Turns All Year Trip Reports

2014 Backcountry Trip Reports => June 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: TillyJane on 06/03/14, 12:36 PM



Title: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: TillyJane on 06/03/14, 12:36 PM
One week after celebrating the 1 year birthday of my daughter and 2 days shy of my 33rd, I had the opportunity to venture into the mountains after nearly a yearlong hiatus. Life is good. I’ve had the opportunity to watch my baby grow into a sweet, loving, opinionated, dirt eating, caterpillar chasing, all around fun soul. She reminds me every day how important it is to slow down and keep an open mind about all aspects in life.

Back to the mountains…..back and forth texts with Lars and Antonio about the weekend weather and we quickly set a plan in motion to go and give the South Face of Colfax Peak a try. After all, its in my backyard and all three of us individually have been wanting to ski it ever since Martin Volken and company skied it back in 2006 (thanks for the inspiration Martin!).

We camped at the Schreiber's Meadow trailhead on Saturday night with all the snowmobiles and woke up in time for a 5 AM start. The approach was simple and beautiful. It felt incredible to be up in the alpine again, enjoying it with close friends to boot. On the approach up the Demming glacier, we were treated to views of our objective. There was a clear runnel down the gut of the lower face but could be avoided on skiers right. We made relatively good time to the Baker-Colfax col and were sitting on the summit enjoying the views by 11:30 AM.  We were surprised by how remote Colfax felt given its vicinity to the popular Colman/Demming route. It was especially cool from our vantage to watch all the climbers and skiers enjoying the great day over on Mount Baker.

Given the hour and the intensity of the sun (thankfully the wind kept things slightly cooler than it would have been otherwise), we took a short break and`1 immediately prepared to ski. We considered the hour of the day and the fact that we were going to have to negotiate a steep east facing aspect down low but figured we would assess further when we got there.   Mushy turns off the eastern aspect of the summit brought us to the col at the top of the South face. I got us started off the top with the initial 500 feet or so of really nice corn.  Tony and Lars followed suit with more turns on beautiful corn. The position is striking: a steep face above a broken glacier with the twin Sisters range and San Juan Islands as the backdrop. I lead us through the pinch down low where a runnel down the middle forced us skiers right and a small amount of side slipping was required to negotiate a few rocks and snow that had been cooking about an hour too long. Once we were past this point, it was wide-open turns, a hop across the ‘schrund, followed by more nice turns on the apron.

We regrouped and decided to follow what looked like a nice option compared to contouring upwards on the Deming glacier to regain our track where we originally connected with the Baker-Colfax col. Instead we descended about 500 feet further down the glacier where we spotted a high traverse directly across to the railroad grade. We immediately roped up and Tony took the sharp end and played the role of snow bridge probe. The traverse ended up being really clean and easy…a perfect culmination of the decent. Once back on the grade, all that was left was 2000 feet or so of sloppy turns shared with snowmobiles and we were back at the care sipping ice cold Fremont IPA’s, reminiscing about the day by 3 pm. Thank you to Lars and Tony for a wonderful reintroduction to the mountains.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: TillyJane on 06/03/14, 12:40 PM
A few more pics from the day!


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: hedonaut on 06/03/14, 01:36 PM
looks like a stellar tour, fellas!  welcome (back) to the mtns, TJ.

must check this line out sometime.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: Pinch on 06/03/14, 04:09 PM
Nice one!
Even easier with a snowmobile assist ;)
But maybe not as rewarding? Cheers.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: TillyJane on 06/03/14, 05:25 PM
I meant it to read we were sharing the parking area and approach with a bunch of sleds. We in fact were not using snowmobiles.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: Pinch on 06/03/14, 05:31 PM
Sorry, I meant it to read that I have done that run with a snowmobile assist!! LOL. My typing communication breakdown!
Again, NICE RUN! And great pic #3 of "the rod of GOD".
You all look very satisfied :)


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: H2oskier on 06/03/14, 05:40 PM
It was definitely a super fun outing and a great route.  Not much to add, except Casey ripping!  Thanks guys......


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: Pete_H on 06/03/14, 06:46 PM
Nice one gents. Looks like a great ski and even better company.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: ajjenkin on 06/03/14, 09:26 PM
Thanks for the memorial to our first trip >7k since parenthood Casey!  A fine write up.  I have nothing to add except a photo near the base of the "rod".  Thanks again guys, and happy bday Casey.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: samthaman on 06/04/14, 07:10 AM
nice, that's a steep one!


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: ryanl on 06/04/14, 07:56 AM
Nice to see you guys out and about! Looks like a fun trip


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: ebeam on 06/04/14, 10:00 AM
Sweet trip Casey. You picked a great day and location for 1 trip a year. Hope you can get out a bit more in the future.


Title: Re: June 1, 2014, Colfax Peak, South Face
Post by: eze on 06/06/14, 01:37 PM

Great to see you guys out there and on a sweet looking trip.  Cheers to the multiple celebrations all around... birthdays and mountain returns.  Looking forward to catching you guys for the next one.


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