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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
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby antonkrupicka » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:49 pm

Yeah, I was using a Corsa Nanotech today, which I bought after losing the Corsa on Kieners in January. The Nanotech is by far the better tool for my needs---the steel pick and slightly canted shaft bites SO MUCH better on ice and when hooking rock. Well worth the extra ounce or so of weight.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby dereferenced » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:38 pm

antonkrupicka wrote: the thought of the slopes on the north face above the Cables sliding while I was on them was enough to make me sick to my stomach (picturing being swept over the lip of the Diamond).


Morbid question, but, has this ever happened to anyone? The same risk factor is listed on the "14ers in winter" list on summitpost. I read the list of Long's accidents on Lists of John and don't think I specifically saw this. There were a few people who slid down the north face, but not off of it, and there's a couple ambiguous cases like "fell onto Mill's glacier" but it's not always clear where from.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby ajkagy » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:01 pm

dereferenced wrote:
antonkrupicka wrote: the thought of the slopes on the north face above the Cables sliding while I was on them was enough to make me sick to my stomach (picturing being swept over the lip of the Diamond).


Morbid question, but, has this ever happened to anyone? The same risk factor is listed on the "14ers in winter" list on summitpost. I read the list of Long's accidents on Lists of John and don't think I specifically saw this. There were a few people who slid down the north face, but not off of it, and there's a couple ambiguous cases like "fell onto Mill's glacier" but it's not always clear where from.


definitely steep enough, but usually won't even hold enough snow since it gets blown off. Best to avoid the areas with enough snow as you'll have a persistant wind slab which will break and slide pretty easily, unless the snow is isothermal/and or stable in spring/summer. It's usually a rare treat to get decent consistent skiable snow on the north face to make a descent of longs this way.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SamS » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:35 am

Would anyone be interested in skiing Spire Couloir or Dragon's tail tomorrow (4/6) in The Park ?

I know it's a bit short notice... PM me if you're interested!

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby nkan02 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:08 am

Horseshoe and Boudoir conditions as of 04.04.13. I'd be interested to check it out as a ski descent later this month. PM if interested.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby ap snow » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:48 am

ajkagy wrote:
dereferenced wrote:
antonkrupicka wrote: the thought of the slopes on the north face above the Cables sliding while I was on them was enough to make me sick to my stomach (picturing being swept over the lip of the Diamond).


Morbid question, but, has this ever happened to anyone? The same risk factor is listed on the "14ers in winter" list on summitpost. I read the list of Long's accidents on Lists of John and don't think I specifically saw this. There were a few people who slid down the north face, but not off of it, and there's a couple ambiguous cases like "fell onto Mill's glacier" but it's not always clear where from.


definitely steep enough, but usually won't even hold enough snow since it gets blown off. Best to avoid the areas with enough snow as you'll have a persistant wind slab which will break and slide pretty easily, unless the snow is isothermal/and or stable in spring/summer. It's usually a rare treat to get decent consistent skiable snow on the north face to make a descent of longs this way.



Rare is correct. I waited years to have skiable snow (zero rappels or down climbs) from the summit to the car via the north face. In this picture you can see we also had a slab problem and during the climb up the spindrift was unreal... I asked Jim Detterline (400 Longs Peak summits) if anyone had been slid off the north face onto Mills and he said a few have. One guy almost self arrested before going over the edge, his ice axe remained in place on the edge of the north face for sometime...
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby benners » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:16 am

Red Gully on the Peak is filled in save for the choke near the bottom (8 foot mixed section to get through). The snow in the couloir though is not at all what I would have expected to find; lots of rot and depth hoar sitting underneath a breakable crust layer. Could definitely use a few more melt/freeze cycles before it's in good condition for climbing.

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:18 am

Benners and Pioletski can give first hand beta on Crestones, but they looked and sounded like a total grundle slogfest. They might be mildly enjoyable for climbing, but most of the words relayed to me were along the lines of "icy", "punchy" and "post hole to knee".

"Broken Dogleg" Couloir on Broken Hand Peak was a very solid snow climb (I'd guesstimate there is a 60-70% chance you would not survive if you tried to ski right now). All the intersections of the couloir were melted out or had shark fins lurking below the thin snowpack. The legs themselves were solid though. Thats one hell of a steep climb, I measured 56 degrees on the last 100 feet. I thought, at one point, it was going to turn in to an overhanging snow climb, which I am unfamiliar with how to handle. 4 points of contact and an extra pair of underwear mandatory.

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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby SamS » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:40 am

Skied Cristo Couloir on Quandary on Sunday. Ascended the standard route. Skinned all the way to the top with no issues, snow cover is surprisingly good. The couloir is all filled in save for a ~10' section of rock at the top that we had to step through.

Snow in the couloir proper was pretty dang good. Anywhere form 6-12" of light snow from the night before that was getting loaded pretty well into that aspect. Underneath was boilerplate (we started skiing at about 10am). (Careful) Face shots the whole way down! Stability was pretty good too. The lower snowpack was frozen solid and the fresh was bonded pretty well. I'll post some pictures once my partner emails them to me.

Overall a great day!

Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:14 am

Buddy and I went up a SW facing line on a subpeak of "Climber's Point" in the Gore. Snow could still use some work as the conditions were fairly avy prone but still really enjoyable. Kind of a slog/posthole fest getting in (temps were cold enough at night to freeze the valley).

Sorry my camera is a complete waste of space (all pics are from the Gores)

Here something surprising (at least to me). Dead dog is still full on winter conditions. Got half way up the cooley before a sizeable slough let go 20' above us and spooked us. 8"+ of unconsolidated pow in numerious areas. Couloir could easily use another 2-3 weeks especially with the big storm coming in tomorrow.

lordhelmut wrote:Thats one hell of a steep climb, I measured 56 degrees on the last 100 feet.

Pretty sure I know where I'm going this weekend!
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby nkan02 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:46 am

SamS wrote:Skied Cristo Couloir on Quandary on Sunday. Ascended the standard route. Skinned all the way to the top with no issues, snow cover is surprisingly good. The couloir is all filled in save for a ~10' section of rock at the top that we had to step through.

Snow in the couloir proper was pretty dang good. Anywhere form 6-12" of light snow from the night before that was getting loaded pretty well into that aspect. Underneath was boilerplate (we started skiing at about 10am). (Careful) Face shots the whole way down! Stability was pretty good too. The lower snowpack was frozen solid and the fresh was bonded pretty well. I'll post some pictures once my partner emails them to me.

Overall a great day!

Interesting... We made it to the bottom of the couloir on Sunday (my philosophy is to go up the line that I intend to ski down), checked the snowpack condition - dust on crust, not bonded at all, fresh layer was sliding right away under the skis (@8am). We took another good look at the weather - strong winds and little sun, which meant that there was little hope for consolidating snow by the time it was to ski - and made a decision to bail. In addition, coverage still looked pretty thin as compared to the last time I climbed it 2 years ago.

We headed over to the resort, and attempted (emphasis on "attempted") to ski a few steeper, east/south facing lines, and my partner's comment was "I remember skiing on worst snow, but don't remember when". This compared to primo spring skiing conditions on Saturday... So we proceeded to grill some bratwursts on the beach and watched the crazy weather - anything from a blizzard to fog to 30 seconds of sun here and there.
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Re: Couloir Season 2013

Postby Carl » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:47 am

Fletch wrote:How were the Crestones?


I decided to wait since it's supposed to dump down there this week. Although it sounds like lack of snow wasn't the only problem Ben and Matt found with the snowpack. Had a good ski of Bald Mtn on Saturday with lordhelmut and crew.

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