Photos from this trip can be found here.
By climbing these two peaks earlier in the season, we had the advantage of better snow coverage over the cruxes. There had been lots of recent skiing activities on the mountain, so we left our snowshoes behind. Snow travel in the lower section of Coleman Glacier was generally good, and ski and boot tracks were good and easy to follow. But depending on snow conditions on the glacier, getting from upper section of glacier to our camp on the Grant-Colfax saddle was more or less a slog. Although ostholing issue wasn’t nearly as bad as we anticipated and we made it to camp in good time.
Wind was blowing in all directions on the saddle, so we didn’t have many options for pitching our tents. After setting up camp, we quickly roped up and headed for Colfax Peak. Bergshrund below east peak of Colfax was visible from below, and we found a section with better snow coverage to climb over it. After getting over the crux, we traversed around the east peak on steep slopes before dropping down onto the saddle for the final ascent via Colfax’s east face. We placed pickets along the way when terrain got really steep.
Summit was cold as wind continued to blow, but the breathtaking view took our minds off of the cold for a while. Gnarly looking Lincoln stood below us on the west, while Grant Peak staring down at us from 10781′. Alas, it was hard to leave the peak, but we needed to make it back down to camp before sundown for safety. The wind was relentless and it grew bigger as the evening turned into night. All three of us tried not to go outside of our tents unless it was absolutely necessary. We had a clear night sky, but my plan to do night photography was foiled due to constant wind gusts.
Next morning the goal was to leave camp for Sherman Peak at 8 AM, or whenever the sun had a chance to hit the south face of the mountain before we started. Traveling to the base of Sherman Crater Rim was very straightforward, as we roped up and efficiently crossed Deming and Easton Glaciers. Sufficient snow coverage on steep Squak Glacier allowed us to climb onto the saddle at the base of Sherman Peak’s west ridge. From there, it was just a steep ascent with a picket placed 30-40 feet before the summit to keep from sliding down the south face.
Amazing views all round, especially view to North Cascades mountains on the east side. Baker was practically in our faces since it was a lot more closer to us than on Colfax. Summit wasn’t very roomy, and apart from the constant wind blowing, we didn’t stay for very long. After getting back down to the saddle, we proceeded to follow our tracks back down onto the glaciers and traveled back to camp.
Breaking camp didn’t go as smooth as I had hoped, we were all still fighting wind that just wouldn’t budge. It was early afternoon when we started leaving camp and it had gotten pretty warm
already. By then Coleman Glacier was much slushier compared with the day before and glissading was virtually impossible in most places. Of course, the wind finally stopped at the bottom of the glacier just before we got back on the trail.