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| | |-+  Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
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Author Topic: Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008  (Read 3250 times)

Posts: 121

Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
« on: 08/13/08, 08:45 PM »

Don "Rusty Knees" and I headed to the North side of Mt. Baker this past weekend in search of the best skiing we could find. After getting some reports from Wolf 'wolfs" that the snow out of Artist's Point was cupped and visibility poor we camped at the top of chair two for the evening. The next morning we headed back to glacier and thought over our options while sipping coffee and eating scones from the Wake-and-Bakery as light rain fell. After some mulling and putzing about town, including a stop to the ranger station, we decided to head up Heliotrope ridge with hopes of waking to some fresh snow in August from the 6,000 foot freezing level.
We felt a strong urge to go for the summit.

Our hike started out with moderate rain for the first hour, and then gradual clearing to a beautiful afternoon/evening break. Thinking the weather was going to stay fair, we decided to set camp around 6,200 feet at the edge of the coleman glacier. We clibed about 600 feet up to get in a few turns, and found the cupped snow to be soft and productive for some good turns. Clouds moved back in shortly, and a light rain had us sitting in a tent for the rest of the evening wishing we'd brought cards, book, cribbage, etc... Light rain made way to heavy rain that persisted through the entire night and well into the morning; don and I agreed that our sleeping pads became islands of dry safety as everything else we had was drenched. Visibility was nil when we woke up at 4:30, and we didn't start climbing until 10 am. Several climbers were coming down as we headed up saying it was too difficult to see. We decided we wanted to shoot for as many turns as possible, and hoped for some fresh lines up high.

At 7,000 feet we found 3 inches of wet fresh snow, and by 8,000 feet it was 6'' of the "driest" August powder I've ever skiied. I get to say that because I've never skiied in August, and this will count as month one for me. Around 1:30 the sun finally graced us with it's presence, and at 8,500 feet we decided to head back for our turns of glory. From that point to 7,500 feet the fresh snow felt light under foot as it sat atop a smooth, firm base; from 7,500 to 6,800 feet it was mank, and from 6,800 to 6,000 it was wet, slick, cupped corn that was fast and fun. We felt the day was won, broke camp, and headed to the North Fork Beer Shrine to celebrate. Maybe next year I won't miss turns in July, so I can feel a bit more like a veteran...but I'm diggin my rebirth into TAY after some sweet August freshies...and once again "rusty knees" was their to bear witness my baptism to a life of endless powder.

I'd include images, but I have to admit I don't know how to thumbnail them down to 200k in size in order to post. If anyone can offer guidance here I'd greatly appreciate it, and promise pics in the future, thanks!

Also, a side note about not considering the essentials of safely travelling in the mountains. After I loaded my pack onto my back at the car, with much effort, I realized my sunglasses were left inside and I'd have to take my pack off to get the out. Thinking it would remain cloudy, and I'd be fine...I left them there. As you might imagine, I got a fair dose of UV from filtered sun and the half hour of full sun which proved extremely detrimental. I woke in the middle of the night Sunday to my eyes burning and feeling like sandpaper, then uncontrollably crying and cringing and my eyes nearly swollen shut by morning. After a trip to the hospital and three days of rest with medication I can finally go outside again. Just a reminder to everyone, and mostly myself...always bring eye protection and sunblock!

Snow Bell

Posts: 532

Re: Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
« Reply #1 on: 08/13/08, 08:59 PM »

Nice Brad.

Like I told Don the other day; way to be in the right place at the right time.

Sorry to hear about the eyes.  I mostly ski with mine closed for that very reason.  Although next time my wife catches my crying while watching Oprah, I'll claim snow blindness.

Life is going to slide by you one way or another

Posts: 563

Re: Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
« Reply #2 on: 08/13/08, 09:34 PM »

Rusty Knees and I have been trying to link up for turns for quite awhile. If it hadn't been for my son's (and his new bride's) open house on the weekend, I may have very well been with you guys in the fresh snow.
« Last Edit: 08/13/08, 10:39 PM by Telemon » Logged

Git down, Brothers and Sisters of the Church of the Telemark..What do you mean it is a turn not a religion?
Don Heath

Posts: 836

Re: Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
« Reply #3 on: 08/13/08, 10:21 PM »

     Nice report, Brad!  Great climbing and skiing with you.  I'm glad your eyes are on the mend.  Thanks for doing all the driving.  Your tele-technique is smooth, fast and inspiring, almost as inspiring as watching you select and open micro-brews with your bare hands.  Thanks for being my younger and wiser mentor in so many ways. Grin

     The skiing was amazing!  I almost forgot that most important of all skiing maxims...  "You don't know if you don't go."  At 4:30 in the morning I was ready to accept that our Saturday turns were going to be it for the trip, and they were good enough.  As it "turned" out, the only thing that could have made the day any better would have been to get our wet lazy butts out of bed and on up the mountain earlier, higher up and further in (CS Lewis "The Final Battle".)  I'm still wondering what the next 100 or so feet would have been like.

     Skiing over a few small cracks was a wee bit unnerving, especially the one I didn't see till I was skidding over it. Embarrassed  I know, I know, you're able to jump 'em.  Me, I just try think light.  This white guy can't jump.  Let's do it again! 

     And as for a rebirth of TAY- I think missing July is over rated.  You made it every month since last October with me.  Great job.  Maybe there will be a new website: Turns Almost All Year.

The best part of summer skiing is napping on a warm rock.

Posts: 228

Re: Coleman Glacier with fresh snow! August 9-10, 2008
« Reply #4 on: 08/14/08, 02:05 AM »

Sounds like you guys had a great time!!  Thanks for the great report.  I agree with Rusty Knees, missing July is not the end of the world.  But please, I'm dying to see some photos!!  If you have them somewhere else on the web or can put them up somewhere, (ex. Picasa or Flickr) Click modify on the top right hand side of your post.  Then click on the "Tb" button next to where it says "add image tags" and enter the URL of where ever you put your photos where it says "enter URL here".  Thanks in advance!!
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