Mount Baker Coleman Deming Route 07-15-2018

#theHad in the ice fall
Colfax Peak

Car to Car Mount Baker summit attempt up Coleman Deming Route.  Hit the Heliotrope trailhead about 10:30 PM. 

Hiking Portion: Hiked up to the base of the glacier in the dark.  The road has a few large potholes and turnouts for letting other cars pass.  The trailhead was busy with many hikers and climbers taking advantage of the great weekend weather.  A rather interesting time to hike a trail at night – poor visibility, but very interesting at the creek crossings, as the spray reflected on our headlamp lights illuminating our path in the most interesting ways.  3-4 creek crossings requiring large rock navigation.  WTA was performing work on the trail upon our return in the AM, working to build ramps and other structures to aid in navigation – parts of the trail are rough roots, stumps, and other natural obstacles making for an interesting path in the dark. 

Climbing Portion: Started the climb about 5700 feet at Hogsback Camp.  Gained an initial snowfield, then put crampons on for the Hogsback Headwall – this was steep and slushy so be warned – not too much fun in the dark, but the benefit was I could not see what I was climbing – only up – must have been 25+ rope teams.  After the crest of the headwall, the snow was firm and crunchy.  Very cool to see all the headlamps of the parties strung up along the route.  There is a recent icefall about 8200-8600 feet – about two weeks old per guides.  The route climbs up around to pumice ridge, then gains the Roman Headwall to the final summit.  I bailed just pas the ice falls, but my party submitted.  An absolutely perfect day for climbing.  The weather was calm, warm and sunny.

Coming down: In the daylight, the descent from the snowfield/glacier border was down the steep ridgeline, riddled with large rocks.  We ascended in the dark – making for a mysterious trail.   I was great to see the trail in the light, alpine meadows, snowfields, serac fields – a true classic alpine setting.  Many wildflowers are in bloom – Indian paintbrush, lupine, coltsfoot, alpine thistles, among others.  More pictures and GPX route in the link to my AllTrails recording.  Enjoy!

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