Lee’s freeskiing spirit 40 EDITOR’S NOTE
SHUKSAN
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PUBLISHERS

Patrick Grubb and Louise Mugar EDITOR

Ian Haupt PUBLICATION DESIGN Doug De Visser COPY EDITOR Grace McCarthy ADVERTISING DESIGN Ruth Lauman • Doug De Visser

Gary Lee • Molly Ernst

CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE: Brett Baunton, Grant Gunderson, Jason Hummel, Freya Fennwood, Eric Lucas, Jason D. Martin, Tony Moceri, Meg Olson, Marcus Paladino, Evan Skoczenski, Dave Summers, Matthew Tangeman, Leif Whittaker, Luca Williams

EMAIL: info@mountbakerexperience.com WEB: www.mountbakerexperience.com

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/mtbakerexperience

TWITTER: twitter.com/MB_Experience

MBE Winter 2022/23

CONTRIBUTORS

BRETTBAUNTON

Brett is a Bellingham photographer with cred its ranging from National Geographic to the Mountaineers. His work is focused on wilder ness education and advocacy for the North Cascades and the Wild Nooksack project.

GRANTGUNDERSON

One of the ski industry’s preeminent photog raphers, Grant has shot for every major snow sports and outdoor publication worldwide. Grantgunderson.com

JASONHUMMEL

MEGOLSON

Meg is the co-owner of the Kingfisher Book store in Coupeville, which has a bit of ev erything but specializes in the natural and human history of the Pacific Northwest. She likes to explore, in person or on pages.

MARCUSPALADINO

Marcus Paladino is a surf and outdoor pho tographer living in Tofino, B.C. He strives to have simple descriptions like ‘surf shot’ or ‘nature photo’ fall short. That’s when his work becomes art. Marcuspaladino.com

EVANSKOCZENSKI

If you can see Mt. Baker, you’re part of the experience. Mount Baker Experience is an outdoor recreation guide for and about the Mt. Baker region, distributed from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. and published by Point Roberts Press, Inc. Locally owned, the company also publishes TheNorthernLight, All Point Bulletin, Pacific Coast Weddings, Waterside and area maps.

Vol. XXXVI, No. 4. Printed in Canada. ©2022 POINT ROBERTS PRESS 225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 TEL: 360/332-1777

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/mtbakerexp NEXT

ON THE COVER

Dean Collins skiing at Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Grant Gunderson photo

Jason is an outdoor adventure photogra pher based in Gig Harbor. He’s current ly working to ski every named glacier in Washington state. Find his stories and im agery at Jasonhummelphotography.com

ERICLUCAS

Eric is the author of the Michelin guide to Alaska. He lives on a small farm on San Juan Island, where he grows organic hay, garlic, apples and beans. Trailnot4sissies.com

JASONMARTIN

Jason is the executive director at the Ameri can Alpine Institute, a mountain guide and a widely published outdoor writer. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and two kids.

TONYMOCERI

Tony is a freelance writer who loves to get out and explore the world with his family. He shares his journey @adventurewithinreach and tonymoceri.com.

Evan Skoczenski is a lifestyle and landscape photographer born in Bellingham. He spends almost all his time chasing light and the next adventure.

MATTHEWTANGEMAN

Matthew is an adventure photographer with a passion for deep powder, alpine granite and not making it back to the trailhead until way after dark. Mtangeman.com

LEIFWHITTAKER

Leif is a coach, author, speaker and former climbing ranger for the U.S. Forest Service on Mt. Baker. He is a founding member of Evoke Endurance. More about him and his coaching can be found at evokeendurance.com.

LUCAWILLIAMS

Luca Williams is a certified rolfer in Glacier. She helps snowboarders, skiers and other out door enthusiasts get aligned and out of pain. Website: lucasrolfing.com Blog: movingwithgravity.wordpress.com

6 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com
MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE
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Newsroom

Notes big and small from around the region

• Saturday, June 10 – National Get Out doors Day

• Sunday, June 11 – Free Fishing Weekend

• Monday, June 19 - Juneteenth

• Saturday, September 23 – National Public Lands Day

• Tuesday, October 10 – World Mental Health Day

• Saturday, November 11 – Veterans Day

• Friday, November 24 – Autumn Day

Discover Passes typically cost $30 to $35 per year or about $10 for a one-day visit.

2023 to have 12 days free of Discover Passes

Washington State Parks (WSP) will have 12 free days in 2023 where a Discover Pass is not required to park at state parks and on recreation lands managed by the Wash ington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The holidays that the free days commem orate include former chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday on March 9, Juneteenth on June 19 and World Mental Health Day on October 10. Many of the free days will hon or marginalized peoples and their histories, such as Indigenous and Black communities.

The free days also recognize the impor tance of mental health and the ways nature can heal those who are suffering. Studies worldwide show time spent in nature in creases serotonin and decreases cortisol lev els, along with many other health benefits, according to a WSP press release.

In 2023, the upcoming Discover Pass free days are:

• Sunday, January 1 – New Year’s Day and First Day Hikes

• Monday, January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

• Thursday, March 9 – Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday

• Saturday, March 19 – Washington State Parks’ birthday

• Friday, April 22 – Earth Day

Pedestrian bridge to connect Larrabee to Clayton Beach

Washington State Parks is building a new bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad track this winter at Lar rabee State Park to provide park users safe, easy access to Clayton Beach, according to an October 27 news release.

The new pedestrian, overpass bridge will provide safe passage between the popu lar beach and the Lost Lake parking lot off Chuckanut Drive. According to the news re lease, it will also be supported by a new trail reconfiguration. Construction on the bridge began November 1 and closed access to the trail, which will remain closed until work is completed in summer 2023.

Visitors have crossed the railroad tracks near a series of turns in the railway for de cades, creating safety hazards due to limited sight distance. Beachgoers have also had to use steep trails down to the tracks. As part of the work, the existing trail will be formal ly decommissioned with fencing near the railway, and the trail will be replanted and

returned to natural conditions.

“This [project] is in line with our agency’s mission and goals to protect the natural and cultural resources in this special area,” said ranger and area manager Amber Forest.

Larrabee State Park, which is Washington’s first state park, opened in 1915 and is a pop ular destination for outdoor recreationists near Bellingham. It is renowned for its hik ing and biking trails, lakes, streams, marine shoreline and breathtaking views of the San Juan Islands.

Other new features will include a half mile of new trail, two boardwalks and a new bridge over a stream. These will all be locat ed between the railway overpass bridge and the Lost Lake parking lot. The boardwalks will protect wetland buffers, preserving plant life, soil integrity and hydrology, the release said. Together, these changes will create safe access to Clayton Beach.

The construction process involves “launching,” or pushing the bridge over and above the railway from one side to the other with the help of heavy equipment and tem porary stays. Next year, a permanent stair tower will be constructed on the west side of the railway. The span will be high enough for trains to pass underneath.

Park service announces North Cascades grizzly bear efforts

Grizzly bear population efforts have gained momentum.

A new environmental impact statement (EIS) process, announced by the Nation al Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a November 10 press release, will evaluate options for restoring and managing grizzlies in the North Cascades.

Grizzly bears have roamed across the North Cascades for thousands of years as an essential part of the ecosystem, distributing native plant seeds and keeping other wild

life populations in balance, the press release said. Humans nearly hunted them to extinc tion during the 20th century. The last con firmed sighting of a grizzly bear in the U.S. portion of the North Cascades was in 1996.

“This is a first step toward bringing balance back to the ecosystem and restoring a piece of the Pacific Northwest’s natural and cultur al heritage,” said Don Striker, superintendent of North Cascades National Park. “With the public’s help we will evaluate a list of options to determine the best path forward.”

This isn’t the first EIS process. One was started in 2014, and a draft received over 150,000 comments in 2017 with the majori ty in favor of an incremental reintroduction.

But U.S. secretary of interior David Bern hardt terminated the process in 2020, under the Trump administration.

Since, advocates like Conservation North west have found new hope under the Biden administration, which the announcement attests.

“The grizzly bear is a critical part of the ecological and cultural fabric of the North Cascades,” said Joe Scott, international pro gram director for Conservation Northwest, in a Conservation Northwest news release.

“They belong here. Without them, our wild areas are diminished, less diverse and sani tized. The narrative about Cascades grizzly bear recovery will take decades to unfold. But with science, education and a little hu man tolerance, it can be one of the greatest conservation success stories of ours and fu ture generations.”

The North Cascades ecosystem is one of only two grizzly recovery areas without an established population of bears, the news release said. Natural bear migration would unlikely repopulate the region.

Four virtual public meetings will be held to take public comment. The last two are Thurs day, December 1 at noon and Friday, De cember 2 at 7 p.m. More information can be found at parkplanning.nps.gov/NCEGrizzly.

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WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 11 T A S T I N G S , T O U R S , & M O R E ! 1 3 1 1 C O R N W A L L A V E , B E L L I N G H A M c h u c k a n u t b a y d i s t i l l e r y c o m | ( 3 6 0 ) 7 3 8 7 1 7 9 O p e n T u e s S u n , s e e w e b s i t e f o r h o u r s B E L L I N G H A M , W A T H E P E N N Y F A R T H I N G B A R & R E S T A U R A N T D e l i c i o u s , l o c a l l y s o u r c e d s h a r e a b l e p l a t e s a n d c r a f t c o c k t a i l s

the last 30 years. Logging roads wind across the mountain, linking a cobweb of past and future timber harvests.

Whatcom County contributed $1.5 million in June to the purchase. In a 5-2 vote, with council members Ben Elenbaas and Tyler Byrd opposed, Whatcom County Council approved the appropriation of funds from the conservation futures fund to the forest initiative, which is managed by the WLT and partnered with other groups like the Nook sack Indian Tribe and Evergreen Land Trust.

tropical Pacific, according to a September 8 ENSO blog post. Scientists say this gives a 91 percent chance of La Niña from Septem ber to November and an 80 percent chance through early winter, November to January.

2023

Northwest Tune-Up back for second year July 14-16,

Bellingham’s new bike, beer and music fes tival will return for its second year July 1416, 2023.

In an October 26 save-the-date email, Northwest Tune-Up announced dates and changes for next year’s festival. Three-day discounted presale tickets will go on sale in early January for $100. The announcement also listed tweaks to be made: More bike event variety, longer headlining sets, moving booths and events to the waterfront, more events for kids and adults, better beer gar den, smoother shuttles, dialed-in volunteer program and more.

“While you were dancing to PJ Morton at the inaugural event, we were listening, learn ing, and making mental notes for this next year’s experience,” the announcement said.

This past year’s event, while a disappoint ment to some, established a foundation and showed promise for the future.

After a two-year postponement due to the pandemic, event co-founder Eric Brown previously said it was an accomplishment to put on the event. It was organized in about three months. But having done so, he said re lationships were built with artists, sponsors and the community that could only make the festival better.

“We feel like year one is under our belt,” Brown said. “And we’re poised for a much more successful event next year.”

More information will be announced in January at nwtuneup.com.

550 acres of forestland secured on Stewart Mountain

In what is to be the first piece of the Stew art Mountain Community Forest, Whatcom Land Trust (WLT) announced in a Novem ber 4 news release the purchase of 550 acres of forestland on Stewart Mountain.

The particular section of forestland, ac cording to the news release, is considered one of the most ecologically and geologically sen sitive properties on Stewart Mountain. The section has a steep grade directly along the South Fork of the Nooksack River, four salm on-bearing streams, and a stand of 125-yearold Douglas fir and western red cedar.

Traditional logging practices and continu al landowner turnover on the mountain have contributed to declining watershed health in the South Fork of the Nooksack River below.

“Whatcom Land Trust has been honored to be part of a passionate and dedicated team working to bring the Stewart Mountain Community Forest to life,” said Alex Jeffers, WLT conservation director. “The Nooksack Indian Tribe has taken a lead on conducting research into understanding how forest man agement impacts our watersheds and how it can make our ecosystems more resilient to a changing climate. This important acquisition is a major step towards restoring natural sys tem functions on Stewart Mountain.”

Stewart Mountain, about five miles out side of Bellingham on the east side of Lake Whatcom, is a patchwork of mature and oldgrowth Douglas fir stands, young, rapidly re generating tree stands, and clearcuts. Six dif ferent timber companies have owned it over

Evergreen Land Trust contributed $300,000 from a Whatcom Community Foundation grant, and Whatcom Land Trust contributed $550,000 from donations.

WLT is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve and protect wildlife hab itat, scenic, agricultural and open space lands in Whatcom County for future generations by securing interests in land and promoting land stewardship, according to its website, whatcomlandtrust.org.

High chance of third consecutive La Niña winter, scientists say

When El Niño and La Niña get thrown around, it can be hard to keep track of which means more snow, as if all children keep to their promises. But more often than not sci entists predict colder and wetter conditions in the Pacific Northwest during La Niña win ters, and this year is expected to be the third consecutive La Niña.

Ocean and atmospheric conditions show that the cool phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, also known as La Niña, is already at play in the

The August sea surface temperature at ENSO’s primary monitoring location was 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degrees Celsius) cooler than the long-term average, which is substantially cooler than the La Niña thresh old of 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) below average. ENSO also reports cooler-than-average water under the surface of the eastern-central tropical Pacific.

The ENSO blog monitors and forecasts El Niño, La Niña and their impacts on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, climate.gov.

Scientists agree La Niña will make it to winter but do not know how long it may last. About 54 percent give La Niña the edge from January to March. There is, however, a 56 percent of neutral from February to April.

While La Niña typically results in wetter and snowier conditions in northern U.S., it has varying impacts on other regions.

Winters tend to be drier in southern U.S., hotter and drier summers in Texas following La Niña winters, more frequent spring hail storms and tornadoes in south-central U.S., rainier winters in Hawaii and cooler, wetter winters in Alaska. La Niña may also reduce atmospheric rivers on the West Coast, ac cording to the blog, and increase Atlantic hurricane season activity, which can be seen with Hurricane Ian hitting Florida.

No matter what type of winter it may be, the ski season has already started. Mt. Baker Ski Area opened to the public on November 18, with passholder day on November 17, this year.

The last time the ski area opened this early was the 2017-18 season, when opening day was November 16. The 15-year average for opening day is November 27. October 15, 1971 — a sea son only a few inches off the mountain’s world record snow fall year — is the earliest the ski area has ever opened. x

12 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com Newsroom
Continued from page 10
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Traversing Washington’s peaks

Across the years and plains of those days unmarked by adven ture, there are those ranges of memory that have become the mile markers to my life. Among them are those goals that set me on the road, a nitro boost to pull me away from that equal and opposite desire to watch the rain fall, the pages of a good book flip by and days spent in warmth and company.

It was one such goal, my desire to truck across the length of Washington state, north to south, that drove me forward. By small and great degrees, I progressed on this goal. Some trips were a day, others weeks, and in total this project took 93 days of effort and spanned 21 years.

ROUTES: NORTH TO SOUTH

Hannegan to American Border Peak, May 30 to June 1, 2022

Mineral High Route, June 5-8, 2003 and in 2010 and 2022

Picket Traverse, February 17-22, 2010 and in 2022

The Isolation Traverse, June 4-10, 2011 and in 2013

The Forbidden Tour, March 7-9, 2015

The Ptarmigan Traverse, June 29 to July 5, 2008 and in 2011 and 2013

The American Alps Traverse, June 2-17, 2013

Dakobed Traverse, June 30 to July 5, 2009

Sauk River to Highway 2, April 7-12, 2016

Stevens to Smithbrook Road, April 9, 2017

14 Lakes Traverse, March 29 to April 1, 2021

Alpine Lakes Traverse, July 3-8, 2010

The Patrol Race, February 8, 2014

Crystal Mountain to I-90, March 30 to April 2, 2017

Paradise to Crystal Mountain, February 4-6, 2012

Crystal Mountain to White Pass Ski Area, January 14-16, 2022

The Goat Rocks Traverse, July 3-5, 2001

Old Snowy from White Pass, February 8-9, 2003

The Columbia Traverse, February 18-25, 2022

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 13
photos

THE MISSING LINK

Never was a plan so simple: Go over a mountain, then another and so forth until the Canadian border was at hand.

Shifting my RV into park, I stepped from its entryway onto the shores of the Nooksack River. The waters grum bling like a mountain with a tummy ache, the rain cast ing about like sheep being rounded up, the forest shaking rain out like a wet dog. Atop a great boulder, I sat on the shore and listened. The melody was as Washington to my ears as any tune could be.

Going back 21 years, and hundreds of miles southward, a younger me climbed to the top of Mt. Curtiss Gilbert, so dedicated by the longest serving Supreme Court Jus tice, William O. Douglas; although misspelled on maps today with one “s” instead of two. Curtiss Rickey Gilbert (1894–1947) was a boyhood friend of Douglas’s. He was also a youth leader and mountain climber. Many years ago I ran into his family climbing Curtiss Gilbert, some half century since his passing.

Unlike Gilbert’s family, I was going beyond his name sake and traversing the Goat Rocks, unknowingly com pleting the first link in a grand traverse, one that I eventu ally conceived of stretching the full length of Washington state, from Oregon to Canada. In 2003, I’d add two more links, the Mineral High Route and White Pass to Goat Rocks. In years to come, the chain would grow with the addition of the Ptarmigan, Isolation, Forbidden, Pickets, 14 Lakes, Columbia Traverse, etc. Nineteen links in total, many overlapping one another.

I get asked, “So did you follow the Pacific Crest Trail?”

The short answer is rarely, but that doesn’t entirely

quantify the difference. One is a trail and beautiful, but a trail all the same. The other is glaciers and peaks, passes and slopes where any one path can be evolved to weather and snowpack, whim and fancy. Unlike predetermined trails, ski routes in the high country benefit as much from poetry as technique and discipline. They are trails made, rather than trails followed.

The combined route I called the Washington Traverse. A simple name, given more as a placeholder, yet survives as I lack a better term for it.

Back at my RV in the North Cascades, I cracked my door for a weather report, parroting all local weather men’s favorite forecasts by saying, “Today will be mostly cloudy with a chance of scattered showers.”

Over the next hour, I stashed my mountain bike on Twin Lakes Road and drove to Goat Mountain trailhead. Both ways I was white-knuckled. My home-on-wheels wasn’t built for such a wet, tree-strewn and potentially snowed-in road.

A half an hour later, shoulders heavy with gear, I set out alone. On every other leg of my journey, I’d had partners along. Given that another dreary week of weather was bookended by similarly weather-challenged weeks, which together stretched into months, I can’t fault the fact that no one wanted to join me on yet another wet adventure.

With a snow line a few miles distant, it was up to memory to entertain. Recollections that stretched southward through space and time, back to when ghosts of fog on Fortress Mountain broke apart only to have a Brocken spectre appear. Or when the northeast face of Mount Fury glowed in beams of starlight like an ancient

spaceship preparing to take flight. Or when, farther south, thunderclouds spilled over the horizon atop Glacier Peak and the ambient power in the air sizzled and buzzed across our metal equipment and stood our hair on end. Or the quaint moments, such as when a rainbow framed the McAllister Glacier, or when my friend Kyle Miller argued with a marmot. Or when my brothers followed me through two days bushwhacking only to reach Bridge Creek, a short way from the road, to read a sign that declared that “The bridge is out, bushwhack at least one day to reach the road.” Or that time on Mt. Challenger during a long nap on Perfect Pass when I sunburned my feet so badly that they tore completely open, scabbing from toe to ankle, and since I’d lost my shoes on Mineral Mountain, I was forced to walk 20 miles of dry trail in my ski boots.

Memories compass spun in circles as I returned to my first ski traverse. In the late ’80s my father, Kurt Hummel, became the founding president of the Mt. Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA). It was during a series of adventures that he, in order to get government funding, needed to prove the feasibility of creating a ski trail. As such, he conceived a weeklong ski traverse from Golden Lakes to the end of West Side Road where it meets the Paradise Road.

There are many stories from that first ski traverse. Snow, forest and trees. Frozen lakes. Sharp blue skies that only winter shapes. The endless everything coated in white. The paths blazed. This all planted a seed.

And the seed bore fruit.

Back in the present, I reached continuous snow on Goat Mountain and comically, I sighted goat tracks and

followed them to the summit. Scanning the horizon, I could see the end, the Canadian border. Just then, sunlight broke through thick and heavy clouds. Like a top hat, I swung this way and that way, snapping pho tos like a fish does flies.

My skis on, the slurry of snow before me swung out from every turn, slowly avalanch ing. At the base of Winchester Mountain, I went to shelter under a tree from the con stant rain, but soon realized there was no escape. Hood pulled up, I contemplated my next move. Usually I climb a couloir to the top of Winchester Mountain, but soupy snow gave me pause. When I did summon the courage to leave, the rain pushed me back. “It’ll get better,” I grumbled, so I wait ed. Two more times I was repelled. Finally growling, “To hell with it” I set off, fingers crossed for improved weather the following day. Most certainly they’ve gotten it right just this once (because didn’t you know that weathermen are the unsung heroes, like accountants, lawyers, cops and insurance agents, at least when they are on your side).

Fresh bear tracks took me to the top of Winchester and the old fire lookout. Broken boards and torn out nails greeted me. I’d like to say it was the bear, but it looked like hu mans had torn the storm door apart, so they could gain entry. The actual door was open, and snow filled the entire structure. Such carelessness broke my heart.

Come morning, a bright smile from a long lost friend grew and shone. “Hello Sun. Kick your shoes off. Stay awhile.”

Since I was going on a day trip to the border and back, I broke camp and moved everything down the mountain to a lower pass, where I stashed it. Suddenly lighter and gravity in my favor, I pointed ski tips to the valley and, suddenly, found myself laughing. Why? Because the snow was so bad. I’ve skied bad snow. I know what bad is and, this, (in all directions) was so very bad. Even with every skill initiated, I only avoided disaster in my descent through the icy crust by curving my trajectory up the southern wall of a small vale.

Another rise and descent brought me to another good viewpoint. That day's snow wasn’t as unstable as I expected. Incom ing haze and clouds, along with a breeze, helped. Better yet, I saw a low route I could take on my return that mitigated my risk of slides. Even though an earlier shedding brought much of the snow down two days earlier, there was hangfire on those slopes.

The compass pointed due north. Any magnetic disturbances ceased: Avalanches, snow conditions, route finding, etc. were all a go. Indecision was overwritten by forward motion.

Hours of slogging with a capital “S” were my reward. Every single step felt like I was towing the entirety of my grand traverse along for the ride.

A corniced ridgeline gave way to gentle slopes. No force field was in evidence. Just a loneliness as real on one side of the Ca nadian boundary as the other. A moment to me as big and bursting with excitement, but without the fireworks. I celebrated with a quiet smile, and sadness, as the way had

been fulfilling and rich in memory, the greatest of treasures. Twenty one years is a long time, long enough for a child to be come a man once more, and I’d changed much in these many years.

With regret, I slid back over the ridge. The wind picked up and the forest oooed and ahhhed. Washington’s spring quartet in con cert just for me? Home is where the heart is, so they say.

The inevitable regress suddenly flew by. Snow felt light and fluffy, legs of jelly grew strong, and wind was at my back, pushing me forward. One climb after another, bowls and cirques, slopes and forests fell behind me until, at last, I’d come full circle.

Cold and clouds hung over me as I packed my overnight gear. From the col below Win chester’s summit, I cast my eyes northward. I took a moment, a sliver of time carved from reality. Much like a photograph, they are taken, except with emotion and soul included. I snapped one here and put it in my mental album. After, I turned my skis downslope.

The last big descent of my trip was a 2,000-foot couloir. Another laugh escaped me when I dirted-out at a waterfall midway through. Thrill dashed on the rocks like my skis, and I left as much P-tex behind on the lower half of the line as the upper half. No ski of mine is new and shiny for long.

At Twin Lakes Road miles passed on snow that at times felt like it was impersonating gravel. There was enough pollen to coat my skis in a thickened tar-like consistency that I’d hardly have needed skins to climb at all. Not so good for the way down, sadly.

After three or four miles on Twin Lakes Road I bashed through the woods to where my bike was hidden. With a ski-endowed pack, I raced down the road like a galloping elk. Wind in my face, speed faster than any skiing I’d had in days, and then there it was — that smile. That thrill engaged me. Most excellent the finish line is when you’ve the wings of success to carry you forward.

Way too fast and far too reckless, I reached Highway 542. Drivers must’ve taken a few looks at me and wondered, “Why?” I’m a skier, and I would’ve asked myself as much. Taking a left after a quarter of a mile was a relief; I was back on gravel and out of eyesight. Only then, in my peripheral vision, a movement caught my eye. Suddenly a bear and I were mere feet apart, facing off. I stopped, cast my eyes downward, and slowly backed around the corner. Two thinking creatures, only one of us a king of the forest. I’ll stick to the glaciers and we’ll be square, right?

While I was standing there, miles from snow or my RV, I pulled out that proverbial compass that had taken me through decades and miles, and wondered where I’d point it next. There are a few givens in life. Among them are these: Happiness is made, life’s speedometer has no governor and adven ture is contrived. And the constant is now. You have to get out there and start walking to wherever your compass points. When I opened my fridge and cracked a beer at my RV, I found that my easy chair was the last bearing I’d take on this day. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 15

LessMorePain,Gain

Two-time Everest summiteer shares training tips for long, strenuous climbs and other endurance activity

Before I learned about proper endurance training and started working as a coach for mountain athletes, I subscribed to the saying, “No pain, no gain.” In 2012, when I was preparing for my sec ond ascent of Mt. Everest, my goal in the gym was to make getting out of bed the next morning an excruciating ordeal. I believed core workouts should leave me feeling like I needed an appendectomy and cardio efforts were ineffec tive unless I pushed myself to the point of puking. If work outs didn’t hurt, I wasn’t getting stronger.

After three months of HIIT (high-intensity interval train ing) and Olympic-style weightlifting, my body started look ing stronger than it ever had. I was living in Salt Lake City at the time and one reason I liked these workouts was that I could complete them in less than an hour and still have time to ride chairlifts at Snowbird or go to the bouldering gym, two activities that contributed little to the fitness pro file I would need to summit Everest. Still, it felt like I was training extremely hard, much harder than I had for my first expedition to Everest.

Most of my workouts the first time were long hikes and slow jogs. I hiked local trails, sometimes unweighted and sometimes carrying a backpack full of books. I jogged around town and occasionally sprinted as fast as I could up a long set of outdoor stairs. I did push-ups, pull-ups and situps twice per week. I climbed volcanos in the Cascades and visited Colorado to hike at higher altitudes and ice climb in the winter.

Knowing what I know now about endurance physiology, it’s no surprise that I ended up performing better on the first expedition. I had extra gas in the tank during each phase of the ascent, which isn’t to say it was easy; it was the hardest thing I had ever done. But I never reached my true physi cal limit. Even on summit day, I charged up the final slope,

pushing to a max heart rate just to see how it felt at over 29,000 feet. By contrast, my gas tank was often empty during my second expedition, and although I did reach the summit, I didn’t possess the fitness reserves to do anything beyond getting myself up and down alive.

Training for Everest is fundamentally the same process as training for Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier or any other similar peak. Climbing big mountains requires an athlete to sustain mod erate energy outputs for days, weeks or months on end. It was foolish and shortsighted of me to think I could develop this type of fitness with 45-minute CrossFit workouts. Effec tive training, like the event itself, requires much more patience.

The foundation for en durance is your aerobic ca pacity. Moving the human body requires the contrac tion of muscles, and the energy for this contraction derives from two metabolic pathways: Aerobic and an aerobic. In a nutshell, aero bic metabolism depends on oxygen and fat to fuel long, sustained efforts, while an aerobic metabolism does not require oxygen and is fueled by glycolysis to pro duce short, high-intensity outputs. Both pathways can be trained, but they gener ally develop in inverse to each other. Training the

aerobic pathway tends to diminish the anaerobic pathway, and vice versa, which is why you don’t see marathon runners built like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Improving aerobic capacity will benefit all types of endur ance athletes and provide the physiological foundation for higher speed, power and intensity. Aerobic capacity supports your ability to kick past a competitor in the final lap of a race or bound up a mountainside with a heavy backpack. It also helps you recover quicker from workouts, even high-inten sity ones.

The only sure-fire way to develop your aerobic capacity is

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The writer, Leif Whittaker, at the "top of the bottom of the world," summit of Mt. Vinson, Antarctica. Dave Hahn photo Climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest in 2010, less than 100 vertical feet from the top. Michael Brown photo
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to do a lot of low-intensity aerobic work, at or below your aerobic threshold. Tests and formulas can help you identify the exact heart rate for your aerobic threshold. The gist is that aerobic training must be done at what an athlete per ceives to be an easy effort, where breathing is comfortable, and they could go much longer if required. The trick then becomes to add consistency and volume, meaning daily sessions of gradually increasing duration. Some of the top endurance athletes in the world log more than 20 hours per week of training, with 80-95 percent of that done at low or moderate intensities. There are no shortcuts; you simply must put in the time on the trails, streets, treadmill or stair machine.

Once an aerobic base has been laid, athletes can begin to add other key fitness components, such as max strength

and muscular endurance. However, even in the later stages of a training plan, high-intensity work should be infrequent and always counterbalanced with easy aerobic sessions.

When I learned about these concepts from famed coach, Scott Johnston, it was a revelation to me. Workouts them selves were less painful and I hopped smoothly out of bed each morning, ready for more training. Best of all, I made significant gains while avoiding injury.

As a coach for mountain athletes of all abilities, I fre quently push back against the idea that training should hurt. Cultural influences such as film and social media lead us to believe that exhausting workouts result in instant rewards. This may be true for a short time, but too much high-intensity training always leads to overtraining, burn out or injury. Because this type of training is so difficult,

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Leif Whittaker and his rope team ascend the Cathedral Glacier on Mt. Kennedy in the Canadian Yukon. Eric Becker photo Skinning toward the car on the last day of the Wapta Traverse, a hut-to-hut ski tour in the Canadian Rockies. Freya Fennwood photo

both physically and mentally, few people can maintain it long-term. Beyond that, doing burpees and 100-meter sprints simply isn’t going to help you climb for 12 straight hours on your summit day. The human body has an amazing ability to adapt, but it doesn’t happen overnight, no matter how hard you push it. The best athletes are those who, over the course

of months and years, have consistent ly contributed to their fitness profiles, building themselves up with achievable incremental steps.

If you’re training for an upcoming summer climb or endurance event, I encourage you to start now and take a gradual approach. The best thing you can do also happens to be the most en joyable: Get outside on a local trail and settle into a pace you can maintain the entire day; breathe the fresh alpine air and listen to the birdsongs; and if you happen to forget you are training, that means you’re probably doing it right. x

Leif Whittaker is a coach, author, speaker and former climbing ranger for the U.S. Forest Service on Mt. Baker. He is a founding member of Evoke Endurance. More about him and his coaching can be found at www.evokeendurance.com.

Enjoying a clear day on the summit of Mt. Baker. Freya Fennwood photo

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 19
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Backcountry Communication

In the old days if there was an accident in the backcoun try, the general thinking was that you would send a run ner out to call for help. Often it would be several hours until a message made its way to the authorities that there was an incident in the mountains. Following that, it would be several more hours until anyone came to assist.

In the old days, Bellingham Mountain Rescue didn’t have radios or GPS units, cell phones or satellite messaging sys tems. No. Instead, to communicate they found a lost person or a mission was over, they would shoot fireworks into the sky and hope other rescuers got the message.

As time progressed, guides and SAR teams began to carry radios, then satellite phones, then cell phones, and then finally, satellite messaging systems (e.g. Garmin inReach). It’s uncommon in this era for a mountain professional not to have multiple means of communication. Indeed, professional guides generally use the PACE acronym to define their communication strategy in their backcountry

risk management plan.

In backcountry communication, PACE stands for Pre ferred, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. At the American Alpine Institute we employ this in a way that could be educational for recreational backcountry users:

American Alpine Institute PACE backcountry communication plan

Preferred: Satellite messaging system — Guides will com municate with the office (other guides, rescuers, etc.) via their satellite messaging system. The problem with these sys tems is that the messages often have lag times. And if your device is old, or you haven’t updated your software in recent months, it can sometimes take a long time to get a message out.

Alternate: Cell phone — As we all know, cell phone ser vice can be spotty. However, sometimes a cell phone in the backcountry will be able to send and receive texts. Often a

phone without service will still work on 911, as these calls are prioritized on all telecommunications platforms.

Contingency: Radio — Radios tend to be best when they operate within sight of one another. A UHF/VHF radio can work in an emergency if you’re high and you’ve obtained a HAM radio license. But, it should be noted that a UHF/VHF radio is not a cell phone and requires practice to use effec tively. You do not learn how to use one of these radios in a HAM radio licensing class. It’s something you have to put time and effort into.

Emergency: Runner — Sending a runner is the old school technique noted earlier. If you elect to send a runner for help, make sure that you send as much information as possible. This should include why you need help, your location, what you need and your current evacuation plan.

The very first item on this list is the satellite messaging sys tem. Though these have a tracking feature, many don’t use it because they’re concerned about battery life.

Over the last few years, there has been an uptick in solo backcountry travelers that carry satellite messaging systems for emergencies. The idea is that they would trigger an SOS call if something went wrong. The problem is that sometimes the thing that went wrong was so catastrophic they were not able to trigger such a call. This has, unfortunately, resulted in a handful of cases where people went missing and were not found in the days immediately after, and sometimes not at all…

If you’re on a solo adventure in the backcountry, it is now considered a best practice to track your travel on your mes saging system. This means that your loved ones can see a digital breadcrumb track as you travel. It also means that rescuers will still be able to find you if something goes cat astrophically wrong and you are not able to trigger an SOS.

Cell phones are slowly becoming more and more reliable in the backcountry. Obviously, cell phone service providers are always competing with one another. One of the ways they do this is by building more towers, which in turn, offers more service. Historically, Verizon has been the best provider for mountain travelers in the Pacific Northwest.

But change is coming.

In August, Elon Musk announced that his Starlink satellite

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A member of the Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council uses a Garmin Reach Mini to communicate. Ben Groenhout photo
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internet network was teaming up with T-Mobile to launch a project called “Coverage Above and Beyond.” This project will allow limited cell service — mostly text-based service — in every dead zone in North America.

This new service is supposed to be available sometime in 2023. However, the current Star link network was not designed with cell coverage in mind. In order for this to work, new satellites with special antennae will need to launch. It is possible that, between the number of new satellites required and the fragile nature of the technology, it could be awhile until this system is truly online.

Similarly, the newest iPhone — the iPhone 14 — has a feature called the “Emergency SOS via Satellite.” This feature allows you to connect directly to a satellite in the same way that a satellite messaging system works to call for help. But, unlike the Starlink system, there is no preferred provider network.

The iPhone emergency feature launched in November. As such, it’s not yet clear how well it works. It may take some time before rescue teams get calls through this system. And it may take yet more time for Apple to work out the inevitable kinks.

The world of backcountry communication is continuing to evolve. Every day it gets easier to ensure that you can check in or call for help from a remote place. But the ability to call for help should never take the place of sound judgment. Backcountry travel, backcountry skiing, mountaineering and alpine climbing are dangerous sports. The ability to communicate with the outside world should never take precedence over caution in backcountry settings. x

A rescuer communicates with a helicopter via radio during a search and rescue mission at Baker Lake. Ben Groenhout photo
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WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 23 GALLERY
Counterclockwise from top left: James Heim late to class. Grant Gunderson photo | Peter "PJ" Moran measures about a 15-foot crown from helicopter avalanche control work. Grant Gunderson photo | Pete Devries heading home after a novelty surf across the highway at his home break in Tofino, BC. Marcus Paladino photo | A snowy White Salmon Base Area. Evan Skoczenski photo | Cole Richardson over the Baker. Grant Gunderson photo | Noah Cohen managed to throw the fins and keep warm on this cold winter day at Cox Bay. Marcus Paladino photo | Zack Giffin skiing at Mt. Baker in 2011. Grant Gunderson photo
24 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23
MountBakerExperience.com
Clockwise from top left: Mt. Baker Pro Patrol heading out for an early morning of avalanche control. Grant Gunderson photo | Sam Cohen, McKenna Peterson and guide Monte Johnston heli-skiing in Bella Coola, B.C. Grant Gunderson photo | Alex Ropka skiing above the clouds. Grant Gunderson photo | Ben Johnson, dawn patrol on the Coleman Glacier. Matthew Tangeman photo | Jon Roy splicing the haul rope on Chair 3 and 4 at Mt. Baker Ski Area. Grant Gunderson photo
WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 25 GALLERY
26 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com
Clockwise from top left: Chair 1 and the chute at Mt. Baker Ski Area on a deep snow year. Grant Gunderson photo | Jon Hansen biking Cutthroat Trail west of Mazama. Grant Gunderson photo | Micah Evangelista and Sophia Rouches on a dawn patrol ski tour at Mt. Baker. Grant Gunderson photo | Misty forest in North Cascades National Park. Matthew Tangeman photo | Nooksack River above Nooksack Falls after a heavy snowfall. Brett Baunton photo | Sam Cohen skiing with Bella Coola Heli Sports in B.C. Grant Gunderson photo
WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 27 GALLERY

The mission of the Northwest Avalanche Center exists to increase avalanche awareness, reduce avalanche impacts, and equip the community with mountain weather and avalanche forecasts, education and data.

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Thank you for your support! Northwest Avalanche Center
Thank you to the businesses and individuals that donated prizes and purchased raffle tickets at the fundraiser for Northwest Avalanche Center at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham on October 20.
LEIF WHITTAKER My Old Man and the Mountain
HEL I O T R O PE HOTEL BELLINGHAM WA G rant G underson PHOTOGRAPHY

Jeremy Jones: Shralpinism

Mountaineers Books

In “The Art of Shralpinism: Lessons from the Mounatins,” legendary snowboarder and cli mate activist Jeremy Jones has created an ele gant fusion of memoir, manifesto and mentor ship that is required reading for backcountry snow enthusiasts, but should also be given to every high school graduate.

Shralpinism, a portmanteau of shredding and alpin ism, is about balance, Jones writes in the prologue, a “mix of gusto and humility, fearlessness and fear, grit and sensitivity.” It is about an intimate connection to the mountains, knowing yourself and your partners, and a deep understanding of all things snow.

The main narrative takes us from Jones’ early years as a racer, through his career as the preeminent star in extreme snowboarding films, to his transition to foot-powered backcountry riding and emergence as a climate activist. Driving this evolution is his recurring mantra: Stagnation is not an option. When he sees himself losing the spirit of wonder and curiosity that animates his art, he finds an opportunity for growth.

Jones shares a lifetime of learning in under 300 pag es. Beyond sharing his own commitment to personal progression, Jones shares with readers how to grow their own skills as shralpinists. Lists and skill-build ing sections complete with hand-drawn diagrams tackle everything from turns to avalanche safety: gear, fitness, nutrition, mindset, backcountry camp ing, route planning, reading snow.

Throughout the book Jones shares the lessons he has learned along the way and the people from whom he learned them. There are frequent sidebars highlighting mountain guides, skiers, snowboarders, surfers and other athletes who have been his mentors, teachers, partners and friends.

He also tackles thornier issues like the difference

between healthy and unhealthy fear, minimizing risk while pushing the limits and the importance of being able to turn around. He writes about using language to establish for himself and his partners that plans will shift if conditions aren’t right by saying, “I’m going to take a look at the line,” instead of, “I’m going to ride the line.” Making it down safely is always the primary goal.

The heart of the book is Jones’ own artwork, poetry and journal excerpts. They are personal and intimate views of his passion for mountains and nature, close calls and razor-thin margins of error, and “white mo ments” of pure joy.

The exuberance is contagious. The close calls are chilling.

An excerpt from a seven-day trip in the Sierras, vivid and present enough to make you feel mountain air in your lungs, ends with “sucked every last drop of marrow out of the day.” Aaaaah … His descrip tion of a nearly disastrous descent of the Tusk in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska has his brother quietly saying, “I don’t know about that,” over the radio after Jones squeaks a high-speed heel turn out of the path of sluff crashing toward a cliff below. Aaak!

Jones has seen the effects of climate change first hand, especially in Alaska where 25 years ago he found his place to break new ground. He has seen rain falling on a mountaintop in January in his home range, the Sierras. “The mountains are changing,” he writes. He formed nonprofit Protect Our Winters in 2007 with the goal of creating an “Outdoor State,” unifying the millions worldwide who treasure out door recreation to take action on climate change with their voices, and their votes. One percent of the sales of “The Art of Shralpinism” will benefit Protect Our Winters. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 29
Jeremy Jones, l., and pro snowboarder Hana Beaman speaking at a book reading at Sehome High School hosted by Village Books. Andrew Grubb photo

Book reviews

A Field Companion for Wandering Written and Compiled

Winter Texts

“Read this book how ever you like, it is yours,” starts you on your journey with “A Field Companion for Wandering,” a pock et-sized ode to adventur ing and discovering from Winter texts, a small inde pendent publisher in Port Townsend, Washington.

Conner Bouchard-Rob erts is a master anthologist as well as an author and poet and the founder of Winter texts. From packing your bags to coming home, he has skillfully combined his own stories and poems with bits of advice, thoughts on paths and destinations, and a carefully curated collection of some of the best written about exploring. He describes it as “a book for being lost on real and imagined borders.”

It can be read from cover to cover in a tent in the snow, or dipped into for a quick read at a bus stop.

This is a new edition of the book, with the previous edition be ing handed out to people Bouchard-Roberts met while hitchhiking from Bangkok to Penang. He still distributes Winter texts books by hand, and we are always glad to see his little white van pull up outside the store.

TWO FOR MUSHROOMS

Fruits of the Forest Daniel Winkler

There are a lot of books about mushrooms, but Daniel Winkler’s new book fills a hole. It’s focused on edible mushrooms in the Pacific North west, giving local foragers of any experience level the tools to safely identi fy, responsibly harvest, store and cook the tasty fungal treats that flourish in our fields and forests.

The first section of the book familiarizes readers on how to use their senses to examine a mushroom, looking at its shape and spore-bearing tissue, feeling its surface, smelling and even tasting (but not swallowing!). It familiarizes new mushroom hunters with where and how to forage, or not to, as well as picking, cleaning and preserving tips. A list of 14 easy-to-identify mushrooms that make a good starting point for novices is included, as well as frequent reiterations of the golden rule: “Never eat a mushroom you cannot identify with absolute certainty.”

The meat of the guide is the mushrooms themselves, with iden tification information for 170 edible mushrooms, including identi fication information, potential lookalikes, photographs, and icons to alert to questionable edibility or the potential need for special preparation. Each group (such as the morels, or the boletes) has in formation about processing and cooking that type of mushroom.

At the end of the book is a goldmine of recipes, including bolete butter, mushroom jerky and a sturdy collection of unusual soups, main dishes and even desserts.

Winkler also includes information about resources to broaden your knowledge, including mycological societies, other field guides, his own Mushroaming website and priceless online tools and apps.

Mushroom Logbook Mountaineers Books

Nothing will grow your skills as a mushroom forager better than keeping good notes, and this logbook from Mountaineers Books is just the ticket to keep all your foraging notes in one place and make sure you keep track of all the relevant info.

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TWO FOR FALL FOLIAGE

Fall Color Hikes Washington

Tami Asars

Mountaineers Books

Fall is my favorite time of year to hike. Seize a cool, bright day and enjoy uncrowd ed trails and searingly beautiful colors as the trees and shrubs blaze their way toward winter. Some of the higher trails may be in wintry conditions by November but the guide has plenty of lower elevation hikes to squeeze every last drop out of fall hiking. Opening with a map to localize the 45 hikes it describes, this new guide pulls together information about access, elevation and distance, dog and kid friendliness, amenities passes and what Green Trails map you’ll need. Along with the trail de scription, you also get information about what kind of foliage distinguishes the hike. There is also a basic trail map with each hike.

Leaf Peeping

This tiny informative guide to fall foliage starts with a history of foliage fancy, discusses why leaves change color in the fall, the ecological role of falling leaves and how climate change is impacting our deciduous trees. In formation is included about where to find the best fall foliage across North America and around the world, as well as information about common de ciduous trees that change color in the fall as they prepare to shed their leaves for winter. As a bonus, there is a leaf peeping meditation to help you be present and connected to the forest in fall. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 31
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Elevated Backcountry

Snowmobile company brings avalanche education to Baker area

The Mt. Baker area will have its own snowmo bile-specific education outfit this season.

Elevated Backcountry offers beginner to ad vanced-level sled riders avalanche training and skills courses. Co-founder Jeff Hambelton, who brought the group together, started teaching avalanche courses at Mt. Baker Ski Area in 1999. He bought his first snowmobile in 2007. Since then, he said snowmobiling has gradually taken up all his mountain travel. He’s been teach ing snowmobile-specific courses for nine seasons.

Hambelton said the Mt. Baker area lacks snowmobile edu cation. In forming Elevated Backcountry, he said he saw an opportunity to provide a service to the Baker community

“We recognize that if you’re a skier or snowboarder there’s a dozen different ways to get avalanche education,” Ham belton said. “As a snowmobiler, that just doesn’t exist.”

Having formed around the beginning of last winter, this

will be the company’s second full season.

While Elevated Backcountry will offer avalanche and skills courses this winter, Hambelton and co-founder Pat Kennedy said they do not plan to offer guiding, for two reasons. One is that the Mt. Baker area is small compared to other areas like B.C. and the Rocky Mountains that are more expansive. The other reason is that they want to equip riders with the neces sary skills to lead their own adventures in the backcountry.

“We recognize that being out in the mountains is a self-di rected adventure,” Hambelton said. “And we want to encour age that. It’s the skills behind that we are most motivated in pushing.”

Kennedy also said that there’s just not enough terrain to offer outstanding guided adventures, but plenty to run ava lanche and skills courses.

Avalanche courses offered include a rescue course and American Institute for Avalanche Research Education

(AIARE) level 1 and level 2 courses. The rescue course is one day and goes over gear and how to use it rescue scenarios. AIARE 1 are 24-hour courses with two-day in the field de signed as an introduction to snowpack, understanding ter rain and mitigating avalanche risk. AIARE 2 will advance that knowledge into developing leadership decision-making and more advanced rescue skills. The level 1 and 2 cours es include about eight hours of online instruction and selfstudy.

Kennedy said snowmobile avalanche education varies from ski or snowboard education in two different areas: travel observations and rescue. Since snowmobiles can cover much more terrain in a day, Kennedy said decisions have to be much quicker than on foot.

“A lot of what is taught in travel observations for skiers and snowboarders is different than what you would teach some body on a snowmobile,” he said. “Because they’ve got an en

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gine running, they may be moving 50-60 mph over the snow.”

Similarly, Kennedy said the sled can be used as an efficient tool in rescue scenarios, which requires different training.

Hambelton added that the avalanche knowledge is still the same, but it’s about making it relevant while on a snowmobile. He said avalanche training and skills courses are available December through March.

Elevated Backcountry is made up of co-founders Hambelton, Pat Kennedy and Kelsey and Joey Fay. Hambelton is a 20-year avalanche instructor who has worked for multiple local backcountry companies and the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC). Kennedy similarly has taught courses for NWAC, Baker Mountain Guides and American Alpine Institute and been snowmobiling since the late ‘90s. Kelsey and Joey are professional snowboarders, both with over 15 years of snowmobile experience in the backcountry. Kelsey taught avalanche education in lower B.C. for five years before moving to Washington.

Kelsey and Joey turned to avalanche education when they lost a close friend in an avalanche accident in the Mt. Baker area three years ago. Most people who get into avalanche education and are passionate about it have a similar story to tell, Kennedy said.

Hambelton and Kelsey met through an AIARE instructor-training course that Hambelton was instructing and Kesley was taking. Hambelton and Kennedy have known each other for years. The three of them will be instructing the avalanche courses. Kelsey and Joey are mar ried and met as pro snowmobilers. Joey, who is getting his instructor qualifications this sea son, will help instruct the skills courses.

Elevated Backcountry has two ranges of skills courses, distinguished for beginner and inter mediate riders and advanced riders.

“When you’re just starting out with snowmobiling, it’s a super intimidating machine. It’s super powerful and feels unpredictable,” Hambelton said. “For the intermediate rider, it’s about opening up new terrain and being able to get beyond trail, and into deeper and more aggressive terrain.”

They have professional snowmobiler and longtime instructor Aaron Roesler coming out to Baker to teach some of the advanced skills courses on Presidents’ Day, February 20, 2023, weekend, Hambelton said.

He also said the terrain in the Baker area is difficult for beginner and intermediate riders. The south side of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has terrain suited for beginners, Hambelton said. Due to low elevation, it can struggle to get enough snowpack.

Both Hambelton and Kennedy live in Maple Falls and said they often go up to B.C. to ride. They have also snowmobiled in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.

Hambelton said doing something in the avalanche education industry on your own is diffi cult, and Whatcom County doesn’t have snowmobile education available. He said the group came together through a collective mission.

“We came together as riders recognizing a common need in the community,” Hambelton said. “And have worked hard to establish a sustainable business.”

A sustainable business that could be around for years to come, he added. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 33
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Lowland hikes to explore in the winter months

With winter upon us, our hiking situation has changed. Snow in the Cascades makes access to many of our favorite trails inaccessible or into a snow sport. Short of strapping on some cross-country skis or snowshoes, Mt. Baker’s most iconic trails are cut off from a typical hike with the path buried deep below the snow’s surface. For those who like to get out and wear the trails out, this can be a challenging time of year while looking for other ways to stay active in our grayer months. Well, worry not. There are plenty of lowland options to get you through the winter. These three hiking areas offer easy access, a plethora of options and views to re ward the effort. With varying elevations, some may encounter a dusting of snow, but nothing like the regular dumping some of our higher hikes see. From the shores of our waterways to tucked away lakes, these options can give you that hiking fix while you wander the woods and discover perched-up views of our winter wonderland.

DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK

Distance: Two level hikes go along the water. Cranberry Lake Trail is approximately 1.5 miles from the welcome station to West Point. From there, the North Beach Trail is .9 miles before another approximately .5 miles up to De ception Pass Bridge.

Access: Take I-5 exit 230 and head west on Highway 20 for 17 miles. You can’t miss it when you hit Deception Pass.

The gateway to Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, is known for its stunning view while crossing the bridges on either side of Pass Island, but what often goes unnoticed is the miles and miles of trails the state park has to offer.

The network of trails on either side of Highway 20 winds you through coastal forests and along beaches lapped by fresh and saltwater alike. While there is some up-anddown terrain, most of the hiking is moderate to easy, with the strenuousness of the hike determined by the distance.

On the Whidbey Island side of the park from the northern point, you start with views of Deception Pass and can walk on the bridge. This parking lot is often busy, but there are other parking lots to go to farther in the park. Heading

east on the Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, you can get a high view of Cornet Bay.

The trail system on the east side of the highway will lead you to the quarry pond and eventually all the way around until you reach the highway again. On the west side of the highway, you will be greeted by Cranberry Lake, which has its own set of trails offering views of the lakes and access to campgrounds. A sliver of land separates the westerly part of the lake before you reach the salt water. From here, you can once again test out part of the Pacific Northwest Trail or, depending on the tide, walk right along the beach.

Looping around the west point, you will be back on North Beach with a clear view of Deception Pass and the bridges above. Eventually, a winding trail will lead you back up to the parking lot and bridge. With miles of trails and beaches to walk, this essentially sea-level hike can be a long day of exploring every nook and cranny or multiple trips to discover something new.

Guide and photos by Tony Moceri

SQUIRES LAKE AND THE ALGER ALPS

Distance: Squires Lake Loop – From the parking lot to Squires Lake is .3 miles of moderate uphill before reaching the 1.1 mile loop around the lake.

Alger Alps from Alger Cain Lake Road – With 1,150 feet of elevation gain, this 4.4 mile round trip hike will get you up to a height of 1,272 feet.

Access: Squires Lake parking lot – Take I-5 exit 242 and turn east on Nulle Road. Nulle Road will loop around and turn into Old Highway 99. From that point, you have .3 miles and the parking lot will be on your left.

Alger Alps South Route – Go past the Squires Lake parking lot and turn left onto Alger Cain Lake Road. From there, the U.S. Forest Service will be on your left-hand side in .25 miles.

There is a network of trails in Alger that can have you wandering in the woods for hours, or you can bite off smaller pieces at a time. Squires Lake, lo cated off Old Hwy 99, has a parking lot at the base of a winding trail leading up to the lake itself. At this point, there are a series of loops that can be done depending on how much of a hike you want.

The larger loop around the lake provides views of the lake from most points of the trail. A couple of other loops give you more time amongst the trees or up to a beaver pond.

If you are in for a little more elevation gain, you can continue past the beaver dam trail and head up toward the Alger Alps. This is a steep trail leading to an overlook where you can see all the way to the bay. This is an out-and-back hike unless you leave a car or bike at the other access point to the trail sys tem. There is no parking lot, but with ample shoul der to pull off, you can leave a vehicle on Alger Cain Lake Road to make this a potential thru-hike. From the Alger Cain Lake side, you begin by walking up a logging road past a few homes before being fully immersed in the woods. This route is a steady uphill without alternative routes until it reaches the junction from Squires Lake. If you do choose to do the thru-hike, you can pride yourself in knowing you did a piece of the Pacific North west Trail, which is a 1,200-mile trail from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean in Olympic Na tional Park.

LITTLE MOUNTAIN PARK

Distance: From the entrance of the park to the upper viewpoint is 1.5 miles with 934 feet of ele vation gain. The park is made up of a series of short trails ranging from the Bonnie & Clyde Trail of one mile down to the Viewpoint Walkway Trail of .05 miles, which is ADA accessible. In total there are 10.13 miles of hiking-only and multi-use trails. The park also includes mountain bike-only trails.

Access: From I-5, take exit 225 in Mount Vernon and head east on Anderson Road. Anderson Road turns into South Laventure Road. When you reach E Blackburn Road, turn right then turn right on Little Mountain Road and head up the hill until you reach the park entrance.

Little Mountain Park is only little in name. East of I-5 in Mount Vernon, this park, while at nearly 1,000 feet, should be free of snow most of the year. From paved paths to winding trails, this moun tain is a choose-your-own hiking adventure. Parking at the base will provide a good climb, sure to get the heart rate up and the muscles burning.

If you choose to drive to the top of the paved road, the upper parking lot offers outlooks accessible to everyone. While you may have some company, the outlooks on opposite sides of the mountain of fer differing views of Skagit Valley all the way to the water. Meandering trails along ridges provide dif ferent perspectives and a little more solitude as you wander through the trees, occasionally discovering new spots to peak out. The cell phone tower can seem like the end but push on past to find another network of trails.

There are ample parking and excellent maps to help you plan out where to go and how much dis tance to travel. I took a picture of the map so that I could pull it up while wandering around. Paths crisscross a bit, and some go on and on while oth ers abruptly tie into another route. At one point, slightly turned around, I asked who looked like an experienced Little Mountain Park hiker where to go, and he was happy to lay out my options for dif ferent paths. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 35

New research published by Western Washington Uni versity’s Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI) shows cross-border news sources and advocacy groups’ impact on efforts to prevent mining in the Skagit River headwaters.

Derek Moscato, BPRI faculty fellow and associated pro fessor of journalism at Western, looked at media outlets’ — in Washington and B.C. — focus on the Skagit watershed due to B.C.-based Imperial Metals pending application since 2019 to gold mine in an area that became known as the “Donut Hole.”

Mount Baker Experience was one of the nine sources cit ed in the research.

The Donut Hole, which the Skagit River runs through before crossing into Washington, is a Manhattan-sized chunk of unprotected land in B.C. sandwiched between E.C. Manning Provincial Park and Skagit Valley Provincial

Park 15 miles from the U.S. border. It was subject to clear-cutting in 2018 but saved after an outpouring of public concern.

In January 2022, B.C. government announced it had halted mining in the Donut Hole following an agreement between it, Imperial Metals and Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission. The agree ment came after an international coalition of U.S. and Canadian stakeholders banded together to petition against the proposed mining. A total of 280 local and state governments, tribes, businesses and other communi ties downriver and in B.C. signed on against the pending mining contract.

Moscato finds in the research that media, environment groups and nonprofits on both sides of the border were an influential force in shaping public opinion and formed a

critical alliance.

“For policymakers, the Skagit River donut hole saga sug gests that such environmental media is increasingly stra tegic, fluid, and aligned with broader global discourses,” Moscato writes. “At the same time, for all involved parties it suggests the value of early and sustained public engage ment, media outreach, and cross-border dialogue.”

Mt. Baker Art Gallery

Local foothills artists now have a permanent space in which to showcase their work. The Mt. Baker Art Gallery, inside of the Mt. Baker Visitor Cen ter office in Maple Falls, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Currently the work of eight artists is on display, and for sale, ranging from fine woodwork ing, pottery, jewelry, photography and paintings to hats, cards and stickers. Now is the perfect time to check out the gallery for holiday gifts. For more info: mtbakerchamber.org/art-gallery

Other humble brags and shameless plugs…

Mount Baker Experience and its contributors won awards at Washing ton Newspaper Publishers Associa tion’s Better Newspaper Contest for special section covers and stories. Mount Baker Experience summer 2021 issue took first place in the spe cial section covers group with a pho to from photographer Matthew Tan geman. Judges wrote it was a great photo choice and everything worked well together with no distractions. Mount Baker Experience fall 2021 is sue followed up in third place with a photo from Grant Gunderson.

“This would have placed higher had the text been lowered rather than in the middle of the page,” judges

wrote. “That leaves an unbalance in the image with a lot of empty space on the bottom of the page.”

Apologies Grant. Thanks to all contributing photog raphers who send in photos, and spe cial thanks to designer Doug De Viss er, who makes each issue — front, middle and back — look oh so good.

Writer Nick Belcaster won first place environmental story category for his story on grizzly bear repopu lation efforts in the North Cascades. Editor Ian Haupt won first place in the personality profile for a feature on stand-up paddleboarder Karl Kruger planning to paddle 2,000 miles across the Arctic.

36 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com
Cross-border news sources impact Skagit headwaters mining threat, Mount Baker Experience cited as source in research
ADVENTURES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FREE SUMMER 2021 ROMANCING THE SEAS EVENTS ARE BACK! SUMMER HIKES SNORKELING ALASKA
Continued from page 12
Newsroom

Frozen gems

Blueberry-muffin sweetness of small, local ski areas

“Y

ou look familiar,” I tell the Loup Loup lifty.

“Did you have lunch in the lodge?”

He’s a platinum-haired gent like me, lean and weathered like the nearby trees, grinning mischievously. “Yep,” I reply, “a great bowl of chili.”

“Well, I served it to you. We all wear many hats here at the Loup. Now, heads up, ready steady…” He helps guide me skillfully to the center of the load platform as the resort’s qua druple chair swings around its turnstile to scoop me up un ceremoniously like the pickup man at a bronc riding event.

I’m sitting in the middle because there’s no one else ready to ride. In fact, there’s no one else in line. And when I get up top, there’s no one on the slope. Not even any stray chip munks.

It’s 2:30 p.m. at one of the Northwest’s best little community ski areas, between Winthrop and Omak, a fine and fabled representative of a long-overlooked corner of the downhill ski universe. “Ski the Loup!” is its slogan, a deliriously simple and effective mnemonic device that Madison Avenue could not improve. Loup Loup, by the way, is apparently French for “wolf wolf,” which is about as sticky as dust, and was as signed the area by French trappers a million years ago. They saw wolves, golly.

And why should you ski the Loup?

It’s got 1,240 feet of vertical, which seems shrinky com pared to the big boys (Whistler’s a mile; yes, one whole mile, its ads declare ostentatiously), but is plenty for a good, hard quick run. I once spent three days at one of the biggest re sorts in the upper Midwest, and I could knock off its lone 530-foot black diamond run in 42 seconds. So, everything’s relative, right? The Loup boasts 300 acres (that’s 227 football fields, folks), and deliciously dry powder, which, if it were a

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 37
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martini, would get a grin from Sean Connery.

The Loup has but 10 runs. A volunteer nonprofit ski education outfit runs it. Their names are sim ple country monikers such as, well, “Volunteer” and “Hugh’s,” and they don’t mean Hugh Grant. The lifts are the chair, the poma and the rope, and are nameless. I spend the afternoon on “Bulldog,” a delicious black diamond run with three inches of fresh powder, mostly untracked, rolling down a spruce glade.

I take breaks in the lodge, hefting my boots up on the raised stone hearth of the merry Ponderosa pine fire.

I get a cup of coffee and a muffin from Betty, who’s moonlighting from her day job as a children’s librarian.

The spiffiest vehicle in the parking lot is a new crimson Dodge Ram, so big it has its own elevation. No Porsches.

Designer wear is Carhartt.

I don’t have to dodge Rocket Man barreling down Bulldog at warp speed.

To say all this is laid-back sounds like faint praise, as if it’s blueberry-muffin skiing. Well, it is, but I get to run down Bulldog 10 times, experimentally trying out jump turns. Said blueberry muffin costs $3. Coffee, $2.

There are a dozen or so such areas in the Northwest, and they all offer a throwback style of outdoor recreation that is both charming and lots of fun. And because almost all of them are east of the Cascade crest, the snow is much lighter than fresh concrete, you’ll never ski through a puddle, and there’s a bright light in the southern sky you can use to see.

Personally, I favor the no-drama approach to ski ing.

At Mt. Hood Meadows, I actually skied down a broad intermediate run so mellow that I closed my eyes for a few seconds to enjoy the physical sensa tion of glissading. (No, your honor, I didn’t actually do that. I don’t know what the ski patrol is talking about.)

At 49 Degrees North, up from Spokane, eight inches of fresh powder allows my beginner/inter mediate companion to drift carefully down a black diamond run called Roller Coaster, which is apt ly named. “I skied a black diamond? Really?” she exclaims. It was broad and unthreatening enough that I could easily ski down while watching her from above.

At sun-splashed Anthony Lakes high in eastern Oregon (7,100 feet), the 30K of divine Nordic trails around the namesake lakes are as fine as sherbet, broad as a boulevard, and will cost you just $25 for a trail pass. Up above, the 8,000-foot downhill mountain has easy-going runs called Broadway, Variety, Holiday and Claude’s.

See how low-octane this all is? It harks back to a time when skiing’s only stratospheric spot was Sun Valley. In fact, years ago at a delightful little area up in B.C. called Crystal Mountain, I chuckled at a double chair so old it should have had historic designation, and while on it, called out to a fellow coming down on skis with cable bindings.

“Have you had those for 40 years?”

He tipped his cap. “Yep, found ‘em in the back of my garage last week.”

Alas, Crystal Mountain illustrates the temporal nature of these places. Most are open only four

38 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com
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days a week; volunteers do the work, or no one does; cash flow is a trickle, not a Whistlerian avalanche. B.C.’s Crystal closed in 2014 after a lift “deropement” sent a few riders to the hospital, and the area’s owners could not find the money for safety upgrades. The dream of resurrection still lives on in Kelowna; meanwhile, I think it’s worth heading

to these smaller areas just to keep alive a worthwhile facet of a sport that has otherwise grown as grandiose as Marvel Comics.

Whistler and Bachelor and the like are certainly thrilling. But while I can ski the longest intermediate run in North America at Whistler, I’ve never had Betty hand me a blue

berry muffin fresh out of the oven with midmorning cof fee, just in time for another training run down Bulldog. x

Eric Lucas lives on a small farm on San Juan Island, where he grows organic hay, beans, squash and apples. He never had skis with cable bindings, but his dad did.

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 39
49 degrees North Mountain Resort Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Freeskiing with the spirit of Elijah Lee

As the snow falls, Elijah, or Eli, trudges up the hill with his skis, alongside the other first chair fanatics. It’s still dark and the hoards of mountain lovers haven’t arrived. While they wait at Chair 5 for the ski area to open, they banter and scope out their lines. Meanwhile, Eli warms up his back and hamstrings by bending over and stretching his legs wide, preparing for his signature move, the spread eagle. The bombs drop, avalanches crack and the group shuffles back and forth to keep warm. Eli is surrounded by his community of skiers, all of them but one: The one he carries with him every time he skis, everywhere he goes.

Eli was five years old the first time he skied at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska. At the top of the Platter Pole run, he immedi

ately hit a jump, broke his femur and fell in love. After they splinted his leg in the first aid hut, his mother and he hitchhiked down the mountain to the hospital. Determined to learn how to ski, Eli spent the next 12 years in race programs in Alaska and Utah, often ditching school to hitchhike up the moun tain.

Eventually, all that skipping school and back talking to his teachers caught up with him in his senior year and he was kicked out of the ski program. Burned out from skiing, he turned to commercial fishing and traveling for a few years until he broke both of his wrists. Restless, unable to work with his hands, he took up skiing once again. The snowfall from the 1998-99 powder season, the shaped powder skis and hiking the back country reignited his passion. He entered his

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first freeskiing competition at Whistler Mountain around 1999. Contestants were judged on the line they chose, their execution and ski ability.

Standing at the starting gate, he learned that the area he had planned to ski was now closed so he needed to quickly adapt and choose a new line. Scattered, he fell, lost his ski forever and never finished the competition. He was hooked. For the next few years, he entered competitions around the world with his friend, Cody, and his brother, Tobias. Then disaster struck.

Eli lost his brother in an avalanche while touring in the backcountry of Mt. Baker. Although Toby’s death was incomprehensibly sad, Eli insists that what happened that day was not a trag edy: Toby died doing what he loved, on a beautiful day, with his ski boots on. From that day on, rather than skiing with his brother, he skied for his brother. Toby is with him wherever he goes.

Bullheaded, determined, Eli did not give up on skiing. He turned to his ski community for support and continued to compete for his brother and for himself. Tobias’ spirit may be what fueled Eli to become the 2009 Bulgarian Freeskiing champion. Since 2010, Eli has judged junior freeskiing competitions. At the end of each competition, he howls for his brother, in voking his spirit, sharing his love and passion for skiing with young skiers from all over the country.

These days, Eli can be found skiing the slopes with his daughter and wife or hiking the

Shuksan Arm with his friends. When he’s not skiing, he manages vacation rentals and plays competitive pickleball – his new passion. Whatever he does, he brings the determination and the lessons that he learned from skiing: Find something that you love and don’t give up. Find community to support you. Celebrate each other.

When the ski patrollers are done bombing and ski cutting, Eli loads Chair 5 and scopes his line. He treats Gabl’s like a competition — by being first chair, he will get the line he chooses. As he descends, he pops off cliffs, catches air and spread eagles at 48 years old. At the bottom, he celebrates his line, the storm, his community and the mountains. He’s won and Toby is with him, in him, beside him once again. TBL; Tobias Botkin Lee. The Beautiful Life. x

WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 41
John E Tack Construction General Contractor New Construction • Additions Remodels • Repairs (360) 410-6235 www.johnetackconstruction.com LIC# JOHNEET925KL We’re Here for You 24/7 • Protecting Your Financial Future Today www.KELLEYINSURE.com (360) 966-3732 103 West Main Street Everson, WA 98247 (360) 988-2462 617 Cherry Street Sumas, WA 98295 AUTO • HOME • HEALTH • LIFE • BUSINESS Auto & Residential Glass To Our Canadian Friends Enjoy Huge Savings with U.S. Prices Family Owned and Operated Since 1929! 1512 N. State St. Bellingham (360) 734-3840 407 19th St. Lynden (360) 354-3232 Windshield Replacement Free Pick up & Delivery 2011 Large Business of the Year Spring Special! Must present ad for special. Not valid with any other offers. Expires June 30, 2014. Dinner on Us and a Can of Glass Cleaner with every windshield purchased and installed Louis Auto Glass The Only Validated Auto Glass Company in Whatcom & Skagit Counties. We Guarantee Your Safety BELLINGHAM 1512 N. State St. • 360-734-3840 MOUNT VERNON 1721 E. College Way • 360-424-9759 LYNDEN 407 19th St. • 360-354-3232 www.LouisAutoGlass.com Family owned & operated for over 90 years. Come in and help us celebrate. SERVING WHATCOM, SKAGIT AND SNOHOMISH COUNTIES Doing it Right Since 1929! ouis’ 354-4471 or Toll Free 800-254-4471 Lynden 8450 Depot Rd. Mt. Vernon 420 Suzanne Lane Ferndale 5494 Barrett Rd. Northwest Propane LLC. is locally owned and operated and has been in business since 1947. We service Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and Island counties. In addition to delivering propane, we also stock propane parts, and sell tanks from 1 to 1,000 gallons. We take pride in our service and will help with all your propane needs. Proudly Serving Whatcom County for over 70 Years “Traditional Service Meeting Modern Needs.” Providing quality service for over 50 years to the community and beyond! Lic. # VALLEPE151BM • Residential • Commercial/Industrial • 24 hour service 910 W. Front St. • Sumas, WA 98295 360-988-9631 PLUMBING & HEATING 910 W. Front St. • Sumas, WA 98295 www.valleype.com www.valleype.com Come to the experts! Over 40 years of experience. 360-966-4444 411 NOOKSACK AVE. NOOKSACK, WA Nosotros hablamos español

EATS

ACME

ACME DINER

2045 Valley Highway 360/595-0150 acme-diner.com

Located 25 miles east of Bellingham. Family owned restaurant serving Diner classics, breakfast all day, homemade pies and daily dinner specials. All our patties are hand-formed and meats are cooked and sliced in-house. Full bar.

BLAINE

DRAYTON HARBOR OYSTER CO.

685 Peace Portal Drive 360/656-5958 draytonharboroysters.com

Long Local Tap List & Global Wines Tide-to-Table Oysters

Cozy Atmosphere | Beautiful Sunsets Dine-In, Take-Out, Shuck-at-Home

GATEWAY 1890 TAPHOUSE & GRILL

429 Peace Portal Drive 360/933-4818 gateway1890taphouse-grill.com

The place in Blaine for Fish & Chips. Burgers, salads, starters and more, 20 beers on tap along with 50 international bottled beers. Spirits, wine and ciders. All ages welcome.

DIAMOND JIM’S GRILL

2400 Meridian Street 360/734-8687 diamondjimsgrill.com

Local diner serving breakfast & lunch. We’ve been making our popular 10” pancakes in Bellingham since April Fool’s Day of 1998. Order online for take out & delivery, open Thurs - Mon 7 am to 2 pm.

TWIN SISTERS BREWING COMPANY

500 Carolina Street 360/922-6700 twinsistersbrewing.com

Offering award winning craft beer, full bar, excellent gastropub fare (many gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options), a spacious family friendly restaurant, beer garden and adults only brewery tasting room. Open daily.

STONES THROW BREWING CO.

1009 Larrabee Ave. 360/362-5058 stonesthrowbrewco.com

Stones Throw Brewery is a family-friendly brewery in the heart of Bellingham’s Fairhaven neighborhood. Stones Throw is the perfect place to enjoy a pint after any adventure. Open daily 12-10 pm.

THE NORTH FORK BARREL HOUSE & BEER SHRINE

1900 Grant Street, Suite 101 360/224-2088 northforkbrewery.com/the-barrelhouse

Open Thursday thru Tuesday (closed Wednesdays) Ages 21+

Our new taproom in Bellingham! Here you’ll find some of our sour projects, other ales, and lagers from our Deming brewery. The Barrel House does not serve food at this time.

BURLINGTON

SKAGIT’S OWN FISH MARKET 18042 Hwy 20 360/707-2722 skagitfish.com

Offering the highest quality in local seafood. Daily lunch specials freshly prepared. Local jams, jellies, salsas, honey and sauces.

CONCRETE

EVERSON

HOLLY’S MEAT PIES 128 Main Street 360/966-2400 hollysmeatpies.com Washington’s original Pasty company. Artisan hand pies made from scratch. Order frozen pasties online.

FERNDALE

SILVER REEF CASINO RESORT 4876 Haxton Way 866/383-0777 silverreefcasino.com Diverse dining options from woodstone pizza to award-winning fine dining at The Steak House.

GLACIER

BLAINE

SEMIAHMOO RESORT

4565 Semiahmoo Parkway 360/318-2000 semiahmoo.com A casual northwest beach resort surrounded by the Salish Sea. An authentic Pacific Northwest experience for everyone – from families looking for a fun getaway to couples and friends seeking an easygoing retreat.

FERNDALE

SILVER REEF CASINO RESORT 4876 Haxton Way 866/383-0777 silverreefcasino.com

Located off I-5, exit 260, 206 luxurious rooms or suites to make yourself feel at home with beautiful Mt. Baker views, complimentary breakfast, and free WiFi.

GLACIER

LUXURY GETAWAYS

9989 Mt. Baker Highway 360/398-9590 or 887/90-BAKER luxurygetaways.com

PACKERS

KITCHEN & BAR AT SEMIAHMOO RESORT

9565 Semiahmoo Parkway 360/318-2090 semiahmoo.com

Enjoy seaside dining with stunning views and a fresh menu of seafood, hand-crafted pizza, and local specialties.

THE VAULT WINE BAR & BISTRO 277 G Street 360/393-0955 thevaultwine.com

PNW Fusion Cuisine. Extensive Wine List. Local Beer, Hard Ciders & Craft Cocktails. Trvia Thursday, Live Music Friday, Tasting Menu Saturday.

BELLINGHAM

BELLINGHAM CIDER COMPANY

205 Prospect Street, Suite A105 360 /510 8494 bellinghamcider.com

Bellingham Cider Co. is a local craft cider producer and solar-powered restaurant with a full bar overlooking Bellingham Bay. Our food is prepped fresh and sourced from local farms and businesses.

BOUNDARY BAY BREWERY & BISTRO

1107 Railroad Ave 360/647-5593 bbaybrewery.com

Boundary Bay Brewery is a familyfriendly community hub. Unwind in the taproom, bistro, deck or beer garden with handcrafted brews, fresh local food. Open every day at 11 am.

HOLLY’S MEAT PIES

1306 Commercial St. 360/778-1111 hollysmeatpies.com Washington’s original Pasty company. Artisan hand pies made from scratch. Order online.

PENNY FARTHING BAR AND RESTAURANT AT CHUCKANUT BAY DISTILLERY

1309 Cornwall Avenue 360-738-7179 chuckanutbaydistillery.com

Featuring a variety of delicious, shareable “small plate” dishes and creative craft cocktails, Penny Farthing is the perfect downtown Bellingham destination for any occasion.

ANNIE’S PIZZA STATION 44568 State Route 20 360/853-7227 anniespizzastation.com Family-owned pizza restaurant focusing on fresh, homemade quality Italian fare. Friendly service, helpful information and great food combine for an unforgettable experience.

DEMING

THE NORTH FORK BREWERY 6186 Mt. Baker Highway 360/599-2337 northforkbrewery.com Handcrafted beer and hand tossed pizza. Order online for to-go orders. New covered beer garden.

EDISON

TERRAMAR BREWSTILLERY

5712 Gilkey Ave. 360/399-6222 terramarcraft.com Crafting hyper local beer, cider, spirits & pizza. The brewery taproom is family & dog friendly. The distillery “Speakeasy” is 21+. Patio dining surrounded by views of Puget Sound and Cascades.

WAKE ‘N BAKERY 6903 Bourne Street 360/599-9378 getsconed.com Open daily from 7 am to 6 pm serving breakfast burritos & sandwiches, quiche, soup, paninis, and freshly baked goods. Savory and sweet gluten-free and vegan options. Organic espresso and coffee.

CHAIR 9 WOODSTONE PIZZA AND BAR 10459 Mt. Baker Highway 360/599-2511 chair9.com

The perfect place to enjoy a great family meal or a brew after a day on the mountain. Bands play weekends. Try the “Canuck’s Deluxe” pizza, a staff favorite. Open for lunch and dinner. Check music events on Facebook.

THE HELIOTROPE IN GLACIER 9990 Mt. Baker Highway 360/603-8589 theheliotropeinglacier.com Serving international food – Asian, Middle Eastern and African. Dine in or take out.

MOUNT VERNON

SKAGIT VALLEY FOOD CO-OP 202 S. 1st Street 360/336-9777 skagitfoodcoop.com We make our deli food from scratch using fresh, quality ingredients, sourced from local and organic suppliers whenever possible. Stop in for entrees, side dishes, soups, salads, sandwiches, or our handmade, organic ice cream. We offer vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten-free, and whole food choices for every meal.

Redefining the cabin in the woods. Luxury Getaways offers a variety of vacation rentals located in the heart of the Mt. Baker Recreational Area. Our accommodations are perfect for hitting the slopes and relaxing.

BLUE T LODGE

10459 Mt Baker Highway 360/599-9944 bluetlodge.com

Conveniently located behind Chair 9 Woodstone Pizza and Bar, this sixroom inn is ideal for families or groups. Clean rooms have queen-sized beds, full bathroom and private small patios, as well as access to meeting space.

SERENE MOUNTAIN ESCAPES

Glacier, WA/ Mt. Baker 360/961-0123

serenemountainescapes.com

Serene Mountain Escapes offers quality vacation rentals that sleep from 1-12 guests. Choose from: pools, hot tubs, dog friendly & more. Check out our great reviews! ~Contact us for shoulder season specials!

THE KNOTTY LODGE 360/303-2887

VRBO.com/563675

Explore, Relax, Repeat Premier Mt. Baker vacation rental. 3BR, 2BA luxury timber home with modern amenities, hot tub, WiFi, gourmet kitchen, fireplace, fire pit. Your perfect getaway base camp!

42 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com
SLEEPS
WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 43

Early days of the Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Historical photo courtesy Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA

EVENTS

ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION

JINGLE BELL RUN:

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Bellingham High School. 5K run or walk, 1 mile Dog Trot. Get decked out and be festive, while racing to raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability. For more infor mation, go to JBR.org/bellingham.

35TH ANNUAL LEGENDARY

BANKED SLALOM:

February 3-5, 2023

What started out as a challenge orga nized by Bob Barci to beat snowboard pioneer Tom Sims in a slalom race in 1985 quickly became one of snow boardings most highly regarded gather ings. To this day the race holds a special place for locals and legends alike and offers the simplest form of competition pitting each rider against the clock on the same banks, berms and bumps to see who can ride the course faster than the rest. For more information, go to lbs.mtbaker.us.

MUSSELS IN THE KETTLES:

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Mussels in the Kettles is a non-com petitive mountain bike ride and poker ride in Coupeville. You pick your pace and your route, 3 courses set up from 10 mile easy trails mostly double track, 15 miles of moderate trails double and single track, and 20 miles of expert trails mostly single track. All trails are marked with flagging. Ride the trails you want just go in the direction of travel marked. Be sure to check out the Penn Cove Musselfest. For more infor mation, go to bit.ly/3xgWkz3.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE & TRAVEL SHOW: March 4-5, 2023

BC’s largest showcase of outdoor gear and adventure travel experiences. Over 250 exhibitors and 60 adventure pre sentations. For more information, go to outdooradventureshow.ca.

SANTA 5K AT CORDATA:

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Run, skip or walk in our Santa-themed 5K at the fabulous new Cordata Park. Participants are welcome to run as fast as humanly possible or take an hour while enjoying a coffee and chat with friends. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. For more information, go to bit.ly/30UTrrS.

FROSTY MOSS RELAY:

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Experience the green season on the Olympic Peninsula. Frosty Moss Re lay is an 80-mile running relay on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The course takes place on the paved Olympic Discovery Trail as well as the singletrack Olympic Adventure Trail. For more information, go to frostymossrelay.com.

CHUCKANUT 50K:

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Chuckanut 50k is a lollipop-shaped course. The first 10k and last 10k repeat on the Interurban Trail with smooth, relatively flat running. The middle 30k is what this race is known for — you get to climb (5,000ft), traverse and descend the famous Chuckanut Mountain Ridge amongst beautiful Pacific Northwest terrain. For more information, go to chuckanut50krace.com.

SKI TO SEA: Sunday, May 28, 2023

Ski to Sea is the original multisport re lay race, from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. Organize your team of 3-8 racers and join us on Memorial Day weekend. Celebrating 50 years. Registration opens January 1, 2023. For more information or to register, go to skitosea.com.

44 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com find more events and submit your own at mountbakerexperience.com
HISTORY IN PHOTOS
WINTER 2022/23 | MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE 45 November 18 - December 24 1411 Railroad Avenue (Downtown Bellingham) Open: 7 days a week 10AM – 7PM Closed: Thanksgiving and at 3PM on December 24 Saturdays & Sundays: Live music and free kids activities For more information: www.alliedarts.org @BellinghamExperience bellingham.org /plan Snow. Pack. THE STATE OF WASHINGTON THREE WEEKENDS IN DECEMBER Friday - Sunday 10am to 6pm Pacific Arts Market Sunset Square Between JoAnn Fabrics and El Gitano 1125 E. Sunset Drive Take exit 255 in Bellingham http://paci cartsmarket.com Dec. 7-9, 14-16, & 22-23 Locally crafted by Northwest artisans! Jewelry • Illustrations • Knitting • Soap Photography • Crochet • Metal Works Pottery • Woodworking • Glass Etching and much more! Sunset Square Between Xfinity Store and Xing’s Panda Palace 1145 E. Sunset Drive, Suite 11 Take exit 255 in Bellingham www.pacificartsmarket.com Dec. 2-4, 9-11, & 16-18 Locally crafted by Northwest artisans! Jewelry • Illustrations • Knitting • Soap Photography • Crochet • Metal Works Pottery • Woodworking • Glass Etching and much more! THREE WEEKENDS IN DECEMBER Friday - Sunday 10am to 6pm
46 MOUNT BAKER EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2022/23 MountBakerExperience.com "Since 2015, Jason has helped 86 mountain bikers with their real estate needs in Whatcom County and raised $44,000 for the WMBC! Personally, my wife and I have worked with Jason several times and his expertise and advice have always been spot on!” Eric Brown, WMBC Executive Director Jason Loeb BROKER 360.305.6917 jason@jlorealty.com www.jlorealty.com @jlorealty Buy or Sell a home with Jason and he’ll donate $500 to the WMBC. Julie gets it SOLD!
1980s 2010s Paid for in part by a Tourism Grant from Whatcom County 1970s 1990s TITLE SPONSOR 2000s CELEBRATING 50 YEARS AMERICA’S LARGEST MULTI-SPORT RELAY RACE FROM MT. BAKER TO BELLINGHAM BAY 93 MILES • 7 LEGS • 3-8 RACERS REGISTRATION WILL OPEN JANUARY 1ST skitosea.com MAY 28, 2023 2023 GOAL 50 teams from 50 states for 50 years! One free entry per state! 2020s
by Tore Ofteness, courtesy Whatcom Museum emailinfo@skitosea.comfordetails NEW LEGS! Skiing, Running, Mountain Biking and Paddling | VIRTUAL HAND-OFF from Mt Baker to Lake Padden Jr. Ski to Sea Returns • May 13, 2023
Photo by Jack Carver, courtesy Whatcom Museum Photo
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