Huntoon Point

February 25, 2016

1599m

Mount Baker Highway, WA

Despite its geological insignificance, Huntoon Point (the highest point along Kulshan Ridge) offers one of the highest view-to-effort ratio. The winding Mt. Baker Highway brings tourists to the Artist Point in summer time and one can easily ascend this peak in less than half an hour round trip, and yet, it is one of the best viewpoints of the nearby giants – the striking Mt. Shuksan and the volcanic Mt. Baker. In winter one has to park a few miles down by Mt. Baker ski resort, but the groomed ski runs still offer some quick access.

My plan was to take advantage of the incredible weather in this past Thursday, but the problem was, I had to work in the afternoon/evening and my legs were damn sore after the 1-day single push on Wedge’s NE Arete a mere day ago. By the time I woke up in the morning I felt tired even just walking downstairs, but again, given the forecast I just had to push a bit. I figured it was snowshoeing that tired my legs out so had I gone on skis this time I could use some different muscle groups, so off towards Mt. Baker highway I went.

Huntoon Point and Panorama Dome ski route

Huntoon Point and Panorama Dome ski route

It was my first time driving up Mt. Baker highway passing the Skyline Divide turn-off, and I have to say I’m impressed by the maintenance and engineering design of it. The surface was a bit damp, but free of snow cover so the road didn’t impose too much of a problem. If you think Duffey Lake Road is winding and steep then try this one and I’m sure you’ll love it… It literally winds 1/3 of the way up Mt. Baker and by the time I parked at the parking lot I already had some great views towards the north. The initial bits were confusing but by following the most obvious set of tracks I was able to keep my orientation correct. In short time I merged into the groomed ski runs following others’ tracks.

This is a neat buttress on the nearby Table Mountain

This is a neat buttress on the nearby Table Mountain

Looks like some really good ski country on Table Mountain.. Next time....

Looks like some really good ski country on Table Mountain.. Next time….

Looking back towards American Border Peak, Mt. Larrabee and Goat Mountain

Looking back towards American Border Peak, Mt. Larrabee and Goat Mountain

Joining the groomed ski run

Joining the groomed ski run

Another (wider) view of Table Mountain

Another (wider) view of Table Mountain

A “blue run” was easily ascended and I soon arrived at Austin Pass on the shoulder of Panorama Dome. From here I rejoined the set of ski/snowshoe tracks and the next while was some easy skinning towards the ridge by Artist Point. By the time I reached the ridge the view had mostly opened up.

Skinning up the road following a very well set of tracks

Skinning up the road following a very well set of tracks

Looking back along the road plod

Looking back along the road plod

Gaining height towards the Artist Point

Gaining height towards the Artist Point

Nearing the ridge, looking back towards Mt. Herman

Nearing the ridge, looking back towards Mt. Herman

At this point I had quite a few thoughts going on. I could see literally a ton of tracks on the nearby Table Mountain all over the place so it’s very tempting to bag that one as it’s a much more satisfying objective, but like I mentioned earlier I had to get back home by lunch time for my afternoon work.. Not liking to take a chance on that I resumed my ascent to the lowly Huntoon Point which was an easy skinning plod.

The summit block of Huntoon Point

The summit block of Huntoon Point

I traversed towards its backside before skinning up a gentle slope

I traversed towards its backside before skinning up a gentle slope

Summit Panorama from Huntoon Point. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama from Huntoon Point. Click to view large size.

Table Mountain is very correctly named..

Table Mountain is very correctly named..

Mazama Dome left of center

Mazama Dome left of center

A zoomed-in view of Coleman Pinnacle

A zoomed-in view of Coleman Pinnacle

And, the iconic Mt. Baker

And, the iconic Mt. Baker

Tomyhoi Peak from south

Tomyhoi Peak from south

Canadian Border Peak (L) and American Border Peak (R)

Canadian Border Peak (L) and American Border Peak (R)

Mt. Larrabee

Mt. Larrabee

The unofficially named Mt. Ann is another ski classic

The unofficially named Mt. Ann is another ski classic

A wider view of Mt. Baker

A wider view of Mt. Baker

A zoomed-in view of Sherman Peak which is basically attached to Mt. Baker

A zoomed-in view of Sherman Peak which is basically attached to Mt. Baker

A zoomed-in view of the summit pyramid on Mt. Shuksan

A zoomed-in view of the summit pyramid on Mt. Shuksan

The very iconic Mt. Shuksan has the reputation to be the most beautiful peak in Washington state

The very iconic Mt. Shuksan has the reputation to be the most beautiful peak in Washington state

Me on the summit of Huntoon Point

Me on the summit of Huntoon Point

Another panorama from the summit. Click to view large size.

Another panorama from the summit. Click to view large size.

After soaking in all of the views I had to make my way down. The snow on the north slopes was in a great shape for skiing and I enjoyed some nice turns, but too bad the run was too short and I had to put my skins back on for the uphill plod towards Austin Pass.

Time to head down

Time to head down

A neat cornice near the summit.

A neat cornice near the summit.

Looking back at the summit block

Looking back at the summit block

Continuing down along the ridge

Continuing down along the ridge

Looking south from the ridge

Looking south from the ridge

Skiing down the north slopes

Skiing down the north slopes

The Shuksan Arm and Mt. Shuksan

The Shuksan Arm and Mt. Shuksan

Very enjoyable skiing

Very enjoyable skiing

Into the bowl..

Into the bowl..

Looking back at the slopes that I ski'd.

Looking back at the slopes that I ski’d.

Now I realized I still had some time to kill and the named Panorama Dome was “right there”, so why not….

Advertisements