February 25, 2016
Mount Baker Highway, WA
Panorama Dome is the lowest and the least impressive summit nearby Mt. Baker ski resort and there’s nothing exciting about it. Ironically, there’s no 360-degree panorama view despite what its name suggests, and to soak in the views you have to wonder around and sneak between the trees and the man-made structures up there. This peak by itself is a “why-bother objective”, but does make sense when combing with other ascents nearby. I did it after an ascent of the nearby Huntoon Point, as the second objective of the “pre-work” trip in this past Thursday.
After enjoying a great, but short run down the north slopes of Huntoon Point I got to glue my skins back on near Austin Pass. There’s actually more elevation gain to ascend Panorama Dome than what I was expecting. I wasn’t sure where was the best route so followed the connecting forested ridge for a while, and then merged into the groomed ski runs. This part of the resort was closed for the day so I could skin up their runs without worrying too much about a crush with the down-hill skiers. I followed the gentlest run all the way to the summit.
Like I said earlier the views weren’t impressive so I didn’t linger any longer than necessary up there. I picked a “black diamond” run on the descent which was pretty fun (and again, having the ski runs to myself was a bonus since the resort was closed). Lower down I ski’d out via their exit runs but near the bottom I started to realized this actually wouldn’t bring me back to the parking lot. And good thing I didn’t bring my GPS on this day…. But using some of the basic judgement I removed my skis and walked back uphill towards left (west) and soon found the bottom of the chairlift. Another 200-300 m of road walk brought me back to the car.
Now came the fun drive down the curvy, windy and steep Mt. Baker Highway. I was so tired that I had to take a nap somewhere near the small community called Glacier, and after that the drive back home was uneventful. The border delay was almost negligible which was nice. After having lunch and taking a shower I rushed to work and got there just in time. The work would last until passing 9 pm. It was another long and tiring day, but very satisfying.