Training in Bellingham WA

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  • #17048

    Does anyone familiar with Bham have suggestions for outdoor hiking/running options to train?

    The most vert I can get in the Chuckanuts is Pine/Cedar Lakes Trail (1500ft in 2 miles).

    Excelsior Pass trail off the Baker can net you 3k of vertical gain in ~3.5 miles, but in winter most of is has to be done in snowshoes.

    I do know a few random off-trail areas with step slopes (clear-cuts etc) that I could just yo-yo. I’ve checked the Gaia, the Strava Heatmap and the local trail guides for some ideas, but I’m also looking for suggestions from folks who know the area. Thanks in advance!

Posted In: Alpinism

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    Steve House on #17431

    I lived in Bellingham for a few years in the mid-90’s. I used the gym at WWU. And I used to go climb the twin sisters for vertical (ski tour in winter) glacier travel is relatively minimal. Also used to run in and climb the fisher chimneys (to the top of the chimneys) on shuksan, but obviously that’s a summer/fall thing. I did a lot of running and ski touring around mt baker in all seasons. Summer is pretty self explanatory, but in winter keep in mind that the south side of baker is open to snowmobiles so you can actually use their tracks get pretty quick access on that side. I once followed snowmobile tracks to the summit (waaay inside the wilderness area). I disliked the Chukanut drive stuff because it was always either muddy and/or too many (dangerous!) roots.

    I also used to go up to Grouse Mountain for skinning and xc skiing and Squamish (on foot, rarely snowy at that elevation) and Whistler (on skis in winter and foot in summer). The trail up the Squamish chief is steep! Obviously I had a lot of time back then 😉

    Hope some of that helps. There would also be some steep terrain around Darrington, but obviously that’s mostly summer/fall.

    jones on #17704

    That definitely helps! Thanks for taking the time to dish out all the goods. Most everything you listed is definitely NOT being done by 99% of the people up here (that I know of, hear of or see); I love it. Thanks for the snowmobile track tip – that’s great.

    I have so many questions, especially about winter ski touring on the Sisters and winter back country around Baker but I know you’re crazy busy, so…

    IF you get time:

    – did you usually go for the North Twin’s South side couloir? If not where? Also if not what was your (rough) approach route in winter?
    – Winter Baker Back country – What and where?
    – Winter running – What Shoe/Traction option do you recommend?
    – I train almost exclusively solo – this affect anything?

    Thanks again!

    tywalcker24 on #17705

    I just moved to Bellingham this winter and I’ve found a couple steep routes at Lookout MT and Lake Whatcom Park. They were mostly mountain bike trails, so the terrain is loose at times and I had to bear crawl up some of it. Great views of Baker and the Sisters in a clear cut at Lookout and Whatcom’s Chanterelle trail is definitely a place I’d like to do some laps on this spring. Did both before the snow hit, so not sure what the conditions are now. It’s on my Strava if you want to check it out. Good luck!

    jones on #17729

    Thanks! I’d like to look at the Strava files for sure. Let me know if you’d like to talk about climbing in the Pickett’s this Summer or even just Baker or Shuksan.

    tywalcker24 on #17767

    Yea I’d like to do Baker and the Sisters this summer, but I dont have a lot of experience or gear. I’m looking at courses with AAI. Do you have any other guides you’d recommend?

    jones on #17813

    I’ve had good luck “hiring climbing partners” with AAI i.e. paying the $450/day 1:1 rate

    …but after a few outings I’m left with so much self-loathing at the end of the process that I’m ready to learn a few more things and then just try to start heading out with partners this Summer. You learn a lot when your partners are guides but that’s not the kind of alpinist I want to be.

    FWIW – North Cascades Mountain Guides out of Mazama were recently recommended to me. I checked them out and they do everything that AAI or RMI does (minus dragging people up Denali for 20k a pop) and a lot more, especially in the 1:1 arena, but they seem WAY more professional. All their guys are UIAGM/IFMGA certified so they probably have a better understanding of mountain nuances than some of their younger cohort who are still out there making their bones.

    Also: take all of the above with a grain of salt. I’m no expert.

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