Sulphide Glacier

Lunar Light

Last week, forecast sites on the internet were projecting some active auroras, even for northern Washington State. A promising forecast and clear skies only convinced me more to head out so I went to someplace REALLY good. I’ve known about this area up the Baker Lake drainage for over a year and I’ve been waiting for conditions and opportunity to come together. The night before my visit, I discovered another spot to set up using Google Earth which was not far away from my original ID’d location. As it turned out, the location turned out to be a great spot. All I needed to do was wait for darkness and for the auroras to show up.

The sun set but a transitioning 3/4 moon kept the landscape somewhat illuminated. This was great for my general night landscape photos since I do like to have some amount of detail in my foregrounds at night. I kept watch in my folding chair, swatting away mosquitoes (which were a bit aggressive while it was still light) throughout the night. The moon stayed up until 1:30am. Again, this was great for my general shots of Mount Baker or Mount Shuksan but for the auroras I was hoping to see. After the moon had set, the Milky Way and even more stars came out- but not the auroras. It was now about 2am and if the auroras were to appear, it would have happened by this point. I rattled a couple more frames off before I decided to call it a night and head home. I was pretty crushed that they did not appear but, on the other hand, I found an even better location to photograph them. I guess next time I’ll be REALLY ready!..
Mount Shuksan and the Sulphide Glacier as night falls. North Cascades National Park
Mount Baker and Ursa Major
Mount Baker and Ursa Major
Mount Shuksan and the Sulphide Glacier under stars. North Cascades National Park
Mount Baker and Ursa Major
Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan night sky panorama

Sulphide sunset

Two weeks ago, I spied some photos from a backcountry trip report from Boulder Ridge on Mount Baker which had the most amazing runnels I had ever seen. Life forced me to change my plans last weekend so I tried my luck this weekend. This winter’s non-winter made this hike a late fall hike instead of a deeply committing winter expedition. Under sunny skies, I headed out along the trail and made steady progress through the forest. The trail was virtually snow-free until the very end (hard to take in since normally there would be SEVERAL feet of snow at this location).

The last visitor’s were most likely the party of backcountry skiers from 2 weeks ago. The trail finally disappeared under the snowpack towards the end and I became weary of continuing. The previous tracks in the snow were faded and hard to follow so. Without the confidence that I could navigate back safely in the dark, I decided to turn around while there was ample light. The decision was disheartening since I know I was only a couple hundred yards from open terrain but it was the right decision.

I still had enough time to make it back to the trailhead and the road which had a nice vantage of Mount Shuksan’s Sulphide Glacier face as well as views of Mount Bacon and Blum. Without further ado, here’s lemonaide from lemons..

Sulphide Glacier and the summit of Mount Shuksan
Jagged spine of Suksan Arm
Mount Shuksan
Mount Blum
Last light on Mount Shuksan
Mount Shuksan

 Scroll to top