Trail recommendations for Nov

Colorado 14er peak questions, condition requests and other info.
Dvaid2526
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Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby Dvaid2526 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:24 am

Me and and my climbing partner are headed to Co Nov 1 and are thinking of trying la plata or mt massive. We have snow equipment and both can climb 5.10d but have more experience climbing rock then snow travel and high altitude. We are not opposed to some class 5.6-5.9 climbing but were not really looking for a big multi pitch climb on this trip more just getting experience at altitude and starting to work on building our resumes. We are assuming there will be snow up there by then and I'm wondering if the summits are attainable with out much avalanche exposure. Or if there is a better place for us to go. We're hoping to be able to set up camp close to a trailhead and spend a day or two doing some acclimating hikes before we head up due to living at 300' any help would be appreciated.
peter303
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Re: Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby peter303 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:52 am

These are both walk-ups on the standard trails.
You'll need gear to walk across snow- snowshoes, microspikes, poles.

One issue with early season snow is avalanche danger.
It may get warm enough early in the snow season to melt and freeze an ice crust between layers of snow, causing zone of weakness for avalanche slabs. The SW LaPlata walkup has avy-steep zones as dose the SE approach to Massive. I am not sure about the long NE Massive trail. The direction of the more recent snowfalls is also a factor in avalanche danger. this will be reported at the CAIC website starting Nov 1. If there is a fair amount of new snow in the next few weeks you should research the avalanche conditions and carry and know how to use avalanche gear.
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Scott P
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Re: Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby Scott P » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:56 am

Elbert and Massive are both good peaks to try because they have routes will low avalanche danger. As long as you stay on route, the East Ridge of Elbert almost always has avalanche danger near 0. DO NOT get off route though; stay on the ridge. Getting off route can lead you into danger quick (assuming there is snow around in early November).

The standard route on Massive usually has low avalanche danger as well, but under very unusual circumstances, it can have a slope that can slide. Again, you need to stay on route.

La Plata has a failry safe route up, but it is not the standard summer route, so if you are inexperienced, I'd recommend that one only if you go with someone experienced (unless there is hardly any snow by then) and that knows the correct route.

As for snow conditions, plan on taking snowshoes, but if not much snow falls between now and then, they may or may not be needed.

Sherman, Quandary and Bierstadt are good winter ones and shorter than the ones above.
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zephyr_pelicante
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Re: Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby zephyr_pelicante » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:58 am

Scott P, can you elaborate on what route to take on La Plata and how it is different than the summer route?
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Scott P
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Re: Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby Scott P » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:05 am

Correct route, but you should still know what you are doing since getting off route could lead to trouble:

http://www.summitpost.org/north-ridge-direct-variation-winter-route/269433

I really should add a map to that page. Maybe tonight.
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d_baker
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Re: Trail recommendations for Nov

Postby d_baker » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:07 am

The "winter" route gains the N ridge earlier and avoids the open slopes of the standard summer route. Search winter reports for La Plata and you'll see pictures of the route. Somewhere on this site someone has a photo that is labeled quite well and shows the variations. I can't remember where it is though!

zephyr_pelicante wrote:can you elaborate on what route to take on La Plata and how it is different than the summer route?



EDIT:
Winter route is something like this.....

Middebrook_original.jpg
Middebrook_original.jpg (136.57 KiB) Viewed 320 times

(But the photo credit should read more like Middlebrook!) oops.

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