Standing atop Artist Point on a crisp and clear winter day grants some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the state of Washington. This roundish knob protruding from Kulshan Ridge sits between the glaciated towers of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. The color scheme here is surreal, with dark cliffs and forests against contouring quilts of snow and a deep blue sky brushed with white billowy clouds.
The route departs from the Mount Baker Ski Area upper parking lot and follows a groomed cat-track below the ski lifts and downhill runs. Snowshoers are advised to stick to the track's edge, as unannounced ski and snowboard traffic can zoom by at any second. Your eyes will undoubtedly be drawn to the picturesque Bagley Lakes basin during this first section, making cross-country travel along the groomed track a safer option.
After trekking a mile from your vehicle and gaining 500 feet of elevation, the 4,700-foot Austin Pass reveals the second portion of the route. Keep progressing southwest up the slopes to reach a massive shelf just east of Table Mountain. Kulshan Ridge begins here, as well as Mount Baker's commanding presence to the west. The views south become breathtaking as you turn back toward Mount Shuksan's colossal arm, and the magnificent half-mile up to Artist Point is truly inspiring.
Check weather and avalanche reports if exploring the backcountry in this area.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.