Mount Baker Climb - Coleman Headwall 

Coleman Headwall - Mt. Baker
Mt. Baker's impressive Coleman Headwall, photo by John Scurlock

Mountain: Mt. Baker - 10,781'

Route: Coleman Headwall
  • (Grade III+, 50 degree ice w/ steeper steps)

  • Organized as a custom climb

Cost: Custom Programs 3-day
  • $1500 each w/ 2 climbers
Cost: Custom Programs 2-day
  • $1000 each w/ 2 climbers

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Cost Includes
Guide fee, guide's expenses, group climbing equipment and camping gear.
Cost Does Not Include
Transportation to/from the course area, personal food, personal climbing equipment, trail head parking pass fees.

Client to Guide Ratio: 1:1 or 2:1

Expedition PDFs 

Equipment List ยป

Mount Baker Climb - Coleman Headwall 

Mount Baker's Coleman Headwall is one of the more accessible classic steep ice routes in the Pacific Northwest. While the route is not very often steep, it does require climbers to move well and pick a good line to avoid objective hazards on the route. This is usually a notch up from the North Ridge, and does have short steps of steeper climbing. This is approached from the north side of Baker using the same route we use for the Coleman-Deming route, which also serves as our descent route. Strong parties will do the route in 2 days, although we often run this as a 3-day climb to provide a more leisurely start and finish to this classic climb.

Mount Baker Climb - Coleman Headwall 

Mt. Baker Climb Day 1: 8 am group orientation and introductions at the USFS ranger station in Glacier, WA. Prior to the trip you will be contacted by our office to make sure you have all the gear you need and to arrange rentals of the items you do not own or want to buy. For this route it is imperative that you bring lightweight gear that is simultaneously sufficient for the climb. At this morning meeting we will conduct a thorough equipment check, distribute group gear, and help each member organize their pack for the hike in.

We will then hike in to around 6700' where we will leave our camp while we are out on the route. This trip in usually takes around 4+ hours. We often scout the approach across the Coleman Glacier the afternoon before the climb in order to speed things up during our pre-dawn start.

Mt. Baker Climb Day 2: From a high camp at around 6700' we usually travel up the center of the broken Coleman Glacier to the base of the headwall at around 8500. The route varies a bit from season to season with most of the climbing being in the 45 to 50 degree range with a bit of wandering to avoid crevasses. There is always a bergschrund to surmount, and generally some short, steep ice steps to negotiate before reaching the lower angled slopes that lead to the summit plateau.

This is climbed in 60-70 meter pitches, and it is critical for climbers to use efficient ice climbing techniques to make it to the top still feeling fresh enough for the descent. Once on top we descend the Coleman-Deming route back to camp. Many parties choose to then hike out to the trail head, but we also have the option of spending the night, getting in some ice climbing on the lower Coleman Glacier on the morning of the third day and then hiking out.

Mt. Baker Climb Day 3: Leisurely wake up followed by the hike out and drive back to Seattle. If you have the energy we can always top rope a few pitches in the seracs on the lower Coleman Glacier in the morning before we depart.

Qualifications for climbing Mt. Baker's Coleman Headwall 

In order to climb the Coleman Headwall with us, you will need to have suitable ice climbing skills, including comfort climbing steadily and efficiently for up to 12 pitches of 45-50 water ice with short steps of steeper ice. If you would like to polish your ice climbing skills, we can often schedule a day of ice climbing on the lower Coleman Glacier prior to your climb. You should also be familiar with belaying, removing ice screws and pickets, and have solid rope travel skills.

Other routes we guide on Mt. Baker 

This program takes place on US Forest Service lands under a commercial-outfitter and guide permit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs & activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.