Mt. Baker Round-The-Mountain prelim

new Ridley Creek seasonal bridge

With my fitness level nearing optimum, I had a short window to attempt the Mt. Baker RTM route, consisting of 58 miles of biking and 37 miles of hiking. I decided to go for it on September 8th, 3 days prior to my vacation ending. I figured this would leave me a day of leeway for work, but although the weather forecast for the Puget Sound area was passable, further north the weather certainly did not cooperate. This trip starts off from the Lake Ann trailhead (5000'), where I will leave my vehicle, and immediately starts with a winding descent on roads with little to no shoulder. The forecast of 50 percent chance of rain had me chance it, but I was greeted by fog and steady hard rain as I ascended RTE 542 toward Artist Point. The first nearly half of this trip is downhill, with little climbs totaling 760' for the first 40 miles, but with nearly 4500 feet of descent...I anticipate speeds to be high on this section. In the interest of safety I abandoned the attempt and scouted the rest of the route to the Ridley Creek trailhead to ensure I would have no surprises if/when I come back. Since the last biking portion is on FS Road 38 (gravel) at 13 miles and 2500 feet of gain, I did not have the luxury of waiting until afternoon to start the attempt if the weather improved. I will need to be on the bike NLT 7 AM if I'm going to do this sojourn in under 48 hours, as I need to be on trail and well into the hiking portion before it gets dark. I was glad to be able to scout the route, but driving 350 miles round trip with no biking or hiking was a pain. At about 11 AM, and as I moved south, the rain finally abated. The forecast for the following day stood at zero percent chance of rain but, alas, this would not leave me enough pad for returning to work. So it goes, I shall try again when weather and schedule align better. Check out photos and video here of my scouting trip.

EDIT: I did this trip on August 23-24, 2016. Full trip report here.