Colfax Peak + Sherman Peak of Mount Baker via Coleman Glacier / 雪曼峯

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Colfax Peak and Sherman Peak are two sub-summits of the famous Mount Baker. Both high points are also on the Washington State Top 100 Peaks list. Coleman Glacier and Easton Glacier are the most common of all route choices.

Colfax Peak summit up ahead
Colfax Peak summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

See this post for Sherman Peak in Pasayten Wilderness.

Colfax Peak and Sherman Peak at a Glance

Access: Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead
Round Trip: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 3680′-10160′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons, snow, rock
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface

After some talks, Lindsay, Duncan, and I teamed up for Colfax Peak and Sherman Peak. We came early in the season, hoping for more snow over the cruxes. To prepare for the trip, I did a conditioner in Teanaway.

We left our snowshoes behind because skiers had been up the mountain recently. So we decided to rely on their trails instead. Snow in the lower Coleman Glacier was excellent, and the tracks were easy to follow.

Entering Mount Baker Wilderness
Entering Mount Baker Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

Heliotrope Ridge Trail to Camp

Snow quality was unpredictable beyond Heliotrope Ridge Trail. So it made reaching the Grant-Colfax saddle seem forever. But glad that postholing didn’t post any issues. Before long, we had made it up to the pass.

So far, we’ve enjoyed the abounding views along the glacier. But at the saddle, we immediately felt the wind gusts going in all directions. It’s our only camp option due to the lack of trees.

Now let's get in formation
Now let’s get in formation

See more trip photos here.

Colfax Peak Climb

We roped up and went for Colfax Peak as soon as we settled in. The bergshrund below the east peak was visible from below. But we found an area with a decent amount of snow to climb over it.

Shortly, we went above the crux. Then we bypassed the east peak on steep slopes. From there, we dropped onto the saddle. Then we did the final climb via the east face. At the same time, we placed pickets on the steep terrain.

Basking in the sun
Basking in the sun

See more trip photos here.

Colfax Peak Summit

The wind continued on the summit. So it was colder than usual. But the fantastic views took our minds off of the gusts. Lincoln Peak on the west looked gnarly. Meanwhile, Grant Peak stared us down from the top.

We stayed just long enough to take in the immense landscape. Alas! It was hard to leave the summit. But we needed to make it back down to our campsite before dark. So we would have enough time to get ready for the next day.

Lincoln Peak from Colfax Peak
Lincoln Peak from Colfax Peak

See more trip photos here.

A Windy Night

The wind was relentless. The noise grew even louder as the evening slowly turned into night. So the three of us tried not to go outside our tents unless necessary. Then we all ate inside the tents.

It was a night of clear night sky. But the constant wind gusts could not have taken me out of the tent to shoot the stars. So I was happy to stay inside and go back to sleep.

Twin Sisters Mountain
Twin Sisters Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Sherman Peak Climb

We wanted to summit Sherman Peak early the following day and left at 8 AM. But we decided to wait for the sun to hit the south slopes first. Soon, we went by Sherman Crater Rim after going through Deming Glacier and Easton Glacier without issues.

The decent snow on the steep Squak Glacier allowed us to go straight up Sherman Peak’s west ridge. From there, the summit was only a steep climb away. We placed one picket 30 feet below the top to avoid sliding down the icy south face.

Sherman Peak up ahead
Sherman Peak up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Sherman Peak Summit

It was a bluebird day with stunning views everywhere we looked. North Cascades to the east were beyond spectacular. Mount Baker was right up in our faces since we were much closer to it now than Colfax Peak.

It wasn’t a roomy summit. We also didn’t stay long because of the constant wind gusts. So we made our way back down to the saddle and took a quick break. Then we retraced our steps back to our windy campsite.

Lincoln Peak and Colfax Peak from Sherman Peak
Lincoln Peak and Colfax Peak from Sherman Peak

See more trip photos here.

Outro

It was early afternoon. Packing up our gear didn’t go as smoothly as we had planned. It was annoying to try taking down the tents while fighting the wind. So by the time we started moving, it was already quite warm.

Coleman Glacier was slushier than the day before and didn’t make glissading enjoyable. The wind later stopped at the bottom of the glacier. Then we were able to exit the area more comfortably.

Group Kodak moment on Sherman Peak
Group Kodak moment on Sherman Peak

See more trip photos here.

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