Mount Baker: Discovering Hidden Cinder Cones and Crater Lakes

— filed under:

Mount Baker: Discovering Hidden Cinder Cones and Crater Lakes
Program Series Field Excursions
When Jul 06, 2014 from 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Where Schreiber's Meadows
Class Tuition $95.00
Clock hours 6.0
Add it to your calendar vCal

Cleverly disguised beneath a fuzz of towering old growth forest, a seldom-visited double-cratered cinder cone lies in reach of thousands of hikers on Mount Baker’s south flank. The only cinder cones in the Baker volcanic field are at Schreiber’s Meadow, a mere half mile from the bustling parking lot and trailheads. It’s accessibility makes it unique in that the only other cinder cones in the region are near Glacier Peak and require a multi-day hike.

The Schreibers cone erupted 8,800 years ago. It rises 180 feet (55 m) above the soggy, partly-forested Schreiber’s Meadow. The eruption of basalt magma that formed the cinder cone showered a distinctively orange layer of cinders and ash around the Baker area, followed by a lava flow that flowed 7 miles to the Baker River valley. The cone and its deposits are the only easily accessible basalt on Mount Baker. This geology field trip makes a cross-country trek of a half-mile to the rim of the cone. The loose cinders that fell back to earth around the erupting vent piled up at the angle of repose, and the cinder cone’s slopes reflect this beneath the towering hemlocks and subalpine firs.The final ascent of 130 feet is steepish but there are plenty of huckleberry bushes to grab on to. From the rim, we’ll descend to the little lakes nestled in the crater, and hike up to the opposite rim. Time and energy permitting, we can walk all the way around before descending the way we came.

After the hike, we’ll drive down the road to get a good look at exposures of the cinders and the lava flow. Some of the lava entered a now-disappeared large lake in the Baker River valley, and we will compare the subaqueous and subaerial portions of the flow.

Our instructor Dave Tucker researches volcanic deposits in the North Cascades and is a director of the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center. A resident of Bellingham, retired mountaineering guide and geology research associate at Western Washington University, Dave has done geologic field mapping throughout the Mount Baker area.

This field excursion is for folks interested in geology who desire a taste of off-trail travel in the North Cascades. Bring sturdy shoes, trekking poles and a sack lunch.

LEARNING CENTER ACCOMMODATIONS: Triple Accommodations is the tuition for sharing a room with two other people (this may require use of an upper bunk, accessible by an easy-to-climb ladder). Double Accommodations is the tuition for sharing a room with one other person. Single Accommodations is the tuition for a room for one person.

The Learning Center campus features classrooms, a dining hall, a library, outdoor learning shelters, trails, a canoe dock and an amphitheater. Our three guest lodges have shared gender-specific bathrooms with showers and each room contains two sets of twin bunk beds, desks, wardrobes and wireless internet connectivity. Facilities and local trails are all ADA accessible and a personal mobility vehicle is available. Delicious, healthy meals incorporating local and organic foods are provided in our dining hall. If you have special dietary requirements or food allergies, we will gladly attempt to accommodate them with advance notice. Sorry, but we cannot accommodate pets.

TO REGISTER, please choose one of the following options:
  • Click button above to register online
  • Call (360) 854-2599 with your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card ready
  • Download and mail a registration form with your credit card information or personal check
Field Guide to North Cascades Institute