On Wednesday I skied the Coleman Demming route on Mt. Baker. I don't wan't to jinx anyone, but it might have been the start of a long and glorious ski season.
I went with Dave Jordan who works with me at Pro Guiding Service. With a leisurely start of 8:20 am, we weren't expecting a great deal. Any snow delivered by the last system would likely have deteriorated into a sad white smudge at the bottom of each suncup. But a little quiet optimism is worth a lot.
We cramponed up the initial steep slope out of Hogsback camp at 6,000'. From the flats at 6,800' we were able to skin up to the col at 9,000'. Due to our big snow year and cool summer, the glacier is in fairly tame shape. Pumice ridge was rimed-up and pleasant, and the Roman wall gave excellent cramponning. I gave a quick sweep of the horizon from the top: every glacier in the North Cascades is shining brilliant white. Come on, winter!
The new snow had smoothed out the suncups and paved the mountain in 2-6 cm of cold, packed powder. The skiing would count as excellent any day of the year...but in late September it counted as incredible. We skied right back to our tennis shoes at 6,000'. Awesome!