Trip Report    

Top-Rope Ice - Heliotrope Ridge and Lower Coleman Glacier & Seracs

Fun day in good weather on the seracs.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The seracs were generally in good shape with lots of moderate terrain, good ice for screws and v-threads under a thin sugary surface layer.  Creek crossings were not an issue in the morning or afternoon, and there were few other parties or hikers on the trail.  The weather slowly deteriorated through the day, but the rain held off until we were back at the trailhead at the end of the day.


We left the parking lot at 7:10 and made good time up to the seracs.  While one participant did a quick lead on moderate ice (climb, place screws, build an anchor, bring up a second; to get checked off for FT2 and the Ice badge), we set up a couple of top ropes also on moderate terrain and did a v-thread demo for the other participants  — both of whom were able to get a good v-thread built on their first try!

From there, we set up some additional top ropes on somewhat steeper terrain (still relatively short, as there wasn't much available low down that was both long and steeper), and participants got a chance to try it out.


From there, we were able to walk around to the top of a deep moulin with vertical sides (and even a small bulge at waist level from the action of water in the moulin) to give the participants some experience on vertical ice.  We used a pair of v-threads with a screw to set up an anchor here, adding a redirect to keep the climbing and belay strands separate when going over the lip of the moulin.


Participants had some fun on the vertical ice, and it gave some good perspective on the importance of form, technique, and stance as ice increases in steepness.  The leaders had a chance to get a few laps in as well.


All in all, a great, safe, and educational day with a fun group.