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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-12-08||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Did Kelso Ridge com I-70. We were first up since the recent snow, so we broke trail the whole way. Skinned up the creek from the summer TH to bypass Kelso's avalanche slopes (which have enough snow to go now). Ditched the skis at 12k and wore crampons from the first crux to the summit. Plenty of snow on the ridge now. Descended to the saddle and down Grays standard trail. Kept the crampons on for the descent, but spikes would also have been fine.
|2016-11-21||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Summer parking lot still easily accessible with 4x4. Kelso ridge about 50% clear of snow. I used micro spikes near the top but really didn't need them.
|2016-11-19||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Trail up to the saddle held just a bit of snow. Once on the saddle, snow throughout the entirety of the ridge, to varying degrees. Put on microspikes probably around 13,500', and wore them the rest of the day. All of the moves were very do-able, even covered in snow. At the deepest, I'd say we found a foot closer to the top in more snow-blown areas. Standard route was covered in snow, but boot-packed down, microspikes tremendously helpful.
|2016-11-12||Route: Grays' Southwest Ridge
Info: We did the the non-standard SW Ridge route. We were able to drive the full 2 miles up the Chihuahua Gulch road in a Tacoma. There was no snow to speak of on the SW Ridge ascent. On the traverse over to Torreys there was a couple inches of snow on the trail but our microspikes stayed in our packs. We descended down Torrey's west ridge to the saddle with Grizzly Peak. Some snow here too but still didn't use our microspikes. Followed the Chihuahua Gulch back to the car. This is a fun loop for those looking for some more solitude and adventure on Grays & Torreys.
|2016-11-04||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Ascended Kelso Ridge, continued to Grays and descended Grays's standard route. Snow on Kelso Ridge is almost exclusively on the north side of the ridge, mostly fresh, and only a few inches deep. While it has seen a fair amount of boot traffic, it has not, for the most part, become packed and icy. Detours along the north side of the ridge crest have become somewhat more difficult. The ridge crest and detours on its south side are not significantly more difficult than in summer. This applies as well to the knife edge and its exit on the white rock. The knife edge itself is not materially affected by snow, though a little bit is present. The white rock has two to three inches of fluff which make it a bit more difficult than in summer, but not impassible. I did not use traction on Kelso Ridge. I also did not use gaiters, which would have been useful for two or three steps. The standard descent from Grays is a different story. That face receives more snow and more boot traffic, so it is currently packed and icy. I put on microspikes as I was climbing to Grays's summit and kept them on most of the way back to the turn-off to Kelso Ridge. Don't be fooled by patches of snow along the road by the Interstate; with the exception of a frozen stream across the road half way up, the road is dry to the abandoned two story building. Snow on the road above the building is minimal and causes no problems. My car (2wd with about 7" ground clearance) made the trailhead without difficulty. In the parking lot, it joined a Chrysler 300 and a Honda Fit, as well as the standard assortment of SUV's.
|2016-10-29||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: route is relatively clear, but the snow in shaded/steep spots looks like it's there to stay even if the mostly sunny weather persists. would highly recommend traction, but otherwise the route is good to go!
|2016-10-21||Route: South Slopes
Info: Definitely would recommend micro-spikes as I saw people without them falling and having to not so elegantly scoot on their butts. Lots of ice and snow on middle portion of trail until the ridge where most of it had melted and there were enough rocks to scale without needing the spikes. I took mine off on final portion of ascent and then put them back on when I left the ridge until the lower portion of the trail.
|2016-10-08||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Route was 30% dry by the end of the day but some spots on the ridge still have deep snow. Trail spikes recomended
|2016-10-07||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: So definitely what you would expect for the first snow/early season conditions! Loose snow on loose rock, it was thigh high on me in some places. Alot of snow up there given this last storm..! Absolutely bring microspikes, wear gaitors and waterproof boots. Goggles wouldn't be a bad idea either. Poles on the way down would help a ton as well! Also, the road is super slick right now. Saw a subaru try but didn't make it past a part in the road because of the ice/snow. It'll be fine on the way up, but take into consideration when you are coming back down later in the day it'll get super slick when it melts
|2016-10-02||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: As of Sunday, route is snow free. However, there was significant verglas on the north-facing aspects of the ridge, making some of the moves (the "knife-edge" in particular) very slick and a bit more puckering than usual. IMO, microspikes would not significantly improve traction. Be choosy with your footholds and have fun out there.
|2016-09-27||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Did this today, and fortunately gained had an impromptu partner/mentor when we realized both were headed for Kelso Ridge (he was in the mood to pick up a trail he hadn't done yet, and I didn't want to do the standard route a third time in under a week). A climber descending Kelso route advised us about trail conditions partway up the ridge, wet dirt in places but mostly clear, entirely reasonable amounts of snow; we found this to be a pretty accurate description. The snow was mostly in spots that go into shadow early in the day or stay in shadow most of the day (especially places where trail drops down climbers right from ridge). Sometimes there were already steps kicked in, but we were able to skip most of it by staying on the ridge and scrambling up slightly more challenging rock. The gain in difficulty was worth avoiding loss of traction. It's very easy to get off trail in the last big Class 3 sections (photos 28-31 in the trail description). Both my partner and I got off trail too high. I didn't get to see how he handled it. My solution involved sketchy technical climbing (great hands, crumbly feet) that would have turned into campusing if any feet gave out. Suddenly we were at the Knife Edge, which I found very easy and much less exposed than the Class 3 before it. We finished the climb by working across the white tower instead of descending through snow on several critical footholds and then by using rock outcrops to avoid snow during the final scramble up to the summit. We descended via the standard trail, which has melted off some since yesterday. Absolutely great day.
|2016-09-11||Route: South Slopes
Info: Light snow in the early AM, but melted instantly. There was some snow near 13,000 ft, but it was on the side of the trails. There was also one spot in between 13,000-13,600 ft. with a patch of ice that was easy to avoid while staying on trail. Other than that, it was a very windy day today!
|2016-09-08||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Made it almost halfway up Kelso yesterday (past first chimney) before turning around. This was due to me getting overwhelmed on my first Class 3 attempt and not due to the conditions. It was a nice sunny day and the Kelso route was clear as far as I went up. I could see small patches of snow on Grays, but word on the trail was that it was clear all the way to the top.
|2016-09-03||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Completely dry up to 14k...then a few patches of snow to summit. I maybe stepped on slush a few times. No microspikes needed.
|2016-09-01||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Did Torreys by Kelso Ridge yesterday. All way nice, dry and clear. A little bit of snow closer to Knife edge but everything on a sides so no micro spikes needed. Standard trail down from Torreys with a some snow but definitely doable without spikes (probably good to have them in a pack).
|2016-08-28||Route: South Slopes
Info: Didn't ascend the south slope but descended it to the saddle after going up via Kelso. The route down had some snow but nothing major, unlike Grays. Didn't need to put on my spikes and was able to run down most of it in my trail runners.
|2016-08-28||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Started snowing on my way up so the ridge was slick. Snow present on the right side of the ridge. Some avoidable, some not. Knife edge is snow-free.
|2016-08-26||Route: South Slopes
Info: Climbed Grays and Torreys over 8/26-27 Got to the main trailhead about 8:30pm after working a full day and driving ~4 hours from home. The stars were out and there was little wind. I thought I saw a group heading up for a night hike(never actually saw them), and since the forecast was for snow in the AM I decided to just go for it. I left the trailhead at 9pm, summited Grays around 11:45pm, Torreys around 1AM and back to the car around 3AM for a much needed nap. Which ended at 5AM when the people next to me had a door banging competition in the parking lot. I first started to see snow at 12800ft and the trail was hard pack snow at the Grays/Torreys Junction ~13300 all the way up to the summit. Between the connecting ridge had 2 or 3 sets of footprints that were in calf deep snow all the way to the saddle. The ascent from the saddle to the top of torreys was mostly snow free, minus a few places. The connecting trail between the saddle and the main trail was a real... chore. It was calf/knee deep snow with a faint suggestion of where the trail had been. I was prepared, so it wasn't a big deal, but I was worried that it would eventually disappear. With the wind and additional snow, I would doubt my footprints lasted very long. I had my hiking poles which I think really save my butt getting up and down all the snow. I had my camelback mouthpiece freeze a few times, so it must have been fairly cold up top! No regrets climbing at night given the amount of traffic I saw coming up on my way out and the pictures of fresh now I saw in another TR. Sorry if this is too long for a conditions report. The pictures are from a phone, and at night so while they aren't great hopefully they provide some insight..
|2016-08-26||Route: South Slopes
Info: Started at 6:30am. On the drive up to the summer parking lot it was apparent that the surrounding area including Gray's and Torrey's was covered in a layer of snow. Thought perhaps just a dusting but the trail was covered in about 2-4" of snow and temperature was in the 30's. Became much colder and windier the higher we climbed. Torrey's summit was completely concealed all day by clouds - it didn't look promising. The trail went from snow covered rocks and dirt to 6" to a foot of snow on ascension. At the first trail junction to go left to Torrey's, the trail was completely covered in snow. Had to be at least 2-4 feet - not packed down or treaded. Very sketchy - seemed dangerous and impassible. We continued to climb toward Gray's summit to traverse but at about 13,500 trail became difficult to follow due to wind gusts, blowing snow and conditions we weren't prepared for. Spikes or snowshoes may have been helpful near summit. After talking to many other hikers, it seemed Torrey's Peak was inaccessible due to the severe conditions. Snow on lower trail at about 12,000 was melted and dry by the time we got back to the parking lot. Make sure you are prepared for winter hiking near summit.
|2016-07-24||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Road getting up to trail head ad some deep ruts but some 2wd vehicles somehow made it up at least 3/4 of the way. Camped out at one of the many dispersed camping sites near the trail head. Up at 5:00 and hiking by 5:30 am. Standard route up was packed with people but kelso ridge had maybe about 8 other people besides my group of 4. Awesome steep ridge line, some good route finding opportunities, some loose rock and some stable. The knife edge is exciting but not too difficult. Steep so you make your way fast! Summit at 10:30 with the whole group! After a big cloud passed over we relaxed and took our time on the way up... it did get scary with that early cloud at 9am!