I was looking to get out and swing the ice tools, and after Slipstream, it left me wanting to do something a little more vertical and interesting. Access to the Coleman Glacier was heard to be quite easy, so I drove out to the Heliotrope TH and expected to run into a few other climbers from the cascadeclimbers.com bulletin board. However, I saw no one - no one at all. I headed up the trail alone, and after about 2 kilometers, you get to a "T" in the trail, and follow the left spur which takes you towards the Coleman Glacier. After crossing a few icy creeks on the trail, I got my first glimpse of the glacier. There were no parties on the glacier, so I headed down and looked for some extreme terrain that would get me to some
good alpine ice soloing. I found a nice wall that I decided to solo. It was Extreme and Very Hard so I sent it leashless. The route was solid, and since it was north facing it never got any sun. After burning out my calves running laps on the inverted portion of the wall, I decided to scout out a little more into the glacier and let the wounded ice recover. I found a sweet south facing wall, and the ice was like Styrofoam, so Ignored it - too easy. It was quite easy, so I decided to scout even more.
After scouting, I decided to solo a nice looking line that was north facing, so I cranked it leashless and did a smooth job of it except for dropping a tool. Shit! One tool left on a 45 degreee overhanging ice wall. How do I get down? I can't rappel? So I used both hands on one tool and floundered to the top, then started walking on a knife edge ridge of ice that had large crevasses on both sides, I placed no pro (having none) as I continued on the ridge until I could jump over it and then back down a small slope to where I downclimbed another slope onto a small ridge and then back down to my pack. I looked for my lost tool but it was gone forever into the icy blue depths.
As the sun went behind the ridgeline of Heliotrope Ridge it got cold fast. As I left the glacier I noticed just how many other people were up there ice cragging - NONE!!! Solitude is a rare commodity. I was glad to have tested my limits Extreme Ice Cragging. Too bad about the lost tool but my sponsors will give me a new one.