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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-27||Route: East Ridge
Info: Almost entirely snow free until last tenth of a mile. Summit itself is snow free. Microspikes helped on the way down.
|2015-06-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: The trail is nice and dry until about the last 1000‘ or so, which is still covered in snow. It is possible to stay to the far left edge of the ridge and hike up through the rocks though (which are clear of snow). If you prefer to stay on the snow, spikes are very helpful. Summit is still covered in snow. Beautiful hike with lots of mountain goats...some of which got a little too close for comfort.
|2015-06-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: Some snow patches on way up and last quarter mile had a snow field on the direct route to cross. Started at about 7 AM and snow as nice and firm on the way up. Spikes on the last snow field made a difference but not required, don‘t bother bringing snow shoes. Saw others in running shoes which, #1 you shouldn‘t be doing a 14er in running shoes, but #2, if you make that bad decision you can stay under the ridge to avoid snow and instead scramble to get to summit. Also saw skis & boards and snow field was ride-able but get there early. Snow was pretty soft on the way back down around 9:30 AM. Did a lot of sliding in the boots since it was easier than trying to keep a footing.
|2015-06-20||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started around 6:45am. There were about 9 or so "mini" snow patches that you had to walk over and then a larger snowpatch right before the summit, but they were very walkable. There is a dry path almost the entire length of the incline above treeline that you can follow next to the giant snowfield (except the last bit of snow that you have to walk over before the summit). Snow was firm til about 7am then started softenly and getting squishy. I‘d say no to snowshoes and maybe to chains (they helped when I ran down the snowfield on the descent) and there are some glissade tracks for the way down too.
|2015-06-20||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: Cristo Couloir is in excellent shape this late into June and a continual line of snow cover on the couloir could remain through mid July. Crampons are recommended, along with an early morning start.
|2015-06-19||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started 0530, there are several snow fields to cross. Most are trenched, easy to follow. Minor postholing on the ascent, started sinking occasionally around 0800, at most waist deep. The snow can often be avoided by bypassing to the hiker‘s left on the ascent. On the descent, the snow had turned into mashed potatoes, soupy. Postholing was more frequent, but still a relatively small issue, IMHO. I did not use snowshoes (you will posthole with them on, just as much as without them, takes more effort to extract yourself with snowshoes on!), or any traction. Waterproof boots necessary. Doable conditions. Start early to get the firmest snow!
|2015-06-13||Route: East Ridge
Info: There is still some snow below tree line but not very much. Probably 90% of the route above tree line was still covered in snow. We summited just after 7 am and the snow was firm the entire way up. Microspikes were useful though not absolutely necessary. Around 8-8:30 though snow started becoming soft pretty quickly. We had abundant postholing (up to the hip at times) on the way down. So if you get an early start, microspikes are more useful. I‘d say snowshoes are still useful if you plan to get a late start. (3 of 4 in our group had microspikes, no snowshoes)
|2015-06-06||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: There is still some excellent snow on this route. We used the wet slide paths today for most of the ascent- found good snow there as this was scraped down to the harder bed surface. Some areas were a struggle, but it was fun trying to find and stick to the better quality snow. Many wet slides on the other side of the valley (North and East aspects)- this route has seen some wet slides but is not as affected (found reasonable skiing conditions on the descent- earlier would have been better). Any wet slides on the descent were easily manageable and did not propagate. The weather was in and out but we stuck with it and had some great views as the clouds passed through the valley and overhead- some snow but no lightening. We were not able to find the summit register as there is still a lot of snow up top. I witnessed a large wet slide release off the due West end of the valley and run over a large cliff (the ridge between Wheeler and Drift peaks). The snow is not fully refreezing overnight, so I would recommend an early start if possible. We were greeted this morning by (no joke) 35 mountain goats! The surrounded us while we got our gear on- it was pretty unreal. I‘ve never seen that many together at one time.
|2015-06-03||Route: East Ridge
Info: Left the trailhead at about 7:20 in the morning. The snow was firm enough for the first quarter mile or so to not put on snowshoes, but after that it became a necessity. There was evidence everywhere of people postholing up to their hips. Above the tree line I ran into 8 other hikers, four without flotation. While we all ended up summitting around the same time, it took those without flotation a 90 minute head start to get there. The way down was even worse. Standing at the summit we began sinking in to our calves, and by the time I got below 13,000‘, with snowshoes, I was sinking above my ankles. I had a great time but I‘m sure it wasn‘t nearly as enjoyable for those without flotation. Overall it took me 4 hours to summit, and 1.5 hours to get back down (thanks to glissading). Snow still covers 90% of the route, so you‘ll end up finding your own way to the treeline.
|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!