Table Mountain Ski Tour

 

Dates: best in last spring, early summer when the snow pack is stable.

Start: Mt. Baker Ski Area 4200 ft.

High Point: Table Mountain 5720 ft.

Length: 2-3 hours  (1/2 day)

Difficulty: Advanced

Watch the Guided Ski Tour Video

The tour starts like many others on the west side of the Mt. Baker Ski Area, at the upper parking lot by the X-C skiing trails.  Start the tour heading south along the east bank of Bagley Creek to the Bagley Lakes.  Traverse the base of the north face of Table Mountain at the level of the lakes until you reach the elbow of Table Mountain (see map of route).  The lower slope is about 45 degrees along this entire face so climbing in crampons is recommended to save time and energy.  Otherwise, continue with skins and switchback up the steep slopes to the first bench at 5000ft.  From there, continue to the SW to the second bench and finally the saddle (5650 ft) at the crest of the north ridge of table mountain.  From here, look for a passable crossing up over the corniced ridge of the summit plateau of Table Mountain.  Be aware that there is a bergshrund that forms below the cornices that can be 20 to 30 feet deep, so cross the area with care.

Once on the plateau, head southwest for a clear view of Mt. Baker and the surrounding North Cascades.  The descent is straightforward, down the saddle off the cornice(!), then follow your uptrack as you desire.  The last 1/2 of the ski down the north face of the mountain down to Bagley Lakes is an excellent 45 degree pitch slope that is usually as smooth as any groomed run you'd find anywhere.

This ski tour is not recommended during the normal ski season due to frequent surface slides down the slopes when fresh snow has fallen.  It should only be done when you deem the snow as highly stable or in spring conditions when the deep layers are fully consolidated.