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 Peak(s):  North Star Mtn  -  13,614 feet
 Post Date:  05/13/2013
 Date Climbed:   05/12/2013
 Posted By:  dvdcmiller

 Northstar Mountain   

Northstar is SW of Quandary, at the end of a scenic, but potentially consequential ridgeline.

I arrived just before dawn to discover i had driven up from Denver into a pure white landscape. It even made me worry if i'd brought enough layers to wear. While it has been snowing healthily in central CO since mid-February, it looks like the winter season finally ended today. It was tough stepping through the totally unconsolidated snow (at least 1 fresh foot during the week, clearly it stayed cold since). And the gusty morning wind did not make it easier. That was one of the hardest 7-8 mile trips I've done in a long time!

I ended up finding out i took off my snowshoes way too early - meaning it's much better to stash them in a drift near the ridge than to tie them up at treeline during the winter. I was expecting a mix of hard slab snow and rock at the ridgeline. Instead, i was wading through very soft slab, which weirded me out a little (i expected at least some packing in through the season).

Nearby peaks:
Northstar - i was told by one of the other 2 guys that summited Northstar before (i had not) that the conditions were typical to March.

Cristo couloir on Quandary was covered in snow (usually there are rocks exposed on the climber's right). The Blue Lakes road was said to be snowed in 1/3 mile from the highway (so pretty long approach there). There were a couple climbers (and skiers) on Cristo. Judging by the snow i was stepping through, i would personally wait a week or two to be safe on Cristo.

Fletcher (south face) was completely covered in snow. No evidence of anybody climbing on Sunday 5/12.

Democrat (north face) completely covered in snow. Couloirs looked quite full.

Lincoln had a lot of wet slides on the NE face by afternoon . Not much activity there except for the tent a ways down from the summit.

Photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19047247@N04/sets/72157633473094279/

Posted 2013/5/13.

 


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