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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-02-13||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: About a mile below Vicksburg on Chaffee County 390 the road crests a small hill. Don‘t bother driving beyond it. My 2wd car got quite stuck at the end of the straight stretch beyond the hill. Another tenth of a mile beyond that was a spectacular stuck vehicle mess that looked to be of the 4wd variety. There is parking on both sides of the approach to the hill. Beyond that, the road to Winfield is bootpack, with a single snowmobile track to the trailhead. Fresh snow can make the road to the trailhead hard to follow. I thought that I had bypassed the trailhead when I had not yet reached it and ended up climbing the northeast ridge of Browns Peak. After a traverse to Huron, I descended a reasonable approximation of the Northwest Slopes route, reaching the road a bit beyond the trailhead. On both the ascent and the descent, snow below timberline was knee deep and somewhat faceted; snowshoes would sink most of the way to the ground but provide some traction where they stopped. On the descent, my snowshoes submarined frequently, making for an unpleasant slog. You don‘t want to use either my ascent trench or my descent trench. There is an old trench leading from the trailhead, but it hasn‘t been used (by humans) since the recent snows; I could not find it at timberline. Above timberline is a mix of supportive snowfields and relatively clear areas (photo 1).
|2014-11-07||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Yet another report good only until the next storm--two days maybe? Anyway...the road in to Winfield is its usual potholed and washboardy self. As you approach Winfield there will be more packed snow patches across the road. A 2WD should be fine as long as your tires aren‘t bald. I went ahead and drove up to the 4WD trailhead above Winfield and my tracks were the first since the last storm (save some human tracks). I was worried about ice sheets I had seen in previous reports but maybe the 1-3" of snow covered them and gave me extra traction??? I had no trouble getting to the end of the road in my Tacoma in 4Hi. From the TH, the trail up through treeline is mostly snowcovered (1-3") with alternating crusty and powdery stuff. There are a decent number of dry sections, too. Getting across the basin was no problem--I just looked for dry areas or the shallowest snow depth (mostly less than ankle deep). Once on the steep slope above the basin, the snow increased and I just followed lines with shallow snow and rocks--made it all the way to the summit without traction (I‘d recommend micro spikes once above the basin, though...I was being stubborn and didn‘t stop to put them on). If you pick your route well going up the mountain you shouldn‘t sink any deeper than ankle or shin here and there. On the descent I used micro spikes all the way back to the 4WD trailhead and it helped me move a lot faster. I followed the snow on the upper mountain and a few plunge steps sank me to my knees a few times. Be careful! So, it is certainly doable this weekend if you are looking for a 14er. Take poles, gaiters, and micro spikes, and have fun! (Full report with pics by tomorrow night on my website: www.danieljoderphotography.com)
|2014-11-02||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Sunday November 2, 2014 was not a good day to hike. Tried to reach Huron trailhead in the morning but had to stop 1 mile from the trailhead as the 4WD road around Winfield was accumulating lots of snow. Controlling the car was becoming very difficult especially in this narrow dirt road (was not easy to turn the car back). The road to Belford/Missouri trailhead was however ok before that but the poor visibility convinced me to give up for that day....
|2014-10-31||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Road clear to 2wd TH. Several small icy patches to 4wd th where creek crossing are - I saw a jeep wrangler made it up ok though. Trail clear to just above the basin, then mostly covered in a couple inches of packed snow. Microspikes and trekking poles/ice axe needed beyond that point. I did fine with just trekking poles, but with snow in the forecast, may want ice axe for self-arresting. Bit breezy and cool, but lovely considering the time of year.
|2014-10-26||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Hardpacked/icy snow above the basin. Very windy and cold. Dry and easy hike up to the basin.
|2014-10-18||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: No snow until above the basin. Above the basin, snow up to knee deep can be encountered, but easily avoided. Gaiters are very helpful, as are poles and microspikes.
|2014-10-04||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Snow from the recent storms filled in between the rocks on the upper mountain - as deep as mid shin for stretches. There was one set of tracks from yesterday, but today‘s traffic packed it in. Below treeline there was snow on the trail in places but never deep. You‘ll want a pole(s). I took microspikes but didn‘t use them. I do recommend taking them because the melt freeze cycle could make it more icy.
|2014-09-14||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: No snow on trail at all. Trail a bit muddy in spots along the meadow before you hit the ridge line (and icy, if you‘re up there before oh, 9:30ish) but easily avoidable. Very windy and cold up top, so bundle up!
|2014-09-07||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: We climbed Huron this weekend and it was completely dry.
|2014-07-12||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: As previously stated, trail is snow free. Made it to the upper 4WD TH in a new Forester. Rough road, would not attempt it with anything with less clearance. 390 is already a washboard, as usual.
|2014-07-06||Route: North Ridge from Lulu Gulch
Info: Hiked Lulu Gulch route. There were a few areas of snow on northeast side of Brown‘s Peak but easily avoided. We had a nice glissade on the way down. Snow on ridge between Brown‘s Peak and Huron is limited to the east side of the ridge. The grassy slope up the north side of Brown‘s Peak has some very steep, loose, gravelly areas. We found it best to stay on the east side of the small creek where the rocks were more stable.
|2014-07-05||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: No snow on the route (just a couple spots nearby). The basin has lots of water in it, and the trail was muddy through part of the basin, the steps up to the upper slopes, and the first few switchbacks on the upper slopes. The rocks for the last bit were dry. We drove up the 4WD road, and at 7AM it would not have been too wet to walk across (maybe getting your feet a little wet). The creek crossing after the 4WD trailhead was doable with a trekking pole and a few well placed rocks.
|2014-07-05||Route: North Ridge from Lulu Gulch
Info: Summer conditions on this route. 4x4 road was free of snow. We were able to drive to 11,600 to camp. The few snow fields on the route were easily avoidable. However, due to rain the previous evening, the ridge was slick in the morning but solid on the descent. Minus the final push to the summit, only passed two other climbers on this route.
|2014-06-28||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: I hiked Huron via the 4WD road and Northwest Slopes. Began at 6AM, was back to the car before noon. The stream crossing on the 4WD road, and the stream crossing early on the trail both required getting feet wet. The trail was dry until the basin. Snow was a non-issue, 50 yards to cross at most, and a couple of smaller patches that probably don‘t even rate a mention. Running water on the trail through the basin, had a frozen crust on top in the morning, and was muddy on the way down. There were a couple of iced over sections, heading out of the basin on the switchbacks, these were slick mud on the way down. The weather was perfect, a great day for a first 14er.
|2014-06-23||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Second climb of the season and definitely worth it! Somewhat later start than we thought but got offered a ride from a nice pair of hikers in a jeep to the 4WD trailhead (we drove a civic) and it saved some time. Nearly flawless climb, little wind (no more than 5mph, maybe a 10mph gust or two) and no snow except in the basin just above tree line. Two feet of snow left, max. Easy to walk over during ascent as it was frozen, post-holed once on the descent after snow started to melt. Summit was sunny and calm - perfect lunch break! Was my partner‘s first fourteener and he loved it (although I hope he doesn‘t think they are all this easy now...). Snowed on the way back down and sleeted while walking the 4WD road back to the car but not an issue at all. Had to get our feet a little wet crossing two streams, but it was so warm out it didn‘t matter. Great climb to help start the season for me .
|2014-06-22||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Left Winfield at 6am. Road was in good condition to the trail head. Saw two stock Subaru Outbacks at trail head. Trail was in great shape all the way up to the basin. Basin had some snow fields, however it was simple to walk over with hard frozen snow. On the way down the snow field was softer with minimal post-holing. Great day for a hike with beautiful views.
|2014-06-15||Route: North Ridge from Lulu Gulch
Info: My partner and I hiked up the 4WD road to the 11,400‘ trail junction. At the trail junction we stopped because the road left up Lulu Gulch was covered by snowdrifts 10‘ to 15‘ high as far as we could see (not very far, maybe 100 yards). The snow was solid to walk on but we didn‘t feel like continuing on without microspikes or crampons.
|2014-06-14||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Great conditions - virtually no snow except a big snowfield in the basin at around 11,900 ft. We post-holed a few times, even before dawn when the snow was still mostly frozen, and it could get pretty wet as it starts melting, but it‘s manageable. No snow equipment needed.
|2014-06-09||Route: North Ridge from Lulu Gulch
Info: The trail description for this route contains the following comment: Continue to follow the Lulu Gulch Rd as it curls around Browns Peak‘s north ridge and into the Lulu Gulch Basin. 0.3mi later you will reach treeline at 11,600‘. (CAUTION: If you are doing this route in Winter the 100yards after you leave treeline tends to be loaded with snow and can be avalanche prone, proceed with caution, one person at a time) Is this something I would still need to be concerned about (maybe more concerned about) if I went this week? I‘m pretty much into avoiding avalanche prone areas... Thanks~
|2014-06-01||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Lots of soft snow and postholing below treeline. Above treeline, the basin holds tons of snow, but it‘s firm. The ridge has some snow patches which are easily avoided. They‘ll probably be gone in 1-2 weeks. No snowshoes or traction devices are needed once one gains the ridge.