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[TR] Colfax Peak - Ford's Theatre 5/9/2015

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Trip: Colfax Peak - Ford's Theatre


Date: 5/9/2015


Trip Report:

Thank you, Andrew Fabian and Dana Bellows for putting this route up in late April. Their trip report made it look like another fun ice route on what is now a very familiar NW face and it was an easy decision for Dale and I to head back up there after great success on the Polish Route the weekend before.


Dale's primary desire was to ski Baker while mine was to climb ice, so we compromised. Our harebrained plan was to climb Ford's Theatre with skis on our backs, descend to the Colfax-Baker saddle, and then skin up the Roman Wall to the Baker summit before skiing down.


We left Seattle at 4:30am on Saturday morning and were hiking up the trail by around 7:30am. As we were skinning up to the route, we saw a party of three low on the Polish Route and a pair of two guys bailing from the Cosley-Houston, mentioning that the ice was pretty rotten. Nevertheless, we finished up the approach to see what was in store for us up there. Skis were quite handy as a bunch of new snow had fallen since last weekend.



Heading up to the route



On the crux with some silly-looking skis on his back



Finishing the ice pitch


Dale headed up on our 70m lead line at about noon and found the ice in better condition than it looked from afar. Things had thinned up since the FA and there was a bit of 'spring cleaning' to be done near the crux to enable safe passage to the upper steps, but it went smoothly for a full rope length to the couloir above. I had to move the belay pretty far away from the route to get out of the line of fire of some big chunks. Once I met him at the belay, Dale suggested that I move quickly as the three screws he'd placed were fully in the sun. I'd been thoroughly showered by running water on my way up and didn't need any more motivation, knowing it was only getting warmer.



Finishing the ice pitch with a great view of Lincoln. It is Ford's Theatre after all.



Heading up the couloir toward the shared finish with the Cosley-Houston



Looking down from near the top


After a bit of low-angle ice, the couloir turned to steep snow with secure steps, but little in the way of protection. After making it over a knife-edge ridge, I traversed to the Cosley-Houston exit and we finished simul-climbing to the summit at about 2pm.


After downing lunch on the summit, we descended to the saddle, left our technical gear, and skinned to the summit of Baker at around 4:30pm. It was incredibly warm with no breeze and felt like being on a beach. Dale enjoyed himself thoroughly on the ski down while I successfully survival skied through the sloppy snow. Good times and a great linkup for those inclined.



Skinning up the Roman Wall on Baker with a view to our descent from Colfax


Gear Notes:

Used: 12 screws

Didn't use: 3 pins


Approach Notes:

Easy hike and skin. Snow was plenty soft to not need ski crampons by the time we hit it at 8:30am.

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Awesome work! Way to kill it! You guys are on quite the roll. Also cool to see a stronger party string it all together into a single 70m pitch, and with skis on your backs nonetheless!


I'm glad someone was able to get on it again this season! I am very interested to see how often this route comes in in future years.

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