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PorterM

[TR] Colfax Peak - West Ridge 10/14/2018

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Trip: Colfax Peak - West Ridge

Trip Date: 10/14/2018

Trip Report:

 

Brief TR and pictures from the west ridge of Colfax yesterday. Huge thanks to Eric Carter for bringing this line into the light and being willing to give a go beta-less. We had his beta so it was perhaps a less stressful endeavor. Sunday morning we looked at the C-H, hoping it would be in, but expecting it wouldn't be, and it wasn't (but getting there). So we wrapped around Colfax (on a pretty major boot pack) to take a look at the west ridge. With hard snow and a fun looking line we started up, following occasional faint boot marks from Eric's party. We opted to solo as we both felt comfortable with the positive, stiff, snow. Climbing was straight forward and very fun up the first steep section to gain the ridge, steepest slope was likely around 55-60 degrees. We followed the ridge to a rock face and saw the snow couloir down to the south, we tied an equivocation hitch, rapped into the gully, pulled and coiled the rope, and continued up. The gully was very easy, perhaps 45 degrees on great snow and steepening up to 55ish near the tight exit with some alpine ice. Here we followed the cliffy headwall left and after a steep soft down-climb into the upper chutes of the C-H (probably the scariest part of the climb, but would be easy to protect with pickets). From there we followed the standard route up to the summit, encountering our steepest climbing (65 degrees? Maybe a few steeper steps? Never actually measured) and a mix of hard snice (snow/ice), breakable crust over powder, and more stiff snow. We had a blast as we wove our way up the chutes toward the top. We must have had our heads down as we climbed because about 150ft from the top we missed an obvious left hand gully that has an easy top out. Instead we ended up with 15 to the top of very steep snice and rime covered rocks, we pitched this out, and Peter lead us to the summit plateau and belayed me up. Route took 3hrs bottom to top only stopping to rappel and pitch out the last section. We descended the East ridge (one rap on good tat) and had to end run a crack on the Coleman all the way to the east, long detour, just as Carter mentioned. Lots of new snow up there but with cold temps things stayed solid and we never punched through any cracks.

 

Colfax ice, sorry no better photos, upper curtain on C-H is not yet fat enough for our ability.

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Looking at the start of the West Ridge

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Missed everything until we were in the couloir

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Sorry I didn't get many photos, here is the first stretch of the upper gullies of the C-H

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Next 2 photos we are already too far right to have an easy top out

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Baker, large y shaped crack requires an end run to the East

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One short rappel on tat to get off the east ridge and to the col between Baker and Colfax

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Long afternoon shadows as we near the trail

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Fun route, deserves more ascents!! If I were to grade it I'd say grade 3, steep snow 65deg ?PG13?. Not sure this route would always get a danger rating, would depend on what the gullies do in the spring, maybe they'd be easier to protect and slightly lower angle. 

 

 

Gear Notes:
Brought screws, pins, cams, and nuts, used none.

Approach Notes:
Heliotrope trail

Edited by PorterM
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