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Pawnee Pass

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Wed May 05, 2010 12:26 pm

Thinking about snowshoeing in IPW this Saturday... If I head towards Pawnee Pass via Brainard Lake TH and stick to the trail, is there any avalanche danger on the slopes leading up to the pass? I have no plan of bagging Shoshoni or others near the pass, just the pass itself, but I also don't feel like trying to breathe through snow if that's a real possibility.

I honestly don't think I will make it as far as the pass, I'm just curious if I should be that concerned if I do.

Thanks!
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
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The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
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[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
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Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
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rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby kimo » Wed May 05, 2010 1:09 pm

The summer trail switchbacks once or twice up the final slope to Pawnee Pass. IIRC, that slope is 30-40 degrees and being a leeward aspect, most likely wind loaded.

I recall a steep section just before the upper basin that could be sketch. But if you can gain the pass safely, the trek to Pawnee Peak is up an easy slope.

At the very least, a trek to Lake Isabelle should be highly rewarding. That is a beautiful cirque. Here is a trip report from this past summer that may help you visualize some of the terrain:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=6711

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby mtnmaneric » Wed May 05, 2010 1:20 pm

I was up there on Saturday in whiteout conditions. There was A LOT of fresh snow, 2-3' in some areas. It seemed to have bonded well to the old layers, but fresh wind loading and warm temps probably changed the snowpack.

It was a slog, 11 hours RT from the winter gate at Brainard Lake. Sweet day though, well worth the summit of Pawnee!
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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Wed May 05, 2010 1:49 pm

From the parking area where it's gated off and has the trail to Left Hand reservoir, did you walk down the road or take the snowshoe trail towards the Brainard TH?

Lake Isabelle cirque and the summit lake at Mt Evans are probably my favorite places in Colorado...

When coming up from the Isabelle Glacier/Pawnee Pass fork, I remember there being serveral switchbacks on the side of a large rock formation before you get to the final flat, rocky portion where you can really see the final slope up to the pass. These switchbacks are a concern and the final ones up to the pass are as well.

I have no training concerning avalanche safety. Are you guys suggesting that there's a possibility that it could be dangerous? If that's the case, I'll try for lake Isabelle, but if there's any chance of avalanche danger, I honestly have no idea of how to judge if a slope is safe or dangerous if it's snow covered.
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby mtnmaneric » Wed May 05, 2010 1:56 pm

We walked the road, it splits right and goes through the campground to cut off a little distance. After reaching the summer TH for Long Lake, we followed the trail (i.e. path of least resistence) past Long Lake and stayed in the trees and out of the wind. Then stayed North and contoured up into the upper basin with small lakes below the summit of Pawnee. We didn't see the trail all day.

There will be avalanche potential, lots of fresh snow, wind, and changing temperatures are the causes. Good judgement is essential.

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Wed May 05, 2010 3:54 pm

Thanks for the suggestions and help. :)
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby krz2fer » Wed May 05, 2010 4:49 pm

Right now the wind is the biggest adversary for lee slopes. It's been a bit warmer this week but winds will be whipping near 50mph late week. Your biggest concern on that slope is wind slab. Hard top layer, shooting cracks, "whoomf" sounds, etc. If you get that far see if you can punch your pole through to the next layer. If so, definitely a no-go. If you have zero experience assessing snow during winter-like conditions you may want to stay off that angle entirely.
Chris

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Mon May 10, 2010 11:12 am

Ended up sleeping in my sweet Chevy Tracker at the winter trailhead and started in about 5:15. Snowshoed across Long Lake, and then headed north off of the beaten "path" (snowshoes/ski tracks) looking for the way up to the Isabelle area. Should've stayed with the rest of the tracks; I started to get tired around 9:30 and decided to call it a day without finding the way up to the next drainage.

Also, looking at the slope from the road leading up to Brainard, Pawnee Pass has a much steeper angle than I remember and I don't think I would have tempted it even if I had made it that far.

Bonus for the day was that I had never crosses a frozen lake before. I walked both ways on Long Lake, and definitely get jittery on the way back when I heard some creeking when I was stepping (though to be honest, it might have just been my snowshoes squeaking plus my nerves at the thought of falling into freezing water with giant, plastic feet).

Thanks for the info, everyone!
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

User avatar
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:41 am
Location: Denver

Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:20 am

Interested again. It has been HOT (it was a great weekend to move all of the heavy furniture into my new apartment ](*,) ) and I can see tons of rock on Evans and Longs from Denver. Can anyone give an update on snow on Pawnee Pass?
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

User avatar
Posts: 481
Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:38 am

Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby Steve Gio » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:42 am

Duno if this helps. I was going to do a backpacking loop of Pawnee and Bucanan passes last 4th of july weekend.It had been warm and the ranger issued us a permit 2 weeks prior saying it would be fine. I called that week to check trail conditions and the same ranger said without crampons and ice axe it is not doable. She was also surprised that someone would issue me a permit for that date, even though she is the one that did. ](*,) Anyway we postponed until Late July and it was an awesome loop.

Don't know what you are planning or prepared for or whatever but thought I would share. Good luck.

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Re: Pawnee Pass

Postby speth » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:49 am

Just looking for a dayhike, and I didn't know if I needed snowshoes still.
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days. My life, my dream. Nothin's gonna stop me now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[-X What are you insinuating? Do you think I'm Ranger? =; Because if you do than you are dead wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
rage-quit mountaineer wrote:I give up. Bill, just delete my account.

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