Trip Report    

Alpine Ice FT2 - Heliotrope Ridge and Lower Coleman Glacier & Seracs

Fun day on the seracs with a great group.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail and the road were in fine condition, with the creek crossings (primarily the penultimate one) as the crux of the approach.  We took the lower route across in the morning with party members using a variety of methods (poles and rock hopping, Crocs, etc.) and the higher route (above the waterfall) back in the afternoon.  The water was noticeably higher in the afternoon.


    Getting onto the glacier from the moraine involved following a finger of ice between runoff gullies and a deep moulin on climber's right.  To find the same finger on the way out, watch for the dirt-covered pyramids.


After the hike in, we put crampons on and racked up at the edge of the moraine where some ice was visible under a layer of dirt and smaller rock.  Be mindful along the edges here, as the dirt-ice transition is abrupt and steep other than on the established climber's trail.  Once on the the glacier, we aimed for what looked to be some 30-40 degree terrain roughly in the middle of the main seracs.

We picked out a spot with enough room for the students to get in a couple of lead changes before things got steeper or more complicated.  After an initial demo of anchor building (including cleaning, placing screws, different anchor options, and workflow), the students spread out to climb on the moderate terrain with instructors scrambling ahead or alongside and supervising at screw placements and anchors.


At the top of a few short pitches of moderate climbing, we located a good spot for some steeper climbing, demonstrated good screw placement technique, and set up some top ropes.  We used the rest of the day for students to get in leads on a short 60-70 degree pitch, top rope on steeper terrain, top-out over a short step, and build v-threads and 0-threads.  The students appreciated both the emphasis on the workflow of multipitch and on technique for screw placement and climbing.


The team walked down and off the ice just as a light rain was picking up and headed to the cars.