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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman
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Author Topic: April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman  (Read 3660 times)

Posts: 287

April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman
« on: 04/19/10, 09:41 AM »

Headed up to Glacier to meet up with Steve (visiting from Tahoe) after picking up Rafe in Everett.
Drove the Eurovan camper for a nice trailherad camp and arrived @ 7. Able to drive just short of Mile 7 on the road, so only a short hike to get to the trailhead. Grouse Creek appears to be OUT. AT least the route starting @ the trailhead. Talked to a another skier that drove a snowmobile to the higher road and used Grouse to access the Thunder Glacier.

The trail was snow covered, but won't be for much longer. Skinning that trail sucks, I'd rather walk it (I think). Lower ridgeline was very hard snow, difficult to skin on, especially at the steeper sections. Always happy that I bring ski crampons. We hiked up the lower coleman and headed towards high camp. It was very windy on the upper mountain, as we saw huge gusts come off of the saddle and along the upper ridgeline by the roman wall. We also heard some seracs come off of Colfax Peak earlier in the day and saw that they took out some of the trail on the way up as it traverses the Coleman.

We decided against a summit bid due to a late start (6:30), wind and the serac fall. We opted for the highpoint on Heliotrope which had up to 50mph gusts. Variable conditions on the way down, but the lower terminal headwall of the Coleman offered some good carving, then soft corn to the trees.

The ski out on the trail was difficult to say the least. I only hugged a few trees on the way out
It went quick and we got to the road and skied all the way to the car by 1:30.

The Coleman Glacier is in excellent condition right now and I saw no visible crevasses along the route. It's possible the 2 Canadians we saw ski off the summit will chime in on the upper mountain conditions.

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Life is short, spray hard

Re: April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Col
« Reply #1 on: 04/19/10, 01:43 PM »

Hey Scott and crew. That was I on the snowmobile. I caught a photo of one of the powder clouds coming off the Colfax Icefall. The wind was sure loading it up! The Headwall above the Thunder Gl. was pretty nice powder snow, transitioning to a mixed bag near the Thunder Gl. Icefall, then corn below and down into the basin. Great corn on Marmot Ridge near the Warm Cr. chutes heading back to Grouse Ridge.

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« Last Edit: 04/19/10, 05:34 PM by TobyT » Logged
Alan Brunelle

Posts: 383

Re: April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Coleman
« Reply #2 on: 04/19/10, 09:48 PM »


By the Grouse route being "out" do you mean the ski up via that drainage?  I hope you don't mean that the crossing of the creek to the trail is out of service like a couple of years ago.  I don't want to have to do that log-of-death thing again.

Any estimate of how long till the road will be clear?  Probably a meaningless assessment since it was a pretty short hike for you, but if the road gets more snowfall on it it would be good to know the state of the road before any new snowfall.

Thanks, and nice trip.


Toby, that is the second trip report that I have seen from the Thunder and it looks real nice in there.  I will have to figure out the route in.


Re: April 18, 2010: Mt Baker, Heliotrope Ridge/Col
« Reply #3 on: 04/20/10, 05:54 PM »

Alan, the trail bridge is good to go. The creek snowbridges over Grouse Cr. route never really formed this year. The road was being attempted further by people in high clearance vehicles when I came down Sunday. There are a couple of "cold corners" that will have snow, even when there is bare road above. You can probably count on the road being clear to the turn off/ first view area/ "parking permit" required sign (just shy of the TH) in two weeks if it doesn't snow below 3700'. Right now you can park at mile 7 of 8 miles to the TH.
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