June 21-22, 2014
After getting off-route 2 weeks prior, fellow peakers Andrew, David, Whitney and I gave the Easton Glacier another shot on a beautiful June weekend this summer. Choosing a two-day itinerary, we left seattle around 9 am on June 21. We arrived to an overflowing parking lot and found a spot on the side of the road. After stashing our beers in some snow and deliberating over whether to bring approach shoes we got moving by noon (no approach shoes). Folflowing the trail up to Sulfur Creek it became clear shoes would have been worth the weight.
After jumping across boulder fields and a couple hopeful transitions along the creek, we finally found continuous snow in the gully below the Railroad Grade. The gully looked easy and the railroad looked dry, so we wound our way up the next 1600 feet. An hour later we crossed our first crack and started traversing west to find a camp on the shoulder. Heading straight up (due north) the rolling ridge we cruised past camp sandy and found a shelf with ridiculous views down onto the toe of the Deming glacier and the east side of Colfax. We melted water, ate some macaroni, drank some whiskey, and set the rope up for the morning.
We woke just in time for the sunrise and started spiking up the short headwall above our camp by 5:30. The route was straight-forward, we followed the obvious bootpack up and were able to skin the first 2,000 feet (following the immediate headwall out of camp). In hindsight, we may have left too early and ran into several short, steep sections that required spikes with the hard snow. The crater rim offered a nice lunch spot and sulphur bath before we booted up the Roman Wall.
The view and weather from the summit were all time. We could see down to Mexico and you couldn’t have flown a kite if you had one. I think we even took layers off at the summit. The Watson traverse looked especially appealing from this angle, so we put it on our list for next year.
After lounging for an hour waiting for the snow to soften we finally clicked/strapped in around 10:00 am. The Roman Wall was a little firm but below that the skiing was 5-star, A-plus spring corn. We arrived to camp about 20 minutes after leaving the summit and the snow was already rotting below 7,000 feet. About 2 hours of heavy-pack, heavy-snow, boulder-hopping and trail walking we were back at the car drinking a beer.