Mountain Retreat

Charles Easton (1858–1931), a Bellingham jeweler by trade, was captivated by Mount Baker. In 1911, he became a founding member and the official historian of the Mount Baker Club, one of several mountaineering groups that promoted development of the region for recreation. His compilation of maps, images, and published accounts of Mount Baker, housed at the Whatcom Museum, preserves the cultural legacy of the peak.

The next chapter in the story of Mount Baker has begun: more snow melts off the glaciers during the summer than accumulates in the winter. Since 1990, the total volume of the mountain’s glaciers has dropped between 12% and 20% as a result of climate change. The impact of retreating glaciers reverberates throughout the Northwest: more rain and less snow in the winter negatively affects local salmon populations, which depend on cooler temperatures and glacier-fed streams during the summer.

Integral to the region’s identity, Mount Baker remains a valuable natural and cultural resource. Many groups dedicate themselves to the preservation of the mountain, including Conservation Northwest and American Alps.

Bert Huntoon (American, 1869–1947), Visitors to a glacier with Mount Shuksan in the background, Whatcom Museum, 1996.10.11748