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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-09-26||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Conditions were very good in perfect weather, probably mid-thirties on top. Early morning snow on the switchbacks up to the crux section was a bit slick and icy from the previous day's ascents. Late morning this had turned nearly to slush, may be gone by the time this message is posted. Crux was mostly free of snow and ice, as was most of the rest of the way to the top. I include a photo or two.
|2016-09-16||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Beautiful summer hike. No snow. Lots of people on it
|2016-09-05||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Great conditions (albeit very windy). Trail in great condition. Nellie Creek Road water crossings only a few inches deep and some other shallow puddles along the way.
|2016-09-04||Route: South Ridge from Wetterhorn
Info: No snow or ice anywhere on the trail. Very straightforward, well-trodden path. I was not a fan of the loose rocks of the ~13,800' crux. Beautiful weather for Labor Day Weekend!
|2016-08-30||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: 4 miles up Nellie Creek road are not too bad. In my opinion road up Antero and Castle and Conundrum seemed a lot worse. But it could be because I was driving my full size pick-up. This time we rented Nissan Frontier, I think since it has shorter frame it felt a lot less bumpy and much easier to navigate. The most difficult section of the road is at the very bottom, as soon as you turn right from 2WD road. Stay to the left of a large hole as you go up. Couple of tight turns may require some careful maneuvering. There are bunch of campsites at the trailhead. No snow was present on the trail, however, when we started ascending the ridge on the right side of the tower, rock was covered in frost. There is some snow on the summit, maybe about 1". Overall trail is in great condition, easy to follow and mostly dry. I have some videos of the road, PM if you are interested.
|2016-07-03||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Other than four snow fields to get through, peak is in good condition. Road up to the TH was muddy, but didn't cause a problem for my Ford Escape. Streams were a little high, but again, not a problem.
|2016-07-03||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Still a few small snow fields to cross. A pole might be helpful. Flotation or MicroSpikes would be over kill. Most of the trail is in summer condition. There was a fresh dusting of snow on the upper slopes - nothing that will stay. The dampness from the rain/snow over the last few days made the 2nd class ugly gully a little uglier - maybe 2+. Just watch your step on the rocks that aren't attached.
|2016-06-16||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Snow has melted out fast. Several snowfields ranging in size obscuring the trail, look at the pictures so you don't trample on alpine tundra like I did : ( There's some visible trail signs and wooden posts on the ridge, that's when I realized I didn't go far enough left. Snow was mid-thigh postholing by 9am. A lot of ice and frozen mud on the trail that because mush later. Great weather today except for some crazy wind coming from the ridge side, I'm no meteorologist but felt like sustained 40-50mph for a while which eventually calmed down. I wore trail runners although I did bring mtr boots, snowshoes, and ice axe just in case, there should be enough footsteps in the snow that you don't worry much about sliding. Maybe a couple of larger snowfields off trail if you really need to ski.
|2016-06-15||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: If you are like me and cannot get your car to the 4WD trailhead be prepared for two large creek crossings on foot. I wore trail runners all day, so I took my shoes and socks off twice and crossed in the dark of morning. Woke me up better than coffee. There is still a good amount of snow above tree line. It was nice and firm in the morning and I used it to make my own way up to the final ridge. On the final ridge leading up to the final gully I crossed two larger snowfields using micro spikes and a pole. I will take snow over loose junk rock any day, as well, I am not about trampling the fragile alpine tundra. Once in the final gully, it is obvious where to go because a large snow patch blocks the main trail and I did not want to cross it, so I did some minor scrambling to the summit plateau. I glissaded alot on the way down which is the most fun thing in the entire world to do. I did not see another human being all day. I had the entire mountain and its hellacious wind all to myself. This is a wonderful time of year to climb because the masses are still in hiding.
|2016-06-03||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: I parked at the 2wd road on the evening of 6/2 and began the trek up the 4w drive road. There was only a little bit of snow on the road. I made camp just after the 4wd trailhead. My boots hit the trail by 5 am the next morning. There is consistent snow above tree line. Fortunately there was a thick crust on the snow and it being early I didn't need snowshoes. It was a pretty quick trip up due to favorable snow conditions. I summited by 8 am. On the descent the snow began to get soft but I was out of the snow by 9:30. I postholed a few times but not enough to warrent snowshoes. It was a gorgeous day and I didn't see anyone else up there.
|2016-05-28||Route: West Face
Info: Hiked up southernmost gully of West Face route (furthest right in first picture) and descended down middle gully with approach from Matterhorn Creek. Between 1-3 inches of fresher snow resting on a more consolidated layer, but it is getting really wet in the afternoons so that probably won't last long. Skiers may want to look to the middle gully for a descent as well since there is one rock band that is almost cutting through the southern gully. Also included picture from summit facing Wetterhorn for those looking to do the Matterhorn approach as well. The snow was able to support me (240 lbs with bag, size 12 boot, no snowshoes) the entire way up except for one 100 yd section. Return just after noon was post-hole nightmare, but if you start early enough and are quick about it you lighter ones could probably do without snowshoes just fine. I seriously envy you skiers...
|2016-05-14||Route: West Face Couloirs
Info: All three couloirs are fat and in great condition. There was a single slope right at treeline which had significant whoomphing (multiple whoomphs going up at 5am, several dozen coming down at 10am). A skier traveling with our group dug a pit and found a hard slab about 3 inches thick collapsing on facets below. This slope was low angle but the same aspect as the couloirs. Another pit dug at the base of the face showed more consolidation. Not sure what the new snow will do to these conditions. Continuous snow about 1.5 miles up from the lower road to summit.
|2016-05-04||Route: Matterhorn Creek
Info: Rode the West Face of Uncompahgre Peak on the 4th. We had exceptional turns and a divinely smooth and continuous line from the summit. I encourage this as an alternative to Nellie Creek. We were able to park within 2 miles of the TH just below Yellowstone Gulch The 4th was HOT forecast 42 degrees with light winds. We dropped in at 12:17 after a leisurely summit experience and made 100-200 feet of hard turns before nailing perfect corn. We were able to ride within 50 feet of the Matterhorn Creek 2wd TH on the ascent W. aspects were Frozen Hard, but punchy with no more than 20 cm penetration if that. Snow quality, Aspect and timing allowed us to do this with only one post hole by the 4WD TH.
|2016-05-04||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Big U had been skied by 3 parties in the last 2 days. Coverage is good - only minimal sidestepping near the top, we were able to keep skis on snow for the entire 4,000 ft descent. Warm temps are already doing a number on the snowpack, with multiple wet slides under the cliffs in the PM. Just over 10 hrs RT. Nellie Creek approach is dry for about 2 miles in, with a few small snowbanks, passable in high clearance 4wd. 2nd creek crossing is still snow covered.
|2016-04-24||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Here's a look at snow conditions on the upper mountain, seen from Sunshine Peak on 4/24/2016
|2016-04-03||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Henson creek road dry to Nellie creek 4wd road junction. Nellie creek road had several dry stretches where we had to take off skis and walk around below the first creek crossing, but was well covered after that. Above the summer trailhead, there's a lot of windblown snow, but conditions are generally pretty good as long as you don't mind sun crust too much. We turned around early (~13,700) because the snow was heating up quickly and starting to turn in to mashed potatoes (around 10:15am). Didn't get to the gully at 13,800, but my guess is it's fairly wind scoured- most of the west face of the peak that we saw was. There was some weird breakable crust near the summer trailhead, but other than that the snow pack seemed to be pretty solid. Bottom line- great spring conditions, but an early start is mandatory! We started at 6am and didn't make it up before snow deteriorated.
|2016-03-06||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Road from Lake City to Nellie Creek dry on Saturday March 5, snowing hard on Sunday pm. Continuous snow from winter trailhead to 13,300 - with two or three 15-20 foot sections dry lower down. Turned around at 13,600 on first zig of steep upper slope - due to weather and time (oh so close, ugh). Did not get a look at the gully above the 13,800 ridge.
|2016-02-25||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Summitted but was only able to ski from around 13,800 ft. Not even close to enough snow for a summit descent. Started at the winter closure and then skinned up Nellie Creek to the summer trailhead. Spring snow below treeline but turns into winter snow above treeline. Solid skin track up to the summer trailhead but fades out from there.
|2015-11-07||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: TH: Snow on the road to TH, was able to make it up a mile or so prior to the trailhead in a Pro4x. TH to Treeline: Snow wasn‘t too deep, 5-6 inches of mostly powder, snow shoed through. Treeline to Switchbacks: Snow varied from hardpack to powder due to the wind. Mostly a foot deep and over 3-4ft in some drifts. Was able to snow shoe through with a few post holes up to the top of the switchbacks. Switchbacks to summit: Wet deep snow through the rock scramble, just stuck to the rocks mostly. On the last climb right below the summit, watch for super hard snow because of the wind. (used some microspikes to get down this to prevent from sliding off).
|2015-10-11||Route: South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Info: Perfect conditions. Not even a hint of snow on south and west aspects; trail is dry. From the summit, there is definitely snow on north and east aspects of other San Juan peaks.