This past winter/spring I had a little obsession with Colfax Peak, the prominent sub-summit on the western side of Kulshan. Ever since simul-soloing the Cosely-Houston route with Roger Strong back in 2007 (a couple nice photos from that climb here) , I knew that Colfax Peak held some of the highest-quality alpine climbing in the Cascades. This past March Sarah Hart and I made an early repeat of the Polish Route, which was a spectacular ice climb. We went back twice in early April, but I never managed until now to find the time to write about it. On April 5th Sarah and I climbed the classic Cosely-Houston with skis on our backs, and then continued partway up Kulshan afterwards until Sarah got cold feet (literally, it was quite a chilly day). We were back four days later, on April 9th, and this time got serious and headed up a line I had been scoping on earlier forays.
The route we climbed takes an independent line to the left of the Polish Route. It is, I believe, the first route on the face that is more of a mixed climb than a pure ice climb. The rock on Colfax is amazingly well featured, with tons of face holds everywhere. Protection isn’t always easy, but there are at least lots of features for climbing. We named our route Kimchi Suicide Volcano (300m, M5R, AI4+), and it is definitely one of the highest-quality alpine climbs I’ve ever done in the Cascades (as are the Cosely-Houston and the Polish Route).