Shuksan + Kulshan for the weekend

8/29/20
WA Cascades NW (Mt Baker)
605
6
Posted by STGLD on 8/31/20 6:35pm

Went for a 3-day solo ski mission to ski the Sulphide Glacier on Shuksan + Colman-Demming on Kulshan, fueled by psychedelics and an inability to walk on glaciers.

Day 1: Left TH at 9am, 2.5 hours to the toe of the sulfide. Set up camp and went for a great evening ski up to the Hourglass at around 8,000 ft. Great ski down in evening light through some fun seracs on skiers left side of Sulphide. 

Day 2: Up at dawn and to the base of the summit block in a few hours. a lot of parties were already lined up to climb the SE gully, so I skipped the summit and instead skied partway down the Fisher Chimneys route. A very contrived ski down to Winny' slide (which is full ice at this point), but I've never been down the north face so it was fun to see a new side of the mountain. Back up the Fisher Chimneys Route too the Hourglass, and then down to camp, pushing a little farther skiers left into the ice-fall of the Sulphide. Lots of fun, spicey lines to be had through this section! After breaking camp, it was a easy jaunt down to the car, and then the long drive over to the Colman-Demming TH.

Day 3: I woke up late, tired from the previous day and using the excuse for finding corn as a reason to sleep in. left at 10AM, Hiked up to the glacier in a little over an hour, and had a marvelous skin up to the Roman Headwall in perfect weather. A quick scramble over the scree separating the Colman & Deming glaciers and back on skis in 20 min to boot up the Roman Headwall.

I've always wanted to catch the headwall in perfect corn, but moderate winds kept surface temps cool, so it was firm but gradually warming on the way down. After scrambling down to the Colman glacier, I had an exhilarating ski through some of the icefalls features skiers left on the Colman, super fun terrain and incredible, smooth conditions down to camp. The skiing on Mt. Baker never ceases to impress! I think it was about 7 hours car 2 car

Fun two days!

Main take away:

A)Great skiing to be had still. The best conditions are between 7,500-10,000 ft on S/SE aspects. 

B) Colman-Demming delivers the best hike-ski ratio in late August. 1-1.5 hours from TH to snow, with 5k vert skiing.

C) People who question why you have skis this late in the year and scoff at the unpleasant nature of sun cups are either:

  1. Bad skiers
  2. Skiers who are covering up for the fact that they thoroughly regret not bringing their set up, and are searching for any reason to validate their poor decision making. All we can do is pray for these wayward souls, and hope they find repentance and comfort as they slog their way up and down snow when they could have skied ;)

Cheers!

 

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Sick stuff, man. Haters be damned! Unfortunately found myself in category 2 on these peaks a few weeks ago.

2020-09-01 03:04:46
LilB907

And a question for WA folks, is this phat for mid-summer?

2020-09-01 03:07:19
LilB907

"fueled by psychedelics and an inability to walk on glaciers" hahaha

I think it's "slightly above average" this year in terms of total snowpack. June was around normal in terms of long-term average, but better than the last two summers. Then again, the glaciers are changing over the years... the CD for instance has a big crack below Pumice ridge that is much more problematic than in the past. https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/data/water/wcs/gis/maps/1stmonth/westwide/swe/WestwideSWEPercent_Jun.pdf

I'll skip the suncups, thanks. Glad you had fun!

2020-09-01 20:55:42
kamtron

Hey thanks for the link. Interesting spatial variability.

2020-09-02 17:58:35
LilB907

Nice double feature at the drive in. I like to take a little acid before all my major ski outings - way to get after it

2020-09-04 14:59:50
Snowboy

Looks like fun was had!!!

2020-09-10 00:21:24
Todd Eastman

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shuksan-kulshan-for-the-weekend
STGLD
2020-09-01 01:35:26