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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-08-20||Route: East Slope
Info: Summer conditions as mentioned. Rain the previous night caused wet willows...and thus wet hikers. Bring waterproof stuff if you want to stay dry in the willows before ascending the peak. If you do get wet, just know you will dry off fast because the sun hits the east slopes early! One other note: the sign for Snowmass Lake in the route description pictures was different than the sign we found just before the lake (see picture). Go straight at the sign; do not turn left!
|2016-08-06||Route: East Slope
Info: As expected, Snowmass is in complete summer conditions- you don't even have to set foot in snow if you really didn't want to! A sign at the TH said there was a bear sighting 8/2 in the area. I found there were two options for hiking southwest around the lake, If you follow the trail near the shore of the lake, don't be surprised if you have to bushwack a little- pretty straight forward though, nothing terrible. We climbed the gully in rain, and it was not as challenging as I had expected/read it to be in the given conditions. Took the direct variation to the summit- I was happily surprised to find there was alot of dirt mixed in with the rocks (as opposed to just a bunch of loose rock) which made for a relatively easy climb up to the ridge. Backpacked in, but just used trail runners and rain gear to summit (no spikes, axe, etc.)
|2016-07-20||Route: West Slope
Info: The roads to the trailhead from Marble and through Crystal are both clear. There entire route to the summit is clear of snow and free of any unexpected obstacles. It's surprisingly busy out there right now with 4x4 people and campers at Geneva Lake. The wild flowers are going crazy and it's a good time to climb!
|2016-07-17||Route: East Slope
Info: The snowfield is almost gone. I was able to connect snow lines between the base of the bump on the ridge, 13600 or so, and down to around 12700. But it requires some traversing and invariably sinking in near the boulders. Some parts were steep enough I was glad to have the ice axe. But going forward I would leave axe and spikes home and just boulder hop it. Also, the gully above the lake is extremely troublesome, class 4 scree in places :-) Recommend ascending/descending the grass on the right side of the gully and crossing the creek as low as possible.
|2016-07-16||Route: East Slope
Info: Summer conditions. Above the lake and once above the scree slope, as you head up to the ridge, you can walk on snow at times or you can avoid it--your choice. So, no traction/ax really needed. On the way down, we did choose to use traction and ax to link together some snowfields to make the descent go faster, but even so the snow looks like it is melting out fast and wasn't ideal for long glissades (a 10a.m. descent, approx). If you do decide to walk on the snow beware of postholing to the hip next to the warmer rocks, especially later in the morning. No snow at all on the traverse along the ridge to the summit. On our way down to the trailhead, we saw two guys with skis/board headed up--seemed like a lot of work for some pretty crappy conditions and a very short run. Hope it went OK for them. Additional note: No campfires permitted and they were checking for bear canisters at Snowmass Lake (although, apparently, very little bear activity noted so far in the area). I will have a full trip report with pics up within a couple of days. Snowmass is an awesome mountain!
|2016-07-09||Route: West Slope
Info: Got to the trail head at 6:30 and conditions were great the whole way up, was on the summit around 10. Some snow was in the gulley but easy to avoid. I only passed two people on this route which was a nice change considering it was a Saturday summit. The West slope is a great route and highly recommend it, especially with all the flowers blooming and Geneva Lake. Lead King Basin road was dry, you definitely need a 4x4 with good ground clearance to make the trail head. An Outback or small SUV won't cut it. It looks like the East slope still has a lot of snow on the face, saw a group of three people who were roped up together who were going down as I reached the summit.
|2016-07-04||Route: East Slope
Info: 180 from yesterday's conditions report. This morning was perfect styrofoam up until about 7am. The notch variation went, but the snow is peeling away from the rock and that probably will no longer be possible within a few more days. The entire snowmass looks to be melting out quickly; a 2-3am start should help, but the remaining window for snowclimbing is narrowing in the next couple weeks. Gorgeous day. Be careful out there, enjoy the peak. Approach trail was muddy yesterday, only muddy in spots leaving today. Photos to come.
|2016-07-03||Route: East Slope
Info: Very wet and muddy up to the lake. It rained most of the weekend so the log jam and the willows were particularly interesting. The snow mass was soft, mostly packed down. We post holed a few times, but mostly packed and slushy. We took the standard route to gain the ridge. After gaining the ridge there are a couple snow fields to cross, small. A slushy glissade down.
|2016-06-25||Route: East Slope
Info: Snow mass looks like it's receding quickly. Left the lake at 3am, and the snow below about 12,500 was still soft, sunk a few inches on each step. Above 13,000ft the snow was pretty solid at 6am. Descended around 8:30am on pretty soft snow all the way down. Was able to gain the ridge at around 13,900 on a good snow finger, but it looks like its days are numbered as it melted away from the mountain. Numerous snow fields on the west side, we missed most of them by entering high, and we stayed on the ridge to the summit, which was dry and solid.
|2016-06-19||Route: West Slope
Info: Road was blocked to the TH, which delayed my start. Trail was clear until the campsites at Geneva Lake, then snow got more and more abundant. Made it as high as Little Gem Lake where it was completely covered with snow. Snow got punchy. Some was good and solid, other areas would posthole. Snow is melting fast and waterfalls are full. There is just a lot of it, so it might still take a bit before completely melted.
|2016-06-18||Route: West Slope
Info: The trail approach to the base of the West Slope route is clear almost up to Geneva Lake. Beyond there, the snowdrifts, some quite deep, begin in earnest. The minute the sun hits anything, it softens up. There is still plenty of snow in the main gully on the West Slope, but it was too soft even by 8:00am. It might require an even earlier climb, if at all. Some signs of recent slide activity so be very careful.
|2016-06-18||Route: East Slope
Info: Trail is clear of snow almost to Snowmass lake. There are a few patches of snow just before the lake but they are small and shrinking fast. After the lake there is still complete snow cover. The thaw freeze cycle is not very good anymore so I ran into some very soft patches of snow even before sunrise. Coditions in Snowmass bowl are fantastic though. Got some great turns coming down.
|2016-06-04||Route: East Slope
Info: Abundant wet slides. Trail dry past logjam until you get up in trees, then mix of firm and super soft. Bear at 3 miles from TH about 7:30pm
|2016-05-29||Route: East Slope
Info: Hiked in on Saturday and camped at around 10k, about a half mile past where the patchy snow begins. Heeding the advice from the guys who were hiking out (thanks!), we started out from our frosty camp early, under clear, cold skies. The patchy snow was supportive from a decent overnight freeze and postholing was tolerable. Continuous skinable snow starts where "the switchbacks reenter the forest" (~10.5k) and later we were able to ski back to this point. The sun was rising by the time we reached the lake and like the previous report, we wished we had gotten an earlier start. We were cramponing up the headwall when the sun hit and it immediately turned into postholing. Once on the snowmass, the snow was still firm and we skinned up to the final pitch below the summit ridge before the snow was ripe. Considering the high temps and calm winds, we decided to drop from there rather than go for the summit and risk the headwall getting any less stable. There were impressive rockslides coming off of Hagerman Peak but surprisingly, we didn't see any wetslides or even rollerballs. Saturday's new snow seems to have consolidated into the melt/freeze crust nicely. Nevertheless, we were glad to be down and off of the sloppy snow on the headwall by 10am.
|2016-05-28||Route: East Slope
Info: The Elks have a ton of snow right now! Do not be fooled by Front Range views. Even Sopris had damn near 100% coverage on all aspects down to treeline. No snow for 4ish miles. Twoish miles of patchy/fairly continuous snow to logjam, lots and lots of slow goin' post holin', sidehilling on slush, etc...But nothing worth breaking out the skis/snowshoes for. Patchy snow up "serpentine" trail after logjam. Totally skinnable past that (we refreshed the skin trail a bit). 100% coverage to summit ridge. From the lake, everything is in to the ridgeline, nary a rock to be found. About that coverage: 2-4 inches fresh warm wet snow overnight to add a confounding dimension to snow stability. Didn't seem like anything has gotten a good long freeze since earlier in the week. Cloud cover in the nights. Point releases and roller balls by 6-7am, possibly just on new snow layer. Fresh slides in past 24 hours, mostly from thermal nonsense near the rocks. We wish we were in the snow mass by sunrise, there is still a lot of action up in that snowpack. We didn't like what we saw at 5am...The snow is not anything close to like what's going on in the front range right now. We're just going to have to come back in a few weeks. If you do it on a good night though you could get away with it. Just factor in the postholing delays as we failed to do.
|2016-05-22||Route: East Slope
Info: I know this is an old CR and I didn't post it earlier because many people posted that day. Just wanted to let everyone know I came across a bear at mile 3 of the approach. He or she was on the other side of the river. Heads up!
|2016-05-22||Route: East Slope
Info: Bit of avy potential at the moment. Very deep snow around the lake still, though the lake itself is starting to melt out. Approach is dry for most of the first 5 miles, should be dry to the logjam within a week or so. Last mile doesn't look like it will be melting out in the next few weeks. Four groups were up there this weekend, 4/5 people from one group summited today, the rest of us turned around near 12k.
|2016-05-17||Route: East Slope
Info: The route is fairly dry up until 4.5 miles in. There are a few (very short) snowfields that are easily crossed, most only calf deep. We still wore gaters, which was appreciated in these spots! At 4.5 miles we hit snow that was continuous enough to skin the rest of the way. We only had to remove our skis for 2 sections where there was not enough snow. The snow was super soft and we ran into a guy on snowshoes who said he was postholing even with snowshoes on. We were fine with our skis however. Made it to the lake and stayed overnight but didn't go further due to weather - no visibility. Attached is the clearest picture I could get from the end of the lake. From what we could see from the lake there was a lot of avy activity on the slopes of Snowmass Peak and Hagerman, most likely afternoon wet slides.
|2016-05-14||Route: East Slope
Info: Went on a recon march up the Snowmass Creek trail this morning. As per the CR from a few days ago, 85% or so of the trail is dry, but the remainder is intermittent snow fields 1-3 feet deep and 5-50 feet long on the trail. I counted 8+ downed trees on the section of trail I hiked. (Can't speak as to whether snowshoes are necessary or not; my guess would be that given how some of the basins hold snow, you'll be hauling snowshoes up to the lake but not needing them until then.) For anybody, wear your gaiters from the car. For skiers...don't bother bringing your skins, the trail didn't look like it was going to have differing conditions until the lake. Got up to the viewpoint near Bear Creek, the snowmass looks full up to the ridge. I will post my pictures tomorrow night or Monday. Rumor also has it that JK is in the Elks, so his site might have some beta sometime soon.
Info: The bad: the traverse over to north snowmass has quite a bit of icy snow and required some careful work to get over and back. I would recommend not tagging north snowmass and if you do, have an axe or at least some snow and solid rock climbing experience as it turned class 3 moves into class 5 moves really easily. Staying high on the ridge is your best bet. The good: S-ridge and West slopes are good to go, beautiful aspens all over Lead King basin. No snow.