The Coleman and Deming

Bryan's week was only half-over, and after working on our snow camping and steep snow techniques on Mt Hood's South Slopes we headed north to Mt Baker.  This time we were gunning for the Coleman-Deming route, which follows the northern slopes of Mt Baker's long west ridge to the summit.  Its the second most popular route after the southern Easton Glacier, and a truly local classic.  After climbing through several miles of un-logged timber we gained the alpine.

The extreme avalanche cycle mid-winter has left avalanche
debris that we're still crossing.  This is at least 20' deep!

2 1/4 pounds of fabric = 2 1/4 pounds of space.  Bryan ponders
our much lighter, but much smaller, tent as we get ready for bed.
Since we had all of Friday to climb the mountain, and the freezing level wasn't likely to change things very much, we woke up at 3:00am to have a leisurely breakfast and started up at 5:00am.  The clouds hadn't left as quickly as we hoped, and at 8500' elevation we entered a summit cloud bank that narrowed our world into a tiny 10' bubble of visibility.  We stopped briefly so that I could take some measurements on the map, and using compass barings found the Coleman Deming Saddle and started on up Pumice Ridge.  When my altimeter reached 10780' we knew we were withing 10' of the summit, but with no visibility we had no way of finding the actual summit horn of Grant Peak.  So we called it good and took a long break to hope the weather would clear.  It didn't, until we were 300' below the summit - then it suddenly blew open for 15 minutes before socking back in.

Bryan on the summit dome.

A brief break in the clouds.
We sat in our kitchen in the evening, content that we had done a great job given the conditions we had, watching the climbers come hiking up from the woods for the Fourth of July weekend.  During the hike out, we kept looking over our shoulders by Baker staid shrouded by a windy lenticular cloud cap.  Bryan got two fantastic summits, steep snow and technical glacier travel, and spent a week seeing two great sections of the Pacific Northwest.  He's an assistant principal at a middle school back east, and I know his students are going to be stoked to see what Mr. Bryan did for his summer vacation!

Statistics:  Pro Guiding Service, 30 June - 2 July.  Mt Baker, 10,787'.  Coleman-Deming Route, 5 miles round-trip and 2000' gained and lost for the approach trail.  5 miles round-trip and 4,750' of glacier and snow to 40 degrees crossing the Coleman and Deming Glaciers enroute.