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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-20||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: You can drive all the way to the end of Grizzly Gulch Rd. At least to the downed trees. There is a pretty nasty mud pit with a steep drop. I suggest stopping here. High clearance 4x4 only. The snow in the morning was firm at around 6:30 am. Snow was in great shape at 11:00 am. Weather was sunny and warm with a slight breeze. Expect a creek crossing after leaving the road to get to the snow. It‘s high right now. There‘s a good chance feet will get wet. Snows melted back about a 1/4 mile off the end of the road. Just a little easy bush whacking. Snow held up great but got wet at the bottom. You can still make good turns all the way.
|2015-05-31||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: A lot of snow on the overall route, the knife edge was buried.
|2015-05-21||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Be careful out there folks (not my report, from CAIC yesterday): link http://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/obs/obs_report.php?obs_id=35991
|2015-05-16||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Made it up to the Y in the road before hoofing it. Kelso Mountain is loaded with snow, so took winter bypass. Kelso Ridge is snow covered whole way. A few tricky corners hugging the rock while delicately traversing snow slopes. Knife ridge a piece of cake since it is three feet wide right now. White rocks tricky.
|2015-05-02||Route: South Slopes
Info: Standard route is almost 100% snow from summer trailhead to summit. Above 13K, some rocks poking out and snow coverage averaging up to 12-18 inches sitting on bare ground. I did not ski it but Dead Dog appears to be in. To avoid areas of concern on Kelso Mtn, I followed a snowmobile track from the summer TH up the bottom of the valley to meet the standard trail near where this pic was taken. Anecdotal: two climbers I spoke to went up Kelso Ridge and said that it was "more technical than they expected."
|2015-04-13||Route: South Slopes
Info: I climbed Torreys and Grays today from just above Bakersville. I wore microspikes from the summer TH all the way up and down. In the early morning you definitely need them. I did not break out the crampons, ax or snow shoes. I was back at the summer TH at 12:30 and did not posthole once. By that time, however, things were starting to get very soft and anyone coming down much later would have problems. There were maybe 10 skiers and the conditions looked very good in the bowl between Grays and Torreys and in the couloirs. Starting one mile below the summer TH (10,750) there is continuous snow for skinning and skiing. Below that there are a lot of bare spots, some of which are very long.
|2015-04-11||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: My first snow couloir climb! (outside of a failed attempt of the Hourglass last year) It was a blast, albeit a very tiring day. Conditions in the couloir are near perfect - few inches of soft snow above hard packed ice/snow. There are very helpful steps carved in for a significant portion of the climb. Started from about 0.5 miles above the Bakerville exit. Potential for postholing in the afternoon as the melt continues - recommend taking snowshoes above the summer trailhead.
|2015-04-11||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Parked at around 9,600ft in a tacoma, roughly 1/4 mile up from the start of the dirt road. All vehicles parked in that general area; any higher and you might risk getting stuck later in the day when the snow softens. Started around 630am. The road the first few miles has patches of dirt where we just strapped the skis to our pack and just walked on snow/dirt during the early morning. The road about 2/3 the way up eventually is consistent snow where you could strap the skis on. We put on our skis at the trailhead and skinned for a few miles until we got to the amphitheater then boot packed the summer trail to the saddle then to the summit. Skied dead dog around 1pm, was perfect conditions. It was party cloudy so we were afforded a later descent. No rocks on the couloir. Would recommend hiking down from the summit to the start of the couloir;we side slipped with the skis and got a few nicks as it was boney with rocks protruding. Was a great day, spring skiing has started.
|2014-12-06||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The route is in good shape and is still transitioning to winter climbing conditions. No snowshoes needed as yet on the approach. We did the lower third of the ridge to below the white wall sans traction and used microspikes the rest of the way. Crampons seemed to be overkill as there was more rock than snow. There is some crappy sugar snow you have to wade through to get to the base of the white wall. The knife edge isn‘t much harder than summer conditions. There is some hard packed, wind blown snow in spots below the summit. Here are my photos from the climb: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114208121135095282472/albums/6090107230820419185?sort=1
|2014-11-13||Route: West Ridge
Info: Headed for Grizzly D (and entered this under Torreys). High winds, low visibility, car said 4f at the top of the pass around 9am. A little bit of postholing heading up the ridge from the top of the pass, but not too bad. Small pockets of knee deep drifts but those were short, and I don‘t think snowshoes would have been worth the bother. Once you turn south on the ridge there‘s a little bit of snow here and there but the wind is blowing most of it away and there‘s nothing deep. Took a break on top of Cupid in a whiteout, the low visability was disorienting, wind was filling in tracks, and GPS came in very handy. We didn‘t summit anything other than Cupid. Who knows how conditions might change but if you head up before the storms are over I would bring something to protect your face, pack a GPS if you have one, and be prepared for 20-30+ mph sustained winds and 0f temps. Back at the car CDOT politely informed us that they were closing the pass.
|a day in the life||2014-11-14||0|
|2014-11-01||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Climbed Kelso Ridge on Saturday 11/1. The route is snow free for most of the route. However below the white wall at 13,000 ft is a snow field that required some post-holing. At about 13,900 ft the snow becomes significant and requires some work to get through or around. I chose to climb up the slanted rocks before the knife edge (above dead dog) since either side was covered in snow. The rocks were generally dry but did hold some ice which made some of the holds a bit sketchy. Knife edge is snow free. After the knife edge snow is present until the summit but was able to kick steps in. I felt comfortable with just an axe. On the descent (normal route) I used traction since the trail was packed down and icy.
|2014-10-30||Route: South Slopes
Info: Traction absolutely necessary as there is ice on the trail especially at the beginning of the ridge. Did some postholing between the last cairn and the saddle, but otherwise it was an extremely pleasant climb with gentle wind and perfectly clear skies.
|2014-10-25||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Pics from Saturday 10/25, it‘s pretty dry except for a few shaded sections, recommend microspikes and axe for the ascent and trekking poles for descent of the standard route.
|2014-10-19||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Hiked Dead Dog today. Definitely not enough snow to ski it. Hardest part is getting through the very loose scree just to get to the bottom of the couloir. Obviously, crampons, ice ax, and helmet are a must. Lots of small rocks (pebbles really) flew down the couloir due to melting snow while we were climbing up. Snow is generally pretty solid. Generally a few inches of new snow on top of a solid base. A few spots have a couple feet of "powder" leading to significant slipping (not enough to need self-arresting techniques though) making these few spots frustrating to get through. The top is no steeper than any part of the couloir as there is not much snow there. Most parts have snow no more than 5 feet across.
|2014-10-07||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Had a nice climb up Kelso Ridge today. Some snow here and there that added a bit of difficulty, but not bad. Didn‘t use micro spikes on the way up, but glad I had them for the descent down the hard packed snow on Grays main trail down from the saddle.
|2014-10-05||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Ended up getting part way up Kelso this morning. Experienced extremely heavy winds about halfway up along with a bit more ice and snow that expected - NOAA was reporting gusts up to 33mph, but based on previous experience these felt more like 2x that at the heaviest gusts. Was on Kelso just as the sun rose and was hoping for some melting to take place after the sun hit the ridge, but the clouds were moving in very quickly and it was overcast, so I decided to bail since some of the holds were looking a bit too icy and snow covered for my liking, especially with the wind. By the time I got back to the main trail, both peaks were capped with clouds. Hopefully the afternoon cleared up a bit, but at that point things were not looking promising. Good bit of snow on the saddle between G&T, definitely recommend some traction on all routes. Parts of Kelso had some snow that was about 6" or so deep. Road conditions were excellent. You could probably drive a Prius up that road now
|2014-09-27||Route: South Slopes
Info: Convinced my husband to return based on a couple reports that rode had been repaired over the summer. Be ware, it is still horrific and we didn‘t notice any improvements from June. We scraped the bottom of our AWD SUV twice despite very hard efforts to avoid this. Some car smashed open their oil tank and it had leaked all over the rode. Cars park along the side of the rode and force you into the rocky boulders.
|2014-09-13||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: route is pretty much dry until you get to 13800‘, then there is some snow/ice on the north (right) side of the ridge. I managed with no traction or axe, but I had to be careful. We went right over the white rock fin after the knife edge, instead of skirting it to the right like usual. The final slope is snowy as well. I‘d think with a few days of sunshine it will melt.
|2014-09-10||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: There was a light dusting of snow on portions of the route until about 13,350 ft where the snow became about 1-2 ft deep (all on the north side of the ridge). We were forced to turn around and descend back down the Kelso Ridge immediately after crossing the knife edge due to winter conditions that we deemed impassible without the proper gear/training (see Photo #36 in the route description for this area). Bummer seeing as how we were only about 200 feet below the summit. Would not recommend the upper portion of this route to anyone without winter gear/training.
|2014-09-05||Route: South Slopes
Info: Snowy! Coming off Gray‘s I had a few drifted spots that were over my knees. Microspikes helped a lot. It was melting fast, and probably won‘t hold, but wet and slushy. Bring Gaiters and spikes just in case.