Artist’s Point With a Nip in the Air – Zeiss 15mm Milvus

Trying to spend more time up here and catch the first snow before they close down the road to Artist’s Point. It’s a drive from Seattle but so worth it for the spectacular views. I have a few rituals heading out 542. I stop at Subway for dinner near Glacier. I hit the Starbucks off Woburn Street to get a triple tall mocha in the morning and wash up. If that isnt enough I also stop in Fairhaven at Tonys.

Anyway, the drive up is great. I know all the landmarks and once I pass the DOT buildings, I know the windy road to the top begins. Shuksan has a tiny dusting of snow on the peak. Table Mountain has no snow yet. Baker is beautiful as always. Its just enough nip in the morning that Picture Lake usually has mist at night. Because I am here for photos, usually I am heading in at dusk at others are heading out and vice versa in the morning. Met quite a few other photographers. Lent my tripod to one, had a nice snarky conversation with another talking about how many a7s shutters he has destroyed while making hours long time lapses. Also shared some homemade pumpkin bread with him. Helped a couple from Kentucky find some of the lesser known gems in the area. Gear-wise, I was carrying two bodies: Sony a7r and Sony a7r2. Zeiss had sent me a preview copy of their new Milvus 15mm so I was intent on using it as much as possible. I also put my Voigtlander 10mm to use for its unique perspective.

Once in the parking lot, I decided to stay in the area as sunset/sunrise would be good from the Huntoon area. Really happy with my decision.Mount Baker ReflectionTable Mountain Dusk LightTable Mountain Dusk Light in a Small TarnMount Shuksan and Night MistMount Shuksan Sunrise Reflection - Zeiss 15mm MilvusHeather Meadows and Table MountainMount Baker Sunrise Reflection in a Small Tarn at Artists Point

Mount Baker Artist’s Point Sunset Views

My friend Dan was coming off of 3 weeks of solid work behind a screen and was in need of some backcountry time.  So we headed up to Artist’s Point for an overnight and views of Mount Baker and Shuksan. Took us about an hour to snowshoe up to the point and scout around for a camp spot. Several promising locations were already carved out of the snow. The weather seemed mild during the day but got cold and windy at night. We did well with our 3 season Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 tent.  I hiked up everything in my Zpacks Arc Blast 45L pack and it felt comfortable from the moment I slipped it on.  My Z-packs 10 degree down sleeping bag kept me warm all night in freezing temps with  considerable wind.  All in all, I was happy with our gear choices including bringing a few bottles of Pike Kilt Lifter ale.

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Mount Baker Sunset Light

 

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Mount Baker details – Zeiss 100-300mm

 

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Dan’s controlled descent  😉

 

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Mount Baker Morning Light

 

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Climbing the Hill

Shuksan Alpenglow – Zeiss 85mm Otus

Hiked up to Artist’s Point last night in my Sorels.  Followed the well worn boot path to the top and caught some nice alpen glow along Shuksan and Table Mountain.  Tried out my new 900 lumen headlamp on the way down and it really lights up the path.  This is a spectacular hike and highly recommended.Mount Shuksan Alpenglow Zeiss 85mm Otus

Mount Shuksan dusk panorama Zeiss 85mm Otus

Spring Overnight Hike Along the Baker Chain Lakes Trail

I had noticed on WTA.org that the Chain Lakes Trail up around Artist’s Point had mostly melted out.  So I decided to go up there for an overnight and hopefully some nice light on Mount Baker.  My gear selection was Arcteryx M40 pack, Shires Tarptent Contrail and ZPacks 10 degree bag.  These choices turned out to be good, I was warm enough at night and the pack carries so well with about 25 lbs or so.  I have to mention that I really appreciated the Zep Peach air freshner that someone left in the bathroom at Artist’s Point.  Much appreciated as its a losing battle in the bathroom, but the Zep helped.

Iceberg lake wasnt quite totally melted out but still had a nice reflection.  I decided to scramble down the avalanche chute and try to find a spot along the lake.  I think it was definitely worth the trip.  www.mikereidphotography.com #backpacking #hiking

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…and now the timelapse I made at sunrise

Artist’s Point Sunrise Overnight

I had been meaning to hike up here for sunrise for quite some time.  By mid last week, however, I had exhausted my list of companions, so I went alone. Weather was supposed to be good;  Clouds clearing off and temps around 20 with winds gusting to 30mph.  I was also curious about some of my new winter gear and how it would perform.  So off I went to Heather Meadows parking lot.  No recent snowfall, and the snow on the ground was crunchy, so I went with my Sorels and no snowshoes.  My other gear choices:

  • Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent – I knew I would need something freestanding but didn’t think I would need my Mountain Hardwear Trango Assault.
  • Zpacks 10 degree down bag and Thermarest Xlite Xtherm pad.
  • Arcteryx Naos 55 pack
  • Mountain Hardwear Phantom and Ghost Whisperer Jackets with Transition Windstopper underneath.
  • Arcteryx Windstopper shell pants with Windstopper tights underneath.
  • Delorme inReach satellite beacon
  • Sony a7r camera and Zeiss 21, 50 and 100-300 lenses with Gitzo 0540 tripod.

Climb to Artists Point was uneventful, except maybe wishing they would open the road up with so little snow.  I’ve always seen the WSDOT as being a flexible organization.  🙂

At the top, the wind came on strong.  I tried pitching my tent in two spots and it blew itself inside out.  I lashed it to a tree while I looked for a better location.  Scouting around, I noticed a group of tents near the parking lot which was under several feet of snow.  I went back to gather my stuff to join them.  It turns out that seeing me, the guys camped there set out to come see if I was ok.  We met in the middle. They helped me with my tent aka wind sail and we camped together against a bluff that blocked the wind sort of.  They had used a sled to bring up an ample supply of Coors which we dove into.

With me in it, my tent was bending 20 degrees or so in the wind, but I eventually fell asleep.  I was warm enough, figuring the wind chill at about 0 degrees.

I got up early and got some nice shots of Baker with alpenglow coming on at sunrise.  I went back and thanked my new compadres and packed up.  As I was heading down, scores of skiers were heading up.  The new day looked spectacular.DSC03286 DSC03311_stitchsmaller DSC03397

Artists Point Hiking

Artists Point Hiking

Lots of snow hiking into the night lately to get moonrise shots. Always aware of the irony that I spent 6 years at WWU and never ventured up to Mount Baker. Making up for it now.