Easton Glacier - 2018

May 12, 2018 - Easton Glacier 

Road Access: Road #12 was open and clear of snow to the junction with Road #13. Road #13 was clear of snow to within about 2 miles of Schreibers Meadow Trailhead. The snowpack has been melting rapidly and it will not be long before visitors can park much closer to the trailhead. Please park courteously along the side of the road, leaving plenty of space for large vans, trucks, and trailers to get past.

Trail Status: Park Butte and Scott Paul trails were completely snow covered from about half a mile below the trailhead. There were a lot of snowmobilers using the National Recreation Area and they are allowed to do so until there is less than two feet of snow at the trailhead. Snow bridges over creeks and other hazards are treacherous this time of year because they can melt out from below and be much thinner than they appear from above. We prefer to use some sort of flotation—such as snowshoes or skis—to distribute our weight across the snowpack, making for safer and more efficient travel.

Snow Level: Continuous snow coverage above approximately 3200 feet.
Snow Observations: We found soft corn snow on all aspects with little overnight recovery occurring due to the warm temperatures. We received reports of some icy sections and breakable crust above 8000 feet.

Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Easton Glacier was in typical early-season form, with good snow coverage on most crevasses and a direct route from Sandy Camp to the 8500-foot bench. There were several large crevasses beginning to open in the corridor section below Sherman Crater, and this area will change rapidly as the winter snowpack melts. There were also several cracks beginning to open on the final summit wall, but these were easily end run by traversing to the climber’s left. Grant Peak was under snow.

Sandy Camp and Climbers Camp were still mostly snow covered, although a few dry tent pads were beginning to melt out along the ridgeline and more will be melting out in coming weeks. There was still no running water visible around camp. Overnight visitors should remember to bring extra fuel for melting snow.

As always, please pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another system. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Center in Sedro Woolley. Help us protect our water sources and our wilderness so that all visitors may enjoy it. Thanks and happy climbing!

Squak Glacier - 2018

May 12, 2018 - Squak Glacier 
Schreibers Meadow was still under more than two feet of snow. 
Road Access: Road #12 was open and clear of snow to the junction with Road #13. Road #13 was clear of snow to within about 2 miles of Schreibers Meadow Trailhead. The snowpack has been melting rapidly and it will not be long before visitors can park much closer to the trailhead. Please park courteously along the side of the road, leaving plenty of space for large vans, trucks, and trailers to get past.

Trail Status: Park Butte and Scott Paul trails were completely snow covered from about half a mile below the trailhead. There were a lot of snowmobilers using the National Recreation Area and they are allowed to do so until there is less than two feet of snow at the trailhead. Snow bridges over creeks and other hazards are treacherous this time of year because they can melt out from below and be much thinner than they appear from above. We prefer to use some sort of flotation—such as snowshoes or skis—to distribute our weight across the snowpack, making for safer and more efficient travel.
Rocky Creek and the Metcalf Moraine area are still covered in snow. 
Snow Level: Continuous snow coverage above approximately 3200 feet.
Snow Observations: We found soft corn snow on all aspects with little overnight recovery occurring due to the warm temperatures. We received reports of some icy sections and breakable crust above 8000 feet.

Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Squak Glacier was in typical early-season form, with good snow coverage on most crevasses and direct route finding to Sherman Crater. Cracks were already beginning to appear on the upper summit wall, but these were easily end run by traversing to the climber’s left. Grant Peak was under snow.
Only minor suncupping was developing on the Squak Glacier. 

The route was is typical early-season form. 
Cragview Camp was under snow with no running water visible. Overnight visitors should remember to bring extra fuel for melting snow. Snow anchors for your tent would also be a good idea. 

As always, please pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another system. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Center in Sedro Woolley. Help us protect our water sources and our wilderness so that all visitors may enjoy it. Thanks and happy climbing!

Coleman Headwall - 2018

May 14, 2016 - Coleman Headwall 




May 6, 2018 - Coleman Headwall 


North Ridge - 2018

May 14,2016 - North Ridge 


There was an avalanche crown visible above the ice pitches on the upper lobe of glacier. 



May 6, 2018 - North Ridge 
Several bootpacks were visible ascending the apron to gain the ridge.


Coleman-Deming - 2018

May 14, 2016 - Coleman-Deming Glacier 
Road Access: Glacier Creek Road was clear of snow to within about a mile of Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. A few cars with four-wheel drive were able to get closer by making it over a patch of snow, but these were still at least three quarters of a mile from the trailhead. However, the snowpack was melting fast and it will not be long before cars will be able to make it much closer. Please remember to park courteously along the side of the road, leaving plenty of space for vans, trucks, and trailers to get past.

Trail Status: Heliotrope Ridge Trail was partly snow covered and partly bare for the first 1.5 miles or more. We carried our skis from the car and were not able to skin until just below the old Kulshan cabin site. From there, we skinned up the Kulshan Creek drainage to Hogsback Camp. Snow bridges over creeks and other hazards were very treacherous and we punched our boots into holes several times as we were hiking. The snowpack can melt out from below and it is often much thinner than it appears from above. We saw a lot of footprints cutting switchbacks, which causes severe damage to the trails and sensitive vegetation. Just because someone else did it and it looks like a quicker route doesn’t mean you need to follow. Please stay on the trail unless your alternate route is completely snow covered and you are not touching the soil.
Please do not cut switchbacks. This causes erosion on the trail. 
The trailhead was beginning to melt out, but you couldn't drive up there quite yet. 
Snow Level: Patchy snow from 3000 feet to 4600 feet. Continuous snow above that.
Snow Observations: We found soft corn snow on most aspects and elevations with little overnight recovery occurring. The Roman Wall was reportedly icy when skied at 1200 and it had softened up by 1400. Lower down, the snowpack was wet, sticky, and heavy due to the warm temperatures.

View of the route toward Coleman Saddle from Heliotrope Ridge.
Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Coleman and Deming glaciers was in typical early-season condition, with good snow coverage over most of the large crevasses. The bootpack and skin tracks traveled directly up the initial face above Hogsback Camp, contoured along the football field area, and began traversing beneath the Black Buttes toward Coleman Saddle. The route went very close to the hanging ice on Colfax Peak, which was making noise and releasing small ice avalanches throughout the day. If one of the larger seracs were to collapse, it would certainly impact the route. Do not spend any more time beneath this hazard than you absolutely have to and consider looking for alternate routes that keep you away from the hangfire. We also saw several large crevasses beginning to open up just below the saddle. This area will become successively more broken and complex as the season progresses, so make sure to assess snow bridges and route choices carefully. Pumice Ridge was covered in snow but melting quickly. The rock band on the Roman Wall was still under the snow, as was the summit register on Grant Peak.
The route was in typical early-season condition. 
The rock band on the Roman Wall was still under snow.
Hogsback Camp was still covered in snow and no running water was visible. There were several dry tent sites available on Gargoyle Rock and more sites will be melting out soon.

We found way too much garbage and human waste around Hogsback Camp. All visitors, even those who aren’t spending the night, must pack up and carry out their waste. Burying your poop in the snow is not an acceptable method. It will not biodegrade and will eventually make it into our water sources. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Center in Glacier, Washington and there is now a blue bag dispenser installed at Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. Thanks for helping us keep the wilderness clean and beautiful for everyone! Thanks and happy climbing!

May 6, 2018 - Coleman-Deming Glacier

Glacier Creek Road was covered in snow about 1.5 miles below the trailhead. 
Road Access: Glacier Creek Road was melted out to approximately 1.5 miles below Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. The road was mostly covered with snow thereafter, although it was melting fast over the hot weekend. Please remember to park courteously along the side of the road, allowing plenty of space for cars, vans, and large trucks to get past.

Trail Status: Heliotrope Ridge Trail was mostly snow covered from the trailhead to Hogsback and Harrison camps and the glacier overlook. There were several patches of bare trail and places where the snowpack was melting more rapidly. Watch out for unstable snow bridges over creeks and other hazards. The snowpack can melt from below and the bridges may be much thinner than they appear from above. We prefer to use some sort of flotation—such as snowshoes or skis—this time of year because it is safer and more efficient.
Heliotrope Ridge Trail was mostly snow covered with a few open patches.
For skiers and splitboarders, the alternate approach up the Grouse Creek drainage was mostly snow covered and made for a much more direct descent than skiing down the trail. We were able to skin and ski this route, only taking off our skis to walk over a handful of bare sections. The steep slopes on the upper part of the drainage had signs of wet, loose avalanche activity.  
The approach up Grouse Creek drainage was a good option for skiers and splitboarders. 
Snow Level: Appx. 3200 feet
Snow Observations: We found corn snow on most of the route, with a few icy sections higher up and heavy, wet snow lower down. This time of year, the snow conditions will largely depend on your timing. For skiers and splitboarders, the Roman Wall was reportedly icy at 12:00 and creamy at 13:00. Since you will be descending more than 6000 vertical feet from the summit, you will likely encounter a variety of conditions on your descent. If you’re getting an early start from the trailhead, ski crampons will be useful in the Grouse Creek drainage as the snow was fairly hard in the morning.

Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Coleman and Deming glaciers was in typical early-season condition, with generally good snow coverage and few visible crevasses. From Hogsback Camp, the bootpack traveled directly up the initial face before gaining the Football Field and angling past the Black Buttes toward Coleman Saddle. We observed fresh debris in the icefall area below Colfax Peak. We always like to remind climbers to give this overhead hazard the widest possible birth, move past it quickly, and avoid stopping for a break until reaching the saddle. There were several crevasses just below the saddle, but crossings were relatively straightforward and snow bridges appeared to be solid. This area has some of the largest crevasses on the route and it will be changing quickly as the summer progresses, so all visitors should assess crossings and route choices for themselves. Pumice Ridge was snow covered, as was the rock band on the upper Roman Wall. The summit register on Grant Peak remains under snow as well.
The Coleman-Deming route is in typical early-season form. 
There were no dry tent sites at Hogsback Camp and no running water available. Campers should be prepared to camp on snow and bring enough fuel to melt snow for water.
Human waste at Hogsback Camp. Don't be this person! 
Unfortunately, we found a lot of human waste around the camps. This is completely unacceptable! Waste left in the snow will not biodegrade and will eventually make its way into our water sources, not to mention it’s just plain ugly. All human waste MUST be collected with blue bags or another system, carried out, and deposited in a trash receptacle in Glacier. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Center in Glacier. If you see someone who doesn’t pack out their waste, please inform them of the blue bag policy and make sure they follow it. Don’t be that person who, out of laziness or squeamishness, ruins the wilderness experience for everyone.

Thanks and happy climbing!

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