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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2012-10-06||Route: South Slopes
Info: Snow on the trail, especially above 12,500’. I used MicroSpikes and a pole. There were people without traction who did okay since the snow was mostly still fresh. They minded it more early in the day before the snow softened. There could be more ice in coming days. Traction recommended.
|2012-07-14||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The route was snow free and very easy to navigate. There is a bunch of loose scree at the top of some of the Class 3 portions, so be careful when following other climbers and be cautious of hand/foot holds. Don‘t want to hit anyone with falling rock!
|2012-06-23||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Completely snow free.
|2012-06-07||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: There was almost no snow on the route, with the exception of a tiny field almost not worth mentioning (easily skirted) and a little bit near the summit surrounding the white rock. Some snow present in the gully‘s but was easily avoided. I brought spikes, but definitely were unnecessary!
|2012-06-03||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Climbed the Kelso Ridge solo starting at the trailhead at 0550. Found almost no snow on the route but then traversed to the south (climber‘s left) under the "Knife Edge" crux near the top into the Dead Dog Couloir and went straight up on soft snow that was easy to kick steps in at around 0830. Climbed with light hiking boots and trekking poles, crampons/instep crampons/microspikes would have been nice for the snow ascent. Summited in about 3 hours - and after swinging over to Grays Peak and then plunge stepping down the basin between the two mountains I was back at the car trailhead at 11:20. Met a gentlemen at the trailhead who climbed the entire Couloir just behind me and then skied it. He said the snow was great for skiing and he felt he timed his ascent/descent perfectly.
|2012-05-26||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Was up on Saturday, started from the Trailhead around 6:00 AM. This was by far, too late in the day. By the time we got to the base of Dead Dog, the snow was softening up to the point that we were postholing sometimes up to our waste. As another conditions report stated, there were a lot of rock falling, making the climb dangerous.
|2012-05-26||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Packed into base of coulior last night. No need for snow shoes. Lots of wind. Started climb at 5AM. Topped out at 7AM. Rock fall as soon as sun rose due to lack of a hard freeze. Hugged left edge the whole way to avoid rock fall. Snow continuous to summit. Snow consolidated almost in entirety; some long stretch of front pointing. Lots of smoke from NM fires and lots of wind on top (~50 mph). Good climb.
|2012-05-21||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Continuous snow starts just before the crux. Microspikes helped but not mandatory. No need for ice axe if you are careful. Should melt out quick with the heat the next few days.
|2012-05-06||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Climbed Dead Dog today and descended from the Saddle, here‘s what the Dead Dog Coulouir looked like today~
|2012-04-25||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead Dog in great shape, seems to be fully consolidated with no avy debris though some sizeable rocks have fallen and are 6-12 inches into the snow. I went early since the forecast was for a low of only 29 at 13.2 kft. At parking lot before 5 AM and temp of 40 F. Snow solid and well frozen all the way to the base and up the route. At top at 7:30 AM. The snow was good in the couloir. There isn‘t much of a path initially but from 13.6k up there are solid steps in the RHS by the rocks which made the climbing easier. There were several skiers out as well with some coming up the trail at 10 AM going to DD and others. At 10 AM the snow was still pretty firm until you got below 12k ft. Snowshoes not required. It is probably safe to do this route later in the day but then you‘d miss the great sunrise photos.
|2012-04-09||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: I arrived at the winter trailhead a little before 6:00pm. Forest road 189 was definitely not suitable for 2-wheel drive vehicles yet, but likely any awd/4wd vehicle could make the summer TH. The walk from the winter TH to summer TH took about an hour over the rutted snow covered road. The hike from the summer TH to the base of Dead Dog was mostly over well packed snow that does not require snowshoes. I started up the couloir around 8:00pm. The snow was in good condition for climbing in the lower elevations. Between 13,500 and 14,000 feet the snow became much icier which made axe and crampon use a little trickier (Although this was around 10:00pm, so everything had froze again). At about 13,500 someone had carved out a ledge that made a convenient resting place. Above this there were some steps kicked in that made the remainder of the climb considerably easier. Once you make the ridge, the continuation of the Kelso route is rather simple to the summit. Descending from Torreys to the saddle is a mix of snow and rock. The hike down from Grays is packed snow trail that requires some sort of traction device. The route requires an axe, crampons, and helmet right now.
|2012-04-09||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead dog is in awesome condition right now. After reading other‘s reports from this weekend we decided to ski it a little later in the day so that it might be softer than what other people experienced. Definitely a good call...I skied from the summit at 12:30pm and the snow was just right. On the way up though there were was a LOT of rockfall...a few rocks came pretty close to me which was freaky, because unless you‘re looking up the couloir the entire time you‘re climbing sometimes they just fly past you and you don‘t notice until the last minute (by then it‘s too late to dodge out of the way). I‘d say climber‘s left the entire way up the couloir since most of the rocks seemed to be coming from the right side. It‘s almost possible to ski the whole way from the summit back to the trailhead (bridge) if you ski down through the willows and stay in the valley by the creek instead of following the summer trail back down. There‘s a few dry areas above that though, near where you split off from the summer trail and head towards Dead Dog. I was able to drive pretty much to the trailhead in the morning (I have a Subaru Outback) since the snow on the road was frozen, but around 1pm it was a slush-fest and I almost ran off the road a few times on the way down...I got very lucky and didn‘t get stuck. In hindsight I should‘ve parked lower down the road. But it‘s melting fast...I bet in a week or so most cars could make it all the way up there. I brought skins for my skis but never used them...an ice axe and crampons are a necessity though. Image # 2 shows the ski off the summit, and the rest are self-explanatory.
|2012-04-08||Route: West Ridge from Loveland Pass
Info: Tough, exhausting, but rewarding! That‘s how I would describe this route. I noted this in my peak conditions report for Grizzly D, but no extra gear was needed up to the Grizzly summit. We were able to get by with normal winter gear and hiking boots. As far as the approach to Torreys summit goes, be extremely careful not to miss the trail! My wife and I somehow missed it from the saddle and bushwacking up scree and loose rock for almost 1600 ft. drained so much energy...energy we needed for the return to Loveland TH. We did regain the trail about 3/4 of the way up, but it was pretty brutal as we were constantly slipping and losing ground prior to that. The route was completely dry to the top, with the exception of a snow-filled gully that is avoidable. You must still be careful on the way down, even when on the trail. The rock and dirt is extremely loose. Given the state of the trail, I jumped into the snow-filled gully and just ran/glided down the whole mountainside...it was a blast! I can‘t imagine that gully staying filled with snow too much longer though. The only spot where microspikes may have been useful was going up Grizzly D from the Torreys/Grizzly saddle. The terrain is pretty steep and snow covered. Coming down wasn‘t a problem, but going up could be rather difficult. That being said, my wife and I were able to do it with no problem by sticking as close to the ridge as possible on the way up. Overall, this is one long haul! Definitely be prepared mentally and physically. My wife and I started to unravel a bit after we summited Grizzly for the 2nd time and saw the roller coaster hike we still had left to the Loveland Pass TH. We pushed through it though. As much as an accomplishment I felt when I finished this hike, I probably would not do it again.
|2012-04-07||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: We were able to drive all the way to the trailhead. Walking from there required no snowshoes or traction devices. Once at the base of the Dead Dog we found the snow to be very hard. As we ascended there were several areas where the snow was bullet proof and very hard to get purchase with crampons. As the sun started heating the walls of the couloir lots of snow began falling down the couloir, this was also due to the high winds (measured on an anemometer at 40mph). We did not ski it, but those that did said it never softened up that day.
|2012-04-07||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: We left our 2WD at the highway and hiked about half a mile up the road before being picked up. Despite the sign that says "Road is IMPASSABLE," we made it all the way to the summer trailhead in a Subaru Outback without issue. The route is in great shape; a little sketchy for skiiers but excellent for hikers. We traversed the saddle over to Gray‘s which, though windy, was no trouble. Crampons are a must for the couloir; microspikes highly recommended for the traverse/descent. Very little post-holing; snowshoes not required.
|2012-03-25||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead dog is great right now for anyone looking to ski it. There is plenty of coverage and spring corn when we ripped it on Sunday!
|2012-03-17||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: See Grays Peak update for road condition and standard route condition. Kelso Ridge is very dry with only a few areas of snow. The knife edge can be walked across, but take care going around the white granite rock just after. Microspikes can be helpful in the snowy areas but generally are not needed until after the knife edge and granite rock where the slope is snow-covered with talus sticking out for the last push to the summit. An axe would be helpful towards the very top but otherwise not too necessary. The south slopes route from Grays Peak is half hardpacked snow and half dry.
|2012-03-13||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Went up Torreys (Kelso) & Grays yesterday (03/13). Conditions are the driest I‘ve ever seen. Axe & crampons stayed in the bag. Micro-spikes very useful. Dead Dog looks to be in great shape. On the way down Grays I met 2 guys (father & son) that were going up Torreys to ski it.
|2012-03-10||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Kelso Mountain, Torreys via Kelso, and Grays: TH: Don‘t even bother trying to drive beyond the I-70 lot. Road: Hard pack (snow-mobile) or dry. Some skiers have been skidding down it. Kelso Mtn - Ascended the tedious East slopes (zig-zagged up grass tips). No signs of instability or avy concerns. Some out-of-state skiers climbed up and skied down the avy chute facing the summer TH thinking it was Dead Dog. Descended the S ridge to Kelso Ridge (the scrambly sections on the Kelso Mtn side are dry and the ridge is either dry or hard snow). Kelso Ridge - Excellent condition. Almost felt like cheating. Only used microspikes, but an axe could be handy in spots. Lower cruxes are essentially dry; most obstacles either climbed directly or bypassed to the right on ledges/gullies with good holds. No reason to venture near avy spots. Never felt the need to pull out the rope. Torreys/Grays standard routes - Hard snow pack. Microspikes or light traction highly recommended. No need for snowshoes. Oddly dry in the basin. No real avy danger. Some debris off Kelso across trail that is avoidable, but not really concerning. Pics start here: https://picasaweb.google.com/105978537438093356597/Winter2012#5718467414697730354
|2012-02-17||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Just climbed Kelso Ridge - TR to follow. There was a recent slide on Kelso mountain, the runout path came about 100 yards from the summer trailhead. No avy condition on route - but had to climb halfway up Gray‘s to avoid a questionable convex wind loaded slope. That was on the decent.