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[TR] Kulshan - Coleman-Deming 01/15/2019 No Summit

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Trip: Kulshan - Coleman-Deming

Trip Date: 01/15/2019

Trip Report:


I want to give thanks and raise my hands to the Lummi Nation for this safe, successful and amazing trip into their territory and for the company of Kulshan. 



Drove fairly high up near the trail head with a Subaru WRX, hardly within a 10 min. walk in fact. Super awesome, just need to navigate a thick berm roughly 3 miles down from trailhead. 

This short distance probably saved us an hour, so starting by 0345 looked super good. 


Skinned maybe 15 minutes on road before reaching trailhead, transitioned into walk mode on some thin forest coverage. Trail was 95% clear until it wasn’t. Walked for around 40min – one hour before switching into touring. Gained the bottom of Heliotrope Ridge. I was able skin directly up in Magic Carpets, sadly my buddy was forced to carry with his set of mole-hairs. 


Upon gaining a lower terrace of the ridge, we encountered two gentleman who were super stoked on their coming attempt on Cosley-Houston route on Colfax. After stoking each-others’ fire, we parted. Shortly after we threw on ski crampons, which turned useless as I fell about 5m about hitting their tent. Sorry guys, it hurt my pride than anything. So thus, started the stair-master climb for about 1,000’ up to around 6,8000’ where we returned to the sweet skinning life. Gliding out towards the far skiers’ right of the ridge, after examining the route we pressed on maintaining a high traverse along the flanks of Coleman-Deming. 


Moving towards the center of the football field, encountered possible wind deposited snow, was harmless but still there. From there navigated through football field, opting for a middle-ish route, towards gaining a small hump parallel to a fatty which was slowly filled in. Containing only one real bridge crossing, it appeared to be filled in more to the right (skiers’ left) and surely with quick movement – or luck – it held, providing no gut-wrenching moments for either of us. Moving forward, the glacier turned more into terraces featuring zigzagging crevasses, although small, daunting and thinner than expected. The decision prior to the climb was to not bring crevasse kits in expectation of a larger snowpack, it will be there after this storm cycle this week but not thick enough for my taste. Thus, below the serac directly skiers’ left, we turned around. 


Switching back to ski mode, careful navigation down was required. Once reaching 500’ lower, we encountered the two men from around 5am – they were not so stoked this time as they were death marching along our path in boots. Anyway, continued back our ascent path, but opting for gaining the top of Heliotrope for a small photoshoot. Enjoying the clear skies and beautiful company of Kulshan, we had not failed at the end of the day. 


The ski down, for me, was alright. Not the best with weight on my back, it looked quite more enjoyable for my buddy though. Seems like the route would be much better all-around after a good cycle. Followed ascent path down, was able to ski a solid distance into the forest before carrying skis for maybe 20-30 min. Upon reaching the trailhead, the forest service was delightfully groomed. Back to car around 12, Bellingham 1330.


Drove out to Bellingham for a fat burrito lunch and beer – highly recommend, their Mexican food options were superb. 


Photos courtesy of my awesome homie, Billy K., he's da man

Gear Notes:
Ski crampons, whippet, crampons, ice axe

Approach Notes:
Forest walk was alright, just bring some music.

Edited by Noveric
inserted photos, added failed in title
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Totally! We initially parked about 4 miles down trail where there was another car and a right turn away from the main road. But the next morning, we quickly realized it might be possible after walking for 5min. - definitely recommend if I was able to get a low-clearance 2011 WRX over the berm!

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@eberman if you haven't already definitely check out the new post in N. Cascades regarding this - I bet this member will have sufficient photos

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If the berm had a sign on it that says something to the effect of "no wheeled vehicles beyond this point" then you broke the law.  If caught driving beyond the sign I've been told that the fine is $5000.  I've read a lot of posts on various climbing groups suggesting that it's a good idea to ignore the sign and drive all the way to the trail head, don't do.

If you stopped when you reached the sign then thank you and it looks like you had a great day out in the mountains.

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After seeing the sign on the Easton trailhead, I can confirm my friend nor I saw a sign regarding no further travel but good to keep in mind in the future. 

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