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JeffreyW

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  1. Trip: Colfax Peak - Cosley-Houston Date: 5/10/2015 Trip Report: Left the car at 4:15 for a car-to-car ascent of Cosley-Houston on Colfax with my wife, Priti. The route just saw an ascent this past Wednesday and we figured this will probably be the last weekend for the route. Perhaps it has one or two weeks left in it, but the ice was pretty crummy and aerated with lots of air pockets. From a distance, Polish still looked pretty good, but I really can’t say. This was probably the last half-decent weekend for the year for the Cosley-Houston route, especially if it stays warm/above freezing. I figured we’d have company on this route, and sure enough we were joined by an awesome climbing pair from Oregon. If you really want some last-minute WA ice this season, try to get on Cosley-Houston this week ASAP! View of Cosley-Houston and the open, lower crevasse and upper bergshrund Baker-Colfax Upclose of Polish (left) and Cosley-Houston (right) Perfect boot pack conditions. Skining-up probably would not have saved much time and you might have needed ski crampons for the early morning crusty snow. No snow on the trail. We attempted this route unsuccessfully two weekends ago only to be physically pushed back on the glacier by trying to kick fresh steps in waist-deep sludge 2miles up the Coleman, but this time conditions were perfect for kicking steps (and most of the steps are already there). Base of the climb (lower ice + crux pillar) Base of the climb at 9:00AM. To get to the base of the climb, go all the way right around the large, open crevasse below the bergshrund and then all the way left to walk around the ‘shrund. The lower pitch below the crux pillar has audible flowing water underneath the ice, but it was easy enough angle to allow for crummy snice. There is also an easy snow walkup alternative on the right to get you to the pillar. Priti leading up crux pitch The crux pillar was non-stop streaming water drops and light ice flurries. The ice was very aerated with lots of air pockets, but the screw placements were solid once you find one without air. We set up the first belay just below the shrund on the very left side. Priti killed it leading up the crux pillar. The first 25ft is the hardest at 90deg, then it levels out on the upper half of the pillar and gets way easier. We pitched out just at the base of the pillar, then just above the pillar, then at the base of the upper ice pitch, then halfway up the upper snowfield below the rock butress, then simul to the summit (5 pitches). The upper ice pitch above the couloir was much easier and shorter (about 15ft), with several different options from AI3-4. Me leading up last ice pitch Belaying up on upper steep snow exit Final simul off the steep snow. Summit is just around the corner on the left. Summit False Summit of Colfax just below. Boot path stays South (right) of the ridge to get back down to the col. Summit 2:00PM. The descent was trivial. Boot path the whole way down Colfax and the Coleman-Deming. Routefinding off Colfax is easy, just stay south (right) of the false summit. Perfect plunge-stepping conditions. Mashed potato ski conditions in the late afternoon. Crusty corn snow in the morning. Back at the car 5:45PM. 13.5hours car-to-car. Polish up close. Looks pretty decent still. Gear Notes: 8 screws (perfect), 2 pickets (could have maybe used 3, but you can get away with 2), half rack of nuts (useless), pins (useless), .3 and .75 (useless on the climb itself, but we found places for them along the exit upper steep snowfield which allowed us to simul out of there and not have to pitch out the snow). You can’t put any screws in on the middle couloirs and the upper snow field (no ice), and the pickets hammer in vertically about halfway, but solid. I couldn’t find any good options for pins like I was expecting from reading earlier TRs.
  2. [TR] Colfax Peak - Cosley-Houston 5/10/2015

    Awesome pictures! Great work you two. Hope our paths cross again some day. Cheers
  3. Colfax Peak - Cosley-Houston

    Left the car at 4:15 for a car-to-car ascent of Cosley-Houston on Colfax with my wife, Priti. The route just saw an ascent this past Wednesday and we figured this will probably be the last weekend for the route. Perhaps it has one or two weeks left in it, but the ice was pretty crummy and aerated with lots of air pockets. From a distance, Polish still looked pretty good, but I really can’t say. This was probably the last half-decent weekend for the year for the Cosley-Houston route, especially if it stays warm/above freezing. I figured we’d have company on this route, and sure enough we were joined by an awesome climbing pair from Oregon. If you really want some last-minute WA ice this season, try to get on Cosley-Houston this week ASAP! Perfect boot pack conditions. Skining-up probably would not have saved much time and you might have needed ski crampons for the early morning crusty snow. No snow on the trail. We attempted this route unsuccessfully two weekends ago only to be physically pushed back on the glacier by trying to kick fresh steps in waist-deep sludge 2miles up the Coleman, but this time conditions were perfect for kicking steps (and most of the steps are already there). Base of the climb at 9:00AM. To get to the base of the climb, go all the way right around the large, open crevasse below the bergshrund and then all the way left to walk around the ‘shrund. The lower pitch below the crux pillar has audible flowing water underneath the ice, but it was easy enough angle to allow for crummy snice. There is also an easy snow walkup alternative on the right to get you to the pillar. The crux pillar was non-stop streaming water and ice. The ice was very aerated with lots of air pockets, but the screw placements were solid once you find one without air. We set up the first belay just below the shrund on the very left side. Priti killed it leading up the crux pillar. The first 25ft is the hardest at 90deg, then it levels out on the upper half of the pillar and gets way easier. We pitched out just at the base of the pillar, then just above the pillar, then at the base of the upper ice pitch, then halfway up the upper snowfield below the rock butress, then simul to the summit (5 pitches). The upper ice pitch above the couloir was much easier and shorter (about 15ft), with several different options from AI3-4. Summit 2:00PM. The descent was trivial. Boot path the whole way down Colfax and the Coleman-Deming. Routefinding off Colfax is easy, just stay south (right) of the false summit. Perfect plunge-stepping conditions. Mashed potato ski conditions in the late afternoon. Crusty corn snow in the morning. Back at the car 5:45PM. 13.5hours car-to-car. Gear: 8 screws (perfect), 2 pickets (could have maybe used 3, but you can get away with 2), half rack of nuts (useless), pins (useless), .3 and .75 (useless on the climb itself, but we found places for them along the exit upper steep snowfield which allowed us to simul out of there and not have to pitch out the snow). You can’t put any screws in on the middle couloirs and the upper snow field (no ice), and the pickets hammer in vertically about halfway, but solid. I couldn’t find any good options for pins like I was expecting from reading earlier TRs.
  4. Nice job Dana and Andrew! Word is getting out! We climbed Cosley-Houston yesterday May 10. Heard from several people along the approach that Ford's Theatre saw it's second ascent on Saturday May 9 with skis on their backs (Discllaimer: we did not hear from the climbers themselves, so this information could be incorrect). The only evidence was that we saw their fresh tracks coming up from above Ford's Theater onto the exit steep snowfield and joing with the Cosley-Houston exit.
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