Work had gotten in the way of doing this trip with DBlair and Spectrum a couple of months ago and spotty weather more recently. Things aligned themselves and Darren and I were snowshoeing up to near Artist Point from the Mt. Baker ski area at 10:30.
Gaining the ridge we got a view of where we wanted to go.
1. Mt. Baker, can you spot the pinnacle?
2. A close up.
Contouring around the south side of Table Mountain we headed in a southwest direction. Quite a bit of avalanche debris on the south slopes.
Darren in action. Shuksan behind.
The Pinnacle doesn't look too far off from here.
After passing Table we drop down slightly and things really open up and we see that we still have a long way to go yet.
Shuksan in all it's glory.
More traversing gets us to the base of a small ridge. The sun had burnt through the high cloud cover but the wind had picked up.
Getting a little closer.
I elect to drop down into a bowl and up the other side. Darren was fussing about my choice as he wanted to go up and over. After some grumblings he followed me and we regained the ridge above another bowl northeast of the pinnacle.
I took a lot of pictures of this mountain today.
Looking back at Tomyhoi, Border Peaks, Larrabee and Barometer(?).
Coleman Pinnacle on the left.
We were going to go up a heavily corniced ridge, but with that and the wind blowing snow all over the place Darren made the choice to drop down into the NE bowl. Now it was my turn to grumble as we traversed along and then dropped down some more. This was followed by a long ascent to gain the saddle between the two peaks seen in the picture above.
After doing this we both were tired out. From where we were the pinnacle rose up steeply. The thing was (I discovered later) we were on the wrong side of it. The scramble route is on the other side. Looking at steep snow slopes I figured I could probably bag it from this side. Darren wasn't so keen. I put on my crampons and traversed over to the southeast face.
Things got really steep in a hurry and I took my time kicking in good steps and plunging in my iceaxe. A couple of parts got really steep and I only looked back down once as I didn't like what I could see. Darren was on the ridge freezing his ass off in the wind watching my progress.
Eventually the slope grew less steep and I made my way along the heavily corniced edge to the summit. Here I saw the tracks from people who came up the right way.
Mt. Baker from the summit.
Me with Shuksan behind.
Just before the summit I had noticed a snow gully descending the south face and I decided to head down that instead of taking off the crampons and downclimbing the rocky scramble standard route. This went okay except for some sloughing of snow in one spot. I then worked my way around the south side and ascended back to where I'd left my snowshoes.
Putting them back on I met up with Darren and we headed back. The wind was really blowing at times creating some cool looking spindrift.
Coleman Pinnacle from near where I left my snowshoes. Ascent line is basically skyline.
Looking back from where we came from.
The route taken to the summit.
We didn't drop down into the northeast bowl this time, but stuck to the ridge. Shuksan was dominating the views and I took more pictures.
1. Coleman Pinnacle, a sub peak and spindrift.
3. CP and Baker.
4. Shuksan again (you can see why it is one of the most photographed mountains in the USA).
5. A black and white aspect.
Finally we pass under the south side of Table. Plans earlier in the day were to head up here too, but we were pretty tired out by now.
Still smiling though.
Up a little more to the Artist Point area, a few more photos and then we head down to the parking lot.
Larrabee and The Pleiades with Slesse rear right.
A little over six hours round trip (felt like more), we had some nice tan lines between our shorts and gators. And then we went home