Colfax Peak + Sherman Peak / 科爾法克斯峯+雪曼峯

Colfax Peak summit up ahead
Colfax Peak summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

For Sherman Peak in the Mount Baker Wilderness, see this post.

The Lowdown on Colfax Peak and Sherman Peak

Access: Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3680′-10160′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons, snow, rock
GPS Track: available

Heliotrope Ridge Trail

By climbing these two peaks earlier in the season, we had the advantage of snow coverage over cruxes. We decided to leave snowshoes behind since skiers had gone up the mountain recently. Snow in the lower part of Coleman Glacier was excellent. So ski and boot tracks were easy to follow.

But depending on snow conditions on the glacier, getting to our campsite on the Grant-Colfax saddle took some time. So going through the upper glacier felt like taking forever. It was a relief to find that postholing wasn’t much of an issue. Eventually, we made it to up to our camp in decent time.

Now let's get into formation
Now let’s get into formation

See more trip photos here.

Colfax Peak Climb

On the saddle, the wind blew in all directions. So there weren’t options for setting up our tents away from the gusts. After setting in, we roped up and headed straight for Colfax Peak. The bergshrund below the east peak was visible from below. But we found a section with better snow coverage to climb over it.

After getting above the crux, we then went around the east peak on steep slopes. From there, we dropped onto the saddle for the final climb via the east face. We placed several pickets along the way on steep terrain.

The intimidation is real
The intimidation is real

See more trip photos here.

Colfax Peak Summit

The wind continued to blow on the summit; it was cold. But the breathtaking view took our minds off of the coldness. The gnarly looking Lincoln Peak was right below us on the west. Meanwhile, Grant Peak was staring us down from the east. Alas! It was hard to leave the summit, but we needed to make it back down to camp before dark.

The wind was relentless, and it even grew more significant as the evening slowly turned into night. All three of us tried not to go outside of our tents unless it was necessary. It was a night of clear night sky. But the constant wind gusts foiled my plan to do night photography.

Lincoln Peak from Colfax Peak
Lincoln Peak from Colfax Peak

See more trip photos here.

Sherman Peak Climb

Next morning, our goal was to move by 8 AM so we could summit Sherman Peak at a decent time. But we ended up waiting for the sun to light up the southern aspect of the volcano. Traveling to the base of the Sherman Crater Rim was straightforward. We roped up and efficiently crossed both Deming and Easton Glaciers.

Sufficient snow on the steep Squak Glacier enabled us to climb onto the saddle of Sherman Peak west ridge. Then from there, it was just a steep ascent to the top. We placed one picket 30 feet below the summit to keep from sliding down the icy south face.

Sherman Peak
Sherman Peak

See more trip photos here.

Sherman Peak Summit Plus Outro

Amazing views all around, especially view to North Cascades mountains on the east side. Mount Baker was practically in our faces since it was a lot closer now than on Colfax Peak. Summit wasn’t spacious, and apart from the constant wind blowing, we didn’t stay for very long. After getting back down to the saddle, we followed our tracks back down on the glaciers and back to camp.

Breaking camp didn’t go as smooth as I had hoped, as we continued to fight the wind. Since it was early afternoon when we began to descend, it had already become pretty warm. By then, Coleman Glacier had much more slush compared with the day before. So glissading was virtually impossible in most places. The wind eventually stopped at the bottom of the glacier before we got back on the trail.

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

See more trip photos here.

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