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Couloir Season 2013

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby amanita » Mon May 13, 2013 12:49 pm

Did Cristro Couloir Sunday morning (5/12). Blue Lakes road is still snowed in, so the approach begins about 2 miles down from the dam. I skinned from my truck to the dam in about 6-8 inches of hard pack early Sunday. The approach is spectacular with so much snow on all the mountains around. Wet slides that come down on each side of the valley can be seen. Part of trail is cut by the toe end of a wet avalanche near the dam. Cristo couloir is in great shape. Really filled in. However, I realized quickly yesterday that just about 9 am is the latest you'd want to be climbing up the couloir. Due to the slope steepness on the southern aspect of the mountain, Cristo gets really sunny and hot mid morning, so the snow become extremely soft and heavy...really prime for sloppy wet slides. So beware. I ski'd with no problems sticking mainly to westerly aspects of the couloir, but the heavy late morning snow was really difficult to turn in. I'd recommend being ready to ski down around when alpenglow hits the Mosquito range across the valley (7 am?). This seemed like the prime time when there was enough light out and before the sun had started to bake the southerly aspects. Round trip~4.5 hrs
Last edited by amanita on Mon May 13, 2013 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby FullertonImages » Mon May 13, 2013 4:05 pm

Hey all. I did a nice little skin up to Emerald Lake in the Park, and got a good look at some recent slides. Seemed like they happened that day and I thought they were a good indicator of our snowpack. Things are warming up rapidly, and rain and meltwater is percolating down through the layers. Powerful combination for wet slides. Pretty much every aspect had slid, and many of them had runout much farther onto lower angle terrain than I would have expected.

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Last edited by FullertonImages on Mon May 13, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby benners » Mon May 13, 2013 4:29 pm

FullertonImages wrote:Things are warming up rapidly, and rain and meltwater percolating down through the layers. Powerful combination for wet slides.

Not to mention the weak layer it's all STILL sitting on in many places. It's basically a wet, spring snowpack on top and a winter snowpack on the bottom. Be careful out there everyone!

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby lordhelmut » Mon May 13, 2013 9:41 pm

Ouray and Sayres from over the weekend (there was some wet, and even some shallow slab activity on Ouray, nothing reactive on Sayres north face though, definitely peeled later in the day)......

Image

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Last edited by lordhelmut on Mon May 13, 2013 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby benners » Mon May 13, 2013 10:00 pm

That wind slab on Ouray's East Cirque (crown can barely be seen in Brian's photo) peeled away from underneath my skis and ran the entire length of the face. CAIC report here:

https://avalanche.state.co.us/obs/obs_report.php?obs_id=19725

It was a dry soft slab that had bonded poorly to the underlying crust surface. Took us completely by surprise; given the warm day we figured wet slides were the main point of concern. I highly doubt this same avy problem will persist throughout the week as a few more days of warm temps should help lock down the recent storm snow, but still a reminder to stay cautious out there...

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Ross M G » Tue May 14, 2013 9:42 am

Great picture. So this may be a dumb question, but does this mean these slopes are safer to travel on since they have obviously released a ton of snow or is it just an indication that they are unstable and it's a bad idea to go up there? I want to hit Dragontail soon...

FullertonImages wrote:Hey all. I did a nice little skin up to Emerald Lake in the Park, and got a good look at some recent slides. Seemed like they happened that day and I thought they were a good indicator of our snowpack. Things are warming up rapidly, and rain and meltwater is percolating down through the layers. Powerful combination for wet slides. Pretty much every aspect had slid, and many of them had runout much farther onto lower angle terrain than I would have expected.

Image

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby scotty1974 » Tue May 14, 2013 9:57 am

Any word on the road up at Brainard? Bikeable yet or still buried?


Found some info...but after a week of 85 in Boulder it just might be getting clearer.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=39660
Last edited by scotty1974 on Tue May 14, 2013 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SchralpTheGnar » Tue May 14, 2013 10:02 am

Ross M G wrote:Great picture. So this may be a dumb question, but does this mean these slopes are safer to travel on since they have obviously released a ton of snow or is it just an indication that they are unstable and it's a bad idea to go up there? I want to hit Dragontail soon...

FullertonImages wrote:Hey all. I did a nice little skin up to Emerald Lake in the Park, and got a good look at some recent slides. Seemed like they happened that day and I thought they were a good indicator of our snowpack. Things are warming up rapidly, and rain and meltwater is percolating down through the layers. Powerful combination for wet slides. Pretty much every aspect had slid, and many of them had runout much farther onto lower angle terrain than I would have expected.

Image



It means something but not much, the main thing is the conditions of the snow when you are travelling on them. Certain slopes that have slid will slide or not slide, certain slopes that haven't slid will slide or not slide. If you're going to climb DT just do it uber early when it's nice and solid and get off of it before it's too soft, that's your safest bet this time of year. If your skiing it your window is a little shorter, but still better to climb it early and wait for it to soften, just bring a puffy coat so you don't get too cold waiting.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SolarAlex » Tue May 14, 2013 8:01 pm

anybody done cristo in the last few days? thinking of giving it a try on friday

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby MountainMedic » Tue May 14, 2013 8:06 pm

SolarAlex wrote:anybody done cristo in the last few days? thinking of giving it a try on friday


Did Cristo today with SurfNTurf. We made it to around 13,600 and turned around due to crappy snow conditions - everything was slush by 930 AM. You also won't be able to get a car to the dam, there's a huge snowplow pile on the road just after the standard route TH parking. It seemed like a normally awesome route; I hope you get some cold weather and have some fun!

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Elliot » Tue May 14, 2013 9:05 pm

Deming drop week old beta but will be in for a while
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SolarAlex » Tue May 14, 2013 9:50 pm

MountainMedic wrote:
SolarAlex wrote:anybody done cristo in the last few days? thinking of giving it a try on friday


Did Cristo today with SurfNTurf. We made it to around 13,600 and turned around due to crappy snow conditions - everything was slush by 930 AM. You also won't be able to get a car to the dam, there's a huge snowplow pile on the road just after the standard route TH parking. It seemed like a normally awesome route; I hope you get some cold weather and have some fun!


bummer man...just looked at the forecast and its supposed to be barely getting down to freezing at night all this week, so seems doubtful that snow conditions would improve by friday. thanks for the heads up, maybe i can figure out something else instead.

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