11 of us headed up the Coleman-Deming route this weekend. It started snowing on us at 4,500ft (which was a relief, better than being rained on). Snow was sticking to the ground at around 5,000ft. The trail became fully obscured before we reached the hogsback camp so we picked our own route and set up camp.
We got out on to the glacier for a little general practice only to find (as expected) bare glacial ice with a dusting of new snow on the top. The new wet snow balled up in our crampons. The conditions didn't make self-arrest easy, we figured it was actually safer not to rope up.
In the end (after a ~20 degree night in strong winds and 2-3 inches of snow) we decided to give up on a serious summit bid. The day before another guide and I climbed unroped about halfway to the black buttes, the route is as broken up as I've ever seen it and on bare ice the entire way, but it would be doable for strong climbers with good french skills solo (or simul).
With such a low snow-year I would say the standard baker climbing season is definitely over (case-in-point we didn't see a single AAI group or any other climbing parties). If you do go for it I wouldn't rope up as it offers almost no added security (and a lot of weight). Have to catch this one next year.
-Leave your pickets at home, they are worthless right now
-The only realistic anchors right now are Ice Screws
-Bring the down gear
-A rope is mostly going to be a mental aid, consider not bringing one at all.
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