Behind the Gram 2014 – #1 Alpenglow on Mt. Baker

Alpenglow on Mt. Baker

Original Instagram Caption: Heading up to the North Cascades for a weekend up high. It’s gonna be COLD, but it’s always beautiful! Hope to see some colors like this tomorrow morning.

Technical Details: Captured with Sony Alpha A99 with Sony 70-300 4.5-5.6 Lens @ 300mm. Exposure 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400. Color and contrast adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. Cropped and uploaded via Instagram.

I posted this image in November while en route to my first winter exploration of the year in the Cascades. The actual image is from a previous November excursion to one of my favorite haunts in the entire state. Here’s the story.

By the time November is in full swing, I’m always hungry to explore my home mountains in winter conditions. This year, as is often the case, much of the Cascade Range was lacking coverage at low and middle elevations. The good news is that the Cascades are home to the largest glaciers in the Continental US, so a little bit of sweat will always earn access to snowy alpine environments.

Hiking from Cascade River Road

Perhaps the finest access point to these areas of perpetual cool is the Cascade River Road, east of Marblemount, WA. From this road one can access multitudes of iconic North Cascades locales including huge Alaskan style faces, astounding couloirs, and classic alpine climbs. A late start had us climbing well into the November night, but a bright moon helped illuminate the way to our temporary home.

Moon over Hidden Lakes Peak

While I love to sleep outside any time of year, there’s also something special about a cozy shelter in an unlikely place. One of the best crash pads around is the Hidden Lake Peak lookout. This is one of the few remaining lookouts that is open to public use on a first-come basis. Perched atop the craggy summit of Hidden Lake Peak, it’s a perfect temporary home and refuge for the cold weather explorer.

Hidden Lake Peaks Lookout

I made sure to set an alarm before sunrise and was outside with my camera as the first rays of sun ripped through the crisp morning sky and painted astounding colors on the peaks to the west, including Mt. Baker in the featured image, and it’s iconic neighbor to the east, Mount Shuksan.

Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan

When the light show had come to an end and a sunny breakfast had been enjoyed in the cabin, it was time to strap on the skis and get out for some runs. This is right below the lookout and is about as fine a start to a day as you can hope to have.

Erik Svege on Hidden Lake Peak

With no roads or chairlifts for miles, each glorious powder run has to be earned with hours of climbing. I’ve found that it’s more than a fair trade.

Climbing out of Hidden Lake

I’ve been exploring the Cascades for my whole life, and there’s still so much to be done!

Forbidden and Sahale

Wishing you all a fantastic journey in the new year! To keep up with my ongoing adventures, follow @scottrinck on Instagram.

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