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Alisse

Coleman-Deming early June - soloing glacier?

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Ok, perhaps this sounds like a stupid question, but I'm curious to hear different perspectives. 

I have a friend coming into town from NH the first week of June and he is stoked to climb the North Ridge of Baker, and has a lot more ice experience than me. Great! However, he doesn't ski, and I have had this image of climbing the North Ridge and then skiing the Coleman-Deming. 

He doesnt have a whole lot of glacier travel experience. I have never seen the Coleman-Deming in person. 

What are your experiences trying to do glacier travel with people travelling by different modes? How dumb would it be to suggest he descend solo so I can ski? 

Thanks for your thoughts!

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Solo glacier travel by a newbie in June on the Coleman Demming is a definite NO in my book.  Check out google earth.

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By June the skiing won't be that great at this rate, so the safe bet is to not split the team @Alisse, esp. if you partner hasn't done a lot of glacier travel.  While the Coleman isn't terribly gnarly by glacial standards you can easily get into trouble, especially if the weather turns.  Also, you'll want him to go over two person rescue and be very familiar with what to do, for your own benefit if nothing else.  Getting to the NR is often involved with lots of bridges (looks OK right now though).   I did very realistic two person practice last Saturday with a partner who jumped into a glide crack.   It was fairly exciting, and I knew it was about to happen. You need to be prepped and dialed to pull it off without incident.

I skied the Coleman on Monday and the cracks are starting to open.....I'll post some pics tonight or tomorrow....

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@JasonG Thanks. I certainly was not about to rope up with him without the two of us practicing crevasse rescue thoroughly. Yes, post your pics!

 

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I feel like I need to add/clarify that he was actually the one to suggest this idea. At first I was like no way! But then I thought..hmm, I'll see what the Internet says.. :noway:

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2 person travel on glaciers is probably best reserved for very experienced people and/or very low consequence glaciers. One mistake by either could kill both. Maybe you can find a safer ski objective.

 

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maybe with some pre planning,  you could find another pair of people going for the north ridge that you could make a team of 4 for the approach, then split into two teams of two for the climb and descent. 

I have been on that part of the glacier (approach to n ridge) in different seasons and I can say that you will be walking over Monster crevasses.  That place is so broken up under the winter snow pack.  the crevasse patterns sometimes don't make sense either.  definately a place to be prepared.

The last time I was on it, we did a different than usual tactic.  instead of stumbling around on a crevassed glacier in the dark, we approached the ridge in the afternoon, being able to work the way through the maze in daylight.  Yes the snow bridges are weaker in the afternoon, but being able to see where we were going was a bigger benefit. (I got a pretty good crack radar)   We climbed up the ridge to about a couple rope lengths below the ice cliff where there are several dirt campsites and bivied there.  good long restful sleep and climb the cliff at sunrise while the groups are just approaching the ridge itself.   not so bad if you can keep your bivy kit light, like light sleeping bag, pad and small stove.  the ambience and experience itself is worth the extra weight.  ditch the skiis and bivy on the ridge instead. 

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Hey Gene, we think alike.  Biving below the ice cliff would be a really nice alternative.  There is enough flat real estate for a tent or two and you would beat the crowds.  Last time I went up to the North Ridge we got a late start from the trailhead and ended up behind 22 climbers. 

 

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