Trip: Colfax Peak - Cosley-Houston Trip Date: 11/10/2019 Trip Report:
Not going to do a long TR here since there are plenty of TRs on the Cosley-Houston. This will just be a quick update on conditions for those interested. First off, I was wrong when I posted a week or two ago that the approach is heinous/convoluted. You just have to stay a bit lower now and wrap around to the base, it's not an issue as long as you don't go up too early. I guess I, and several other parties, tried to go up too early and got blocked by cracks so people thought it was going to be difficult. See the photo below outlining the current approach. Anyway, Eric Carter, Paul Greenwood, and I left the parking lot at 4:11, tried the new glacier approach, it went smoothly and we were soon at the base of the route. The first pitch is great, decent pro (better than last year). The crux pillar is pretty full-on right now. Maybe 20+ft of dead vertical ice, pretty chandeliered at parts which makes sticks less confidence-inspiring and pro a little trickier. Right now, the vertical section of the pillar is perhaps twice (or maybe 1.5x) as tall as it was last year. It felt very hard to me and 4s normally feel hard, so maybe its a 4+ or maybe it's just that I'm not in ice shape (mentally) right now. Anyway, if you go up there, expect it to be hard and bring the screws to make it "safe". Above there, the snow traverse below the next step is in (barely) but the ice also looks climbable. We opted to not climb it because there was a lot of stuff coming down, including golf ball size rocks and smaller ice, but it looks fun if you can get it in, the top out looked a little thin so a belay might be tricky. Above there it was a cruise, perhaps a little thin for the last 200ft, one 5ft section of actual ice over rock just before the top. We topped out 7hrs after leaving the car. Finally, the descent is straight forward and the major crevasse we were worried about proved to be a non-issue because it's filled in enough at one spot that it can be downclimbed. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, I'll post a video of leading the crux pillar on my insta @porter.mcmichael
Also, someone else got to the route before us as we were following several day old tracks up the route, awesome! Additionally, another team could be seen starting up the route as we were descending through the football field.
Directions through the glacier:
Polish is looking good... Anyone want a belayer up there?
On the thrilling pillar...
Entering the tight couloir to the top:
Couloir near the top:
View of Lincoln:
Looking down over the problem crack:
Looking back up:
Lastly, a few route close-ups, sorry we didn't get an actual photo of the pillar!
Thanks to Eric for a lot of those photos!
Last time I climbed this route was exactly a year ago and the conditions were very different, as you can see here!
12 screws, could use one or three less, brought a picket but didn't use it. Approach Notes: