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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-07-12||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead Dog still has top-to-bottom coverage, right up to Kelso Ridge. Definitely getting very runneled, with lots of rock debris lower down. Easy exit with no cornice and angle of no more than 45 degrees if you stay to the right near the rock. Get an EARLY start (6:45 am at the base felt too late, we only lucked out because a cloud bank kept the couloir from going into full sun for most of the climb). Still probably has a good couple weeks left...a great way to avoid the conga line on Grays/Torreys (including Kelso Ridge, which saw a good amount of traffic that day). Probably not good for skiing at this point due to the rubble and runnels, but if you like snow climbs, get it while you can!
|2014-07-12||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Conditions are great. The entire ridge is dry. The only snow patch is right after the white tower for about 30 feet. Easy to cross, no spikes needed. A pic is attached showing the snow.
|2014-07-11||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Climbed Dead Dog on Friday the 11th. The snow was very soft even just after sunrise since there was not a solid freeze. It made for slow going as necessary to kick steps and frontpoint up most of the way. When trying to kick a flat foot to rest the snow would just blow out. Bring your axe and sink it to the head in case you lose your footing.
|2014-07-05||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: There was a pretty good thunderstorm that came through on Friday night which deposited some hail on the route which mostly melted and made some sections a bit slippery. After the white rock there is still some snow cover. Dead dog is still very much in and may be in for up to another week or two.
|2014-07-04||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Climbed the ridge route today. The snow is almost completely gone... one cornice that could make you do some extra scrambling for a bit if you go the wrong way. Dead Dog Couloir still has a good bit of snow (there were some people skiing it). A little bit before the knife edge, the normal route is covered with steep snow, so you have to keep climbing basically on the ridge crest (nothing too hard though). Great climb!
|2014-06-29||Route: West Ridge
Info: The conditions at this point are close to true to the route description. The trail was difficult to find heading down Grizzly Peak and going up Torreys Peak. I found the trail more easily coming down Torreys. The intense wind made the last half quarter of the hike miserable. Several people said that Loveland Pass is often incredibly windy. Hike to Torreys took 4 hours and the return took 3 hours. Tough hike.
|2014-06-27||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Did the Kelso Ridge on 6/27. Dry conditions most of the way. Only unavoidable snow is right after the knife edge to the summit. Negotiated with poles. Great climb!
|2014-06-22||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: On the hike in we noticed the Lost Rat couloir was starting to melt out at the top and had exposed a short section of scree to negotiate. From our camp near the apron we started up at 4:30am and summited at 7:15am. Dead Dog is still packed with snow, the only area where it is melting out some is on the apron. The apron and bottom half of the couloir are full of runnels which taper out toward the top. Snow early in the morning was bulletproof; self arrest is not a reasonable possibility in those conditions. The spike of the ax would not penetrate the snow much, so I used a dagger technique most of the way which was more secure. Avoid the traverse and descent down the east face of Grays if you have climbed it before. The hordes began appearing en masse on the east slopes around 8am. We had a pretty cloudy early morning so the snow never softened while we were on the route, otherwise we would have glissaded down the low part of the traverse to the bottom.
|2014-06-20||Route: South Slopes
Info: Grays and Torreys via the normal route as a night hike. Lots of snow on the way up past the kiosk at 12,100 feet. Snow was very slick coming down off the saddle on the decent and microspikes were a necessity and even then I would have felt more comfortable with an ice axe for an extra level of security. Heard lots of runoff on the way up and can‘t imagine the snow will stick around for that much longer.
|2014-06-17||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: As of today conditions on Dead Dog are great for climbing. Two things I noted... - We started early and were at the top of the couloir by 6:25am. The snow showed zero signs of turning to mush by the top but a warm day or later start would likely change that. - The snow was very hard. This was excellent for cramponing, but kicking steps was impossible throughout the climb and axe placements were always less than an inch deep. I would imagine that arresting a fall would be extremely unlikely unless you wait for the snow to soften, but then it would probably be mush by the top.
|2014-06-15||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The ridge was clear of snow at the saddle between Torreys and Kelso Mountain, some small patches starting before 13,000ft. Most of these could be avoided, but we found lots of loose rocks in the sections where we had to climb around the snow. Snow patches steadily increasing in size and frequency above 13,000ft, so microspikes and ice axes were helpful. The Knife‘s Edge has a boot-packed trail to the left going up the ridge (picture attached), but I wouldn‘t trust the stability of that snow with warming temperatures. The final summit was firm snow and made for an easy summit around 9:30am.
|2014-06-12||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Road to TH is a bit rough but passable for most vehicles. Started up the couloir at 615, wish I would have been 30-45 mins earlier. Snow is in good condition, but the rocks were a flyin‘ once the sun hit. Get it early! The knife edge on Kelso Ridge was walkable with a bootpack across it.
|2014-06-08||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Started around 4:15am. Base of line hour or so later. Some pretty good front pointing but even around 6:30 the top out was softening up. Good runnel down the middle to hop in and out of for nice cramponing. Avy debris nonsense in apron kind of sucked. Overall, pretty good.
|2014-06-01||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: The Emporer is continuous snow all the way to the valley floor. A large avalanche wiped out most of the trees below the apron, presumable this past winter. We didn‘t get a hard freeze the night before, but the snow held up fairly well. There was evidence of several recent wet slides in the bottom half of the couloir. Luckily the couloir doesn‘t get full sun hit real early, but I wouldn‘t want to be in the couloir later than noon. It is a LONG climb! Here is my You Tube photo montage of the climb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93l0-z31NL8
|2014-05-24||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead Dog held out for us until we exited the couloir at about 10am. Above the couloir was mostly unconsolidated sugar crap. Didn‘t see any new wet slides while we were there and we had full view of it until about 12. No rain today while we were there though it looked like something was building around 2pm. Still holding a ton of snow.
|2014-05-20||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Ascended Torreys via the standard route (South Slopes) and descended via the Emperor Couloir. Road was easily passable with 4wd up to the Stevens Gulch/Grizzly Gulch fork. Large snowdrifts on both roads immediately after fork. Intermittent snow on the Stevens Gulch road for the first mile after the fork. Continuous snow for the second mile up to the summer trailhead. We were able to skin from the summer trailhead up to the Grays/Torreys saddle, with the exception of a few steep sections where a good boot pack trail exists. Followed the boot pack trail up to Torreys summit. Did not use any traction devices, but there were a couple slick spots low on the saddle where it would have been nice to have some extra traction. Image #2 is looking up the saddle towards Torreys. Image #3 is looking back on Grays. We had planned to descend Dead Dog, but upon seeing all of the loose wet slide debris (see image #1), we chose the Emperor Couloir for a more northerly aspect. We were able to ski from the summit thanks to continuous snow into the couloir. Snow on the descent was starting to soften at 11:00am, making for good skiing conditions. Image #4 is looking back up the couloir. Able to ski almost back to the fork, with the exception of a couple stream crossings and short dirt sections. Lost: My gray and blue North Face softshell came unstrapped from my pack somewhere between the base of the couloir and the fork (see my post in the Lost and Found forum). If anyone is headed up this route and wouldn‘t mind keeping an eye out for it, I‘d really appreciate it.
|2014-05-18||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Attempted to summit via Kelso, with no success. Maybe we were too late in the day, everything was melting and wet which lead to insanely unstable footing and holds. Spikes and snow shoes were both useless. I regularly solo 5.4 so I normally feel pretty competent on this sort of thing, but this ridge was way too sloppy for ability to even matter in my opinion. Decided to turn back after a massive washing machine sized rock was dislodged and narrowly missed my partner‘s legs before exploding just below him. I‘d recommend not doing this route unless your feeling really lucky.
|2014-05-18||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Hot, hot, hot. Climbed up dead dog, and skiied down Tuning Forks. The majority of dead dog has shed most of the snow from the last snow cycle and the remnants now cover the majority of its apron. Above the apron its still pretty smooth with the occasional deeper runnel here and there. Started to see loose wet slides on and near dead dog by about 10am, so get an EARLY start. Lower part of the road has now melted out enough to make it up to the Grizzly Gulch intersection in a 4wd/awd vehicle - but your results may vary!
|2014-04-24||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: Took what was essentially the standard route up and snowboarded the north side down. The east side was looking good. GO GET IT!
|2014-03-14||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: We parked at the winter TH and were able to skin all the way from there to the base of the Torreys/Kelso Mtn saddle. From there we bootpacked up Kelso ridge and skied down the Grays/Torreys saddle. Lots of snow on Kelso Ridge still, and some tricky scrambling (class 4 in spots) required to avoid a couple of deep snow gullies. We briefly considered skiing down dead dog or tuning fork, but took the safer option and just skied the saddle. Skiing conditions weren‘t that great; there was a wind crust layer that we punched through all the way down into the basin. Ice axe/crampons are probably a good idea for Kelso, and skis/snowshoes definitely still required for the approach.