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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-05-31||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Nice conditions early for the climb. Got a bit soft as the sun came out and the temps went up. Several skiers coming down who all must be vegetarians as they were all talking about corn or beans or something... :-)
|2015-05-29||Route: East Ridge
Info: Early morning (6 am) departure from the trailhead. Snow still starts almost immediately after departing the trailhead. A few bare spots where you will want to take off snowshoes or skis. The day was partly cloudy and the route was more often in shade than in sunlight; this kept the snow firm longer. The lower part of the route is full of evidence of people post holing up to their hips. The upper part of the route is still fully snow covered, firm, with a 1" wind crust (pencil) over recent snow (fist). On the ridge we never sank in deeper than 2 inches. Skiing down was very nice. The snow is mostly smooth, and there are a few rocks sticking out here and there. Just above the trees at 11:30 am, we met a party of four climbing without snowshoes, and they were crawling from post hole to post hole. I would not climb this route without snowshoes or skis.
|2015-05-17||Route: East Ridge
Info: Continuous snow coverage from the flat section just below treeline ~11,700‘ all the way to the summit. As one would expect in May, snow conditions are variable including section of breakable crust, wind slab, powder, re-frozen ice, and corn. Below that, snow is discontinuous and melting out fast. Would guess that most of the below-treeline section will be snow-free in a couple of weeks. We used snowshoes on pretty much the entire ascent, and much of the descent. Microspikes would‘ve also worked for the upper mountains, but some kind of traction is definitely nice. Snowshoes were a must on the walk-out near treeline and below (the post-holing is truly horrendous), and, unfortunately, it does mean you have to take them on and off a couple of times in the woods. For skiers, with the current state of things I‘d recommend bringing snowshoes for the below-treeline portion and then stashing them somewhere near treeline, as trying to either skin or ski through the trees right now would be an exercise in extreme frustration. That said, the ski from the summit to just below treeline looks great. Sorry, no photos due to whiteout conditions most of the day.
|2015-05-13||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Parked at the winter closure below the dam and walked the ~1 mile to the base of the couloir. Lots of avy debris on the lower 1/4 of the route. Solid snow, often times deep, all the way to the top of the route. Summit and summit ridge snow covered but solid. Back at the base of the route at noon, and the lower 1/3 of the route was, by then, slushy but stable, with joyful postholing up to knees and sometimes hips.
|2015-05-11||Route: McCullough Gulch (851) Road, Pacific Peak
Info: McCullough Gulch (851) Road was snow covered at the entrance of the road. Some dry patches at the beginning as I passed Quandary‘s lower standard route.
|2015-05-03||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Parked at the gate, about a half mile below the dam. Reached the dam at 6am where I put on crampons and had them on all the way to the summit. For the first two hours or so the snow was neve, excellent for cramponing. The overcast morning sky kept direct sun off the couloir until close to 830, which was great for keeping the snow firm as I continued ascending. At 830, the clouds finally burned off and the snow immediately started getting softer, even close to 14K, but it was still great for cramponing all the way up. There were a number of steps kicked into the couloir in a few different lines, most of which hung close to the left (west) side on the raised shoulder. I put a new line in straight up the middle given how great the snow was. Reached the summit just before 9am where I hung out for half an hour waiting for the snow to cook more before glissading down. When I arrived, there was one other guy just summitting from the East Ridge, but he left shortly and I had the place to myself for about twenty minutes, which is always a rare thing on Quandary. No goats either. At 930 I began to descend, plunge-stepping in the softer snow down off the summit block before removing my crampons for the glissade. Conditions for this were a little trickier. Where I sat down, the slope was getting a little soft, but only the top two or three inches. I did a few practice arrests before committing and pushing off. These were fine, so off I went. However, only a few hundred feet down, I encountered a slope which was much softer, and I had some trouble arresting here. I ended up glissading down on my stomach, leaning into my axe in the arrest position to control my speed until I reached a slightly different aspect and angle that was more controllable. This starting moving a lot of wet snow, but only that directly underneath me. There was no propagation indicating a slab nor was the depth of the moving snow too concerning. The lower 2000ft of the couloir was much easier, the snow cooking quickly into corn. I could control my speed easily with my heels. Ended up back at the dam at 10am, making for a 3 hour ascent and 30min descent. Gotta love snow climbing if for no other reason than the quick exits. If you were one of the three people who passed me near the summit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a number of hero shots of you guys coming up the couloir, and one of the snowboarder coming down from the parking lot. Get out there while it‘s good! Here‘s a video of the climb and glissade for anyone curious in what it looked like up there. https://youtu.be/6_ekb-KwK1A
|2015-04-29||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Photos of Cristo from Hoosier Pass, today, 4/29. I don‘t know the stability of the Coulomb but at least you can see current snow coverage. link Large version of pic #3
|2015-04-29||Route: East Ridge
Info: I didn‘t climb Quandary but took some photos of the East Ridge from 13er Red Mountain. Quandary is caked with snow!
|2015-04-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started from the TH around 08:00 and conditions were fantastic - mostly sunny, very little wind. Trail was well established even with the recent snow and was easy to follow past the tree line and to the top. Took our time up and topped out around 13:30. Used microspikes until about 13,000ft and changed to snowshoes for the last 1,200ft. Probably wouldn‘t have needed them if we had started earlier and moved faster but it was a great day to just take your time. Had lunch and made our way down before the snow started to come in. Overall, great day on Quandary.
|2015-04-23||Route: East Ridge
Info: Taken from a climb of Lincoln
|2015-04-06||Route: East Ridge
Info: Peak had hardly any snow; ascent was tough because of wind; trail was packed and eminently do-able with just microspikes and poles. An early start is advisable because snow softens later in the day, and there are a couple of feet of snow from 12,500ish and below. A great winter 14‘er!
|2015-04-05||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Climbed and skied Cristo Couloir on Sunday. With my modified Jeep we were able to make it most of the way to the dam. We started up the couloir at around 7:30. The climb was on good, firm snow pretty much the entire way up. After taking a mandatory beer break on the summit and hanging out for a bit to let the snow soften up we started the ski down at about noon. We were able to ski from the summit, although the first hundred or so vertical feet required careful navigation through talus. Snow was firm and icy at first gradually turning into corn lower down.
|2015-04-05||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started at 7:40, summited just before noon. Sounded like there were a lot of wind gusts early morning, but all the wind we experiences was pretty mild. Micro spikes would have been great on the way up, hard packed enough in the morning to not need snow shoes but the last half mile was pretty slick. Below tree line became slushy in the afternoon. Trail well marked due to a lot of traffic.
|2015-04-03||Route: East Ridge
Info: Skied the East Slope this morning. We were able to skin from the car to the summit. The snow on the East slope was heavy wind deposited. About 6"+ was transported into the face. Was able to ski to the car with only one short section at the TH incline required the skis to come off.
|2015-03-29||Route: West Ridge
Info: First fourteener ascended this year. Had good firm snowpack with minimal postholing. Got a late start (9:30) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as most people who ascended before me did not summit due to extreme winds at the top. By the time I made it up the winds had disappeared completely for a beautiful day. Be sure to wear sunglasses though as I got some unfortunate corneal sunburns from all the snowpack.
|2015-03-29||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: With stable conditions and a solid string of melt-freeze cycles on a south-facing couloir, we decided to try for an early jump on snow-climbing season. Starting from the winter closure at 6 a.m., we hiked ~2 miles to the base of the route at Blue Lakes dam. The first two-thirds of the gully were perfect, with boots sinking no further than ankle deep and many areas where only crampon points penetrated. As the wind picked up higher on the route, we started to encounter more calf-deep powder blown over the consolidated base. I‘m not sure if a continuous ski line would be feasible without traversing far to the right, as we encountered a small unavoidable rock band about 400‘ from the summit. Beyond that the snow regained its firmness, and we cramponed up to a final talus step that ended immediately on the summit.
|2015-03-22||Route: West Ridge
Info: Good snow all the way up. Was a little hard packed and firm at very top. Skied down the bowl, lots of tracks there already so wasn‘t concerned about avy danger. I forgot my black 3-piece collapsible poles at the parking lot, if found please call 707.812.4641
|2015-03-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: Here‘s what the east ridge/bowl looked like today 3/21/15
|2015-03-18||Route: East Ridge
Info: On 3/18, I used crampons the entire way from the parking lot to the summit. It was pretty icy in spots and the snow pack was solid so the crampons were a blessing. Most on the other people on the route that day wore microspikes. I started at 7am and reached the summit at about 11:15. I used snowshoes for flotation when I reached the treeline on my way back down and was glad that I brought them despite previous reports that they weren‘t necessary. Wonderful experience for my first winter 14er.
|2015-03-16||Route: East Ridge
Info: The weather changes over the next few days, but here is what it was like today...I used microspikes up and back and they worked perfectly for the conditions--but I was back at the trailhead by 9:25a.m. (summit sunrise photography) and the snow was still pretty firm. If you are on the mountain later with warm temps, you‘ll probably want flotation for at least the treeline area plus or minus a few hundred feet. Above and below that, the trail is pretty hard packed by the passage of many feet. Saw a number of happy skiers headed up today. I also saw a lost cell phone sitting on the post as you leave the parking lot for the trail. Don‘t know if it is still there, but at least 20 people walked by it and left it alone.