Mount Baker from Coleman Pinnacle
Coleman Pinnacle is the airy perch just to the north of Mount Baker in the Mount Baker Wilderness of Washington State. Due to its proximity to Mount Baker's north face, the peak offers unique views of the northern aspect of Mount Baker, such as the impressive North Face and the Park Glacier. Coleman Peak is also surprisingly accessible, being easily reached from excellent trail from Artist's Point above the Mount Baker Ski Area. In the summer, excellent road reaches high elevation and close position to Coleman Pinnacle. The climb of Coleman Pinnacle, therefore, involves very little elevation gain until one reaches the peak proper. From there, it is a rather easy scramble to the summit. The trail to Coleman Pinnacle gives access to Camp Kiser, the camping area used by Mount Baker's northern route climbers. You will therefore being sharing this trail with many climbers.
The views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker, and other great peaks of the North Cascades will be feast for the eyes. This is a great objective when one is in search of unrivaled views with minimum of effort.
Nearing the summit of Coleman Pinnacle The Terrain below Coleman Pinnacle
Drive SR-542 (The Mount Baker Highway) east from Bellingham, driving all the way to the road end. In Fall, Winter, and Spring, the end of the road will likely be the Mount Baker Ski Area. In August, the road should be sufficiently melted out to reach the road end at the saddle below Table Mountain and the large parking area there. If blocked by snow, park where you can and walk the rest of the way. The parking area is at 5200 feet.
Find the Camp Kiser trail at the southern end of the parking area, and hike the gentle ups and downs along Ptarmigan Ridge for approximately three miles. Coleman Pinnacle is the high summit on Ptarmigan Ridge just due north of Mount Baker. Just below the peak, hike relatively simple heather and boulders to the summit ridge just north of the summit. From here, hike the narrow spine to the summit. The ascent is relatively straightforward and without problems, but there is some exposure on one side.
Trip Stats: Distance: About 6.5 miles roundtrip. Difficulty: Mainly Class 2 with some occasional Class 3. Elevation Gain: About 2000 feet with ups and downs.
Red Tape & Camping
Mount Shuksan from Camp Kiser trail below Coleman Pinnacle Mount Shuksan from the summit of Coleman Pinnacle
Coleman Pinnacle lies within the Mount Baker Wilderness. All Wilderness regulations apply. A Wilderness permit is required to enter the WIlderness area, but is available on a self-service basis at the trailhead.
Parking requires a Northwest Trailhead Parking Pass ($5/day, $30/annually). You may also use an Interagency Pass ($80/year) which is good at all US Forest Service trailheads and good for free entry to all US National Parks for one year's time.
Camping is prohibited except in the area of Camp Kiser. Except for those willing to go the four miles to Camp Kiser, this is a day-trip area only.
Descending from the summit of Coleman Pinnacle Mount Shuksan from Camp Kiser Trail
Check with the Mount Baker Wilderness for road access and other information at:
Mount Baker Wilderness Page
The Mount Baker Ski Area also provides information on snowpack and has photo galleries of the area: Mount Baker Ski Area