Ski Touring the
Mt. Baker Backcountry

For skiers who take pleasure in earning their turns, the Mt. Baker backcountry is a veritable haven.

The Baker backcountry boasts an incredible array of varied terrain types, ranging from mellow, wide open slopes with panoramic vistas, to steep and narrow couloirs – and everything in between – all accessible for a single day outing.

You could run laps all day in the Swift Creek drainage on a high avy day, or go deep into the backcountry to Ptarmigan Ridge. Or get really radical and shoot the couloirs off Mt. Ann’s summit.

My first outing in the Baker backcountry was in March 2018.

On a foggy day with low visibility, we parked at Heather Meadows, skinned up the cat track and ran down the Blueberry Chutes before heading up to Herman Saddle.

I remember being completely blown away by the feeling of solitude in virgin-white pristine wilderness.

The skiing itself was okay, with mostly tracked out and clumpy snow, but I realized that ski touring is not always about the powder and the turns.

I came back home completely in love, but knowing I had barely even scratched the surface of backcountry skiing.


When the first major snowfall of the season occurred in late October 2018, Heliotrope Ridge beckoned with its early-season accessibility. This ski tour takes you up to a vista point where you get up close with the Black Buttes – the subsidiary peaks of Mt. Baker which form a buttress to the west of the cinder cone. 

The combination of exploring a new place, the crisp mountain air, the untracked fresh snow, the dramatic alpine views and bluebird conditions made this one of my favorite trips in the backcountry,