There is only 1 report on Clubtread for Coulter and that is from EAK who hiked alot of the Ferguson Creek FSR to the end and then went up the South slopes of Coulter. Bivouac describes it as an obscure seldomly climbed summit. There was another report on there from Simon & Justin B's trip. I gave Katie the option between this one with nasty contours to gain the ridge or Potter that would be more mellow. She chose this one, so off we went. We parked at the gate for the Sunshine Valley residents waste removal lot.
The actual semi overgrown FSR starts at the back of the bin area, we started more close to the creek which just meant a short steep bushwack to regain the road. The morning snow was the nasty crust that would collapse under your snowshoe weight creating a giant hole around your step then getting the tip of your snowshoe caught upon exiting. We walked the road for about 1km, found a clearing and a break in the cliffs and started the INSANELY steep forest section. Luckily the snow was still semi solid and not too bad sinkage YET.
The temperature seemed to be getting hotter as we ascended the forest, within 30min I was just in a t-shirt and this held true because mid point of our forest ascent the snow turned to West Coast cement. When you mix this with 35-40 degree sustained slopes the whole way it is one hell of a calf workout. As the trees started to thin out it went from cement to deep powder. I had lost my phone in the forest earlier on in the day so I was pretty pissed and with no camera to take pics I was just motoring along breaking trail.
Finally after 3hrs we were in the sunshine and open, It was a really fun wide ridge to snowshoe on, until getting to the top of the first bump realizing there is 4 bumps in total with ups and downs between them all.
Standing on 2nd bump heading for 3rd bump
Standing on 3rd bump looking at the final summit that looked like it might have 1 tough section. As we got closer the trees to the left wouldn't go and it was a good steep drop left, Right was the cornice and face with an even bigger drop right. All we could do was take off the snowshoes, and go directly up about a 35ft vertical step of rock and snow. Grabbing 1 lone tree helped get things started, then kicking in deep deep steeps and trying to bury the ice axe as far as it could go.
Katie worked her way up nicey and after 5hrs we were ontop of Coulter with the best views of 2020 so far.
Going down is always fun on snowshoes, so chill on the joints, we spotted a green mountain rocket off in the distance so just took a slight detour to check it out, we were good on time and enjoying the lighting and day.
Back in the forest I had that weird feeling where I knew I dropped my phone, I was pretty determined to find it, so much so that I dug a 4ft x 3ft pit hoping I would find it, no luck. Katie had some food, probably thought what a nutcase watching me dig like a mad man until I got to the point where I I said "fuck it let's go", she decided to poke around with her hiking pole while I was getting ready to leave and of course found it where she was standing
Heading down the 40 degree forest was ridiculous at times, the snow was so mushy but not deep enough that with snowshoes we would be sliding like crazy, so we tried to post hole but sometimes too deep, other times so slippery we would slide. It's a good thing we are limber cause we ended up in some awkward positions. Back on the road we followed the FSR to the actual starting point, cracked some beers and celebrated. It's almost time to start bringing out the camp chairs to relax in at the end. Once back in cell range I messaged my buddy Steven Song and told him there was a track up Coulter now if he wanted a quick ascent. He's been piggybacking my tracks from the last 3. Johnson, Caspar and Coulter which he would do with Vlad and Mel a few days later. Peakbaggers helping peakgbaggers.