Coleman-Deming - 2018


August 12, 2018 -Coleman-Deming Glacier

Road Access: Glacier Creek Road was open and clear to Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. The parking lot has been overflowing on weekends. Please park courteously along the side of the road, leaving plenty of room for other cars to get through.

Trail Status: Heliotrope Ridge Trail was melted out and in excellent condition to Hogsback and Harrison Camps. Creeks were running high in the afternoons.

Snow Level: 5800 feet

Snow Observations: Soft snow on most of the route with very little refreezing happening overnight. Some sections of bare glacier were beginning to appear on various parts of the route.

Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Coleman and Deming Glaciers was more challenging than usual and most climbing parties were not able to reach the summit this weekend. The initial sections of the route were fairly straightforward. There were a few large crevasses between Black Buttes and Colfax Peak, but these could be crossed on snow bridges that appeared to be solid. The icefall on Colfax Peak remains very active and all climbing parties should minimize the time they spend beneath this unpredictable hazard. 

9000ft, crevasse before saddle
Hazardous snow bridge/ramp over 9000ft crevasse
The main difficulty on the route was a very large crevasse that intersects the route at approximately 8900 feet, just below Coleman Saddle. This crevasse spans the entire width of the glacier, from the rock of the Roman Mustache on the climber’s left to Colfax Peak on the right. There was a snow bridge/ramp toward the climber’s right side of this crevasse, and this ramp appeared to be the only feasible route forward. However, the ramp was steep, exposed, and melting quickly. Experienced and technically skilled mountaineers may be able to climb and descend the ramp using belays, running protection, and other advanced techniques, but it will be changing daily and it may soon become impassible. Novice climbers should not attempt it.

Hogsback Camp was mostly free of snow and running water was available throughout the area. Mice and ravens have been active recently, so please remember to store your food in animal-proof containers when leaving it at camp. As always, pack out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another system. Help us protect our water sources and keep the mountain clean for future visitors. Thanks and happy climbing!


 
July 22, 2018 - Coleman-Deming Glacier




Road Access: Glacier Creek Road was open and clear to Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. The parking lot has been overflowing on weekends, so please park courteously along the sides of the road, leaving plenty of space for other cars to get through.

Trail Status: Heliotrope Ridge Trail was snowfree and in excellent condition to Harrison and Hogsback Camps. Creeks have been running high, especially on hot afternoons. Be prepared to wade if necessary. Trekking poles can be helpful for slippery crossings.

Snow Level: Appx. 5800 feet
Snow Observations: Soft corn snow on most aspects and elevations. Some patches of bare glacier were beginning to appear along the route. Suncups and deep runnels were developing at lower elevations.
 
Short snow crossing below Hogsback Camp.

Route Observations and Additional Information
: The route up the Coleman and Deming glaciers has been busy the past few weeks. Crevasses are appearing on the initial face above Hogsback Camp and will soon be growing larger. The bootpack travels to the climber’s right before cutting back toward the Black Buttes.

A very large ice avalanche recently released from Colfax Peak and the bootpack travels through the debris field. This event serves as a good reminder to never take breaks or slow your pace when beneath this hanging ice. Get an early alpine start on your summit attempt and plan to be off the glacier by the hottest part of the day. The Colfax icefall is a significant objective hazard that carries inherent risk. Further collapses are possible.

There are several large crevasses below Coleman Saddle, but the bootpack travels over snow bridges that appear to be solid and have some life left. However, this area will be changing quickly and all climbing parties should assess crevasse crossings carefully. Pumice Ridge is snowfree and the rock band on the Roman Wall is partly melted out. The summit register on Grant Peak is melted out and awaiting your entries.


All the tent pads at Hogsback Camp are melted out and running water is available throughout the area. Camps have been very busy on weekends. If you can’t find an established site, remember to camp on hard, durable surfaces where you will not impact fragile alpine vegetation. Mice and ravens have been active recently. Store food in animal proof containers when leaving it at camp.

As always, pack out all human waste and garbage (including toilet paper) using blue bags or another system. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Center in Glacier and at many trailheads. Helps us protect our water sources and keep the mountain clean for future visitors. Thanks and happy climbing!
 
This garbage and waste was collected at Hogsback Camp on a single weekend. 


July 17, 2018 - Coleman-Deming Glaciers

Road Access: Glacier Creek Road is open and clear to Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. The trailhead has been very busy recently, so please remember to park your vehicle in a courteous manner, leaving plenty of room for other cars to get past.

Trail Status: Heliotrope Ridge Trail was mostly snowfree to Hogsback and Harrison Camps. Creek crossings were running high in the afternoons. Remember that the water level can rise rapidly during warm days. Be prepared to wade across if necessary.

Snow Level: Appx. 5500 feet
Snow Observations: We found soft snow on most of the route with very little recovery occurring overnight. There were also several small sections of bare glacier beginning to melt out.


Route Observations and Additional Information: The route up the Coleman and Deming glaciers was in typical mid-season condition. Several large crevasses were developing on the initial face above Hogsback Camp and some parties were choosing to angle to the climber’s right to avoid these hazards before turning back toward the Black Buttes. As usual, ice fall beneath Colfax Peak continues to pose a hazard, but most climbing parties were doing a good job of moving through this section quickly to minimize their exposure. There was a major crevassed section beneath Coleman Saddle, but the route traveled over what appeared to be solid snow bridges. This section will change quickly in the next few weeks and all parties should assess crossings and route decisions carefully before proceeding. Pumice Ridge was melted out and the rock band on the Roman Wall was beginning to appear. The summit register on Grant Peak still remained under snow. 


There were 30-40 dry tent sites at Hogsback Camp and running water available throughout the area. Ravens and mice were very active, so make sure to store your food and garbage in an animal proof container.

Finally, please remember to 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 Glacier. Please help us protect our water source and keep the mountain clean for future visitors. Thanks and happy climbing!


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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