The first place not to go on a weekend in the Baker Backcountry is the short vertical, easy to access Swift Creek Zone. The headwater of the North Fork of Swift Creek is a good place to learn skinning technique, practice companion rescue, or try out a new touring partner with low commitment. There are many mellow slopes but also steep avalanche paths with consequential terrain traps. So, if you’re looking for long runs, avoiding crowds of avalanche courses, or just want to sample what Baker has, then avoid this area on the weekend.
Blueberry Chute, Blueberry Cornice, Blueberry is the mystic zone that forms the ridge running from Martha’s Ladder to Table Mountain. For several years I asked friends, family, visitors, and loc dawgs
So, you did it anyway and dropped down Blueberry or better yet you rode down Dog Chute to the lake and found yourself looking up at Table Mountain. The power of big terrain soars overhead as you get tunnel vision staring at the beautiful Newts Chute, Newts Apron, and Little AK. A quick transition and now you’re skinning back up. Meanwhile rippers are dropping 40 mph big mountain turns, spraying snow into the air, as they careen towards you. For a moment the thoughts, “I hope this doesn’t slide on me” or “please don’t hit me” pass through your mind. Instead of skinning out and around near the
A great tour is heading out to Herman Saddle or Iceberg Lakes. Often times there is a track dropping out of the parking lot towards lower Bagley Lake. This area is a hive of activity, but be diligent, you are traveling underneath overhead hazard. You start to see the flying bodies of the bros and brahs that chuck their carcasses into the air off big booters below Grandmas House. Sledding kids shoot out of the trees with beanies over their eyes as they slide into their run out on the lake. And finally, the big avalanche paths of Mount Herman that crash down the Boulder Field, into the gulley, and onto the lakes creating dangerous terrain traps are places not to go on a weekend in the Baker Backcountry.