Trip Report    

Alpine Ice Practice Clinic - Mount Baker Lower Coleman Seracs and Glacier

All is not lost.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Creek crossings manageable. Reasonable ice in the shaded areas.

COVID-19 did not treat the Tacoma Intermediate course well - the students only ever got to go do a Winter Overnight last winter, so this no-credit ice clinic was an opportunity to secure some success to boost everyone's rapidly deteriorating morale.

We hit the trail 8:20am, made it to ice and started gearing up at around 10am.



First, we spent about an hour walking around unroped on low-angle ice around the seracs, where students got the chance to practice French technique, some frontpointing, and downclimbing. As expected, the downclimbing was  the most exciting part.

We set a base under an overhanging wall, where students practiced placements, A-threads, anchor building, stance, and swings.

After lunch, the students built a top-rope anchor, and rappelled down a short steep section to setup a bottom belay for mock leads. The mock leads took the rest of the afternoon.

All students at the belay:


Adam protecting the crux:


Anthony evaluating his options:


Some funny moments did not make it on the camera, but everyone has eventually conquered the bulge, and got tons of real-time feedback from the instructors and from their stance while placing screws. Over-achievers  diligently cleaned the ice before placements. Everyone had a good time.

We wrapped up by around 5:30pm to make sure to be back at the parking lot before sunset. Made it to the cars shortly before 7:30pm.