Learn to Ice Climb!
Mount Baker’s lower Coleman Glacier is the absolute best classroom in the lower 48 states to learn how to climb glacier ice. Throughout this four-day tool swinging and crampon kicking extravaganza you will get the opportunity to learn to climb steep ice, travel through complex glacier and climb one of the best alpine ice routes in the country. Get ready for a big workout and an even bigger reward.
Participants must have good fitness, experience backpacking and have general mountaineering skills. Including self arrest, general cramponing and ice axe use.
Itinerary and Program Overview
Day 1: 8:00AM Meet at Back Country Essentials in downtown Bellingham. Introductions, gear check and last chance to buy items. Arrive at Heliotrope Ridge trailhead in early afternoon. Hiking begins at 3,200 feet of elevation. Hike to Harrison’s Camp at 5,000 feet, set camp and carry out skill review.
Day 2: Ice climbing skills on lower Coleman Glacier. Fine tuned assessment of clients’ ability to climb North Ridge.
Day 3: 2:00 – 3:00AM leave camp. Ascend to base of route. Assess fitness and weather/route safety. Climb North Ridge Route, if conditions allow. Descend to Harrison Camp. This day requires a very good bit of effort. You'll start by ascending through the middle of the Coleman Glacier, winding your way through some of the most complex glacier terrain in the lower 48 states. You'll be expected to cross thin snow bridges while looking deep into the bowls of a monstrous crevasse. The route the steepens and there the real workout begin. Once you've gained substantial elevation and aquired an acute uptick in exposure then real ice climbing begins. Several pitches of near vertical ice finds and unlikely route through an otherwise overhanging wall of ice that guards Mt Bakers Upper mountain. above the work out continues along the North Ridge and onward to the summit.
This is typically a very long day. Expect to arrive back at camp late.
Day 4: Pack up and hike out Heliotrope Ridge trail.