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Re: Strongmelon thread-jack of Little Bear thread

Postby climbing_rob » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:59 pm

B-Thom wrote:The hourglass will probably be melted out by May 22nd, just updating the thread title to more accurately reflect its content. Looking forward to seeing what conditions the groups going up this weekend will encounter...
I assume this is because of a low-snow year in the Sangres? I ask because last year over Memorial Day weekend, the couloir was in perfect shape, continuous snow all the way up. And that was on May 29th. But I certainly believe this year could easily have much less snow.

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Postby Brian Thomas » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:19 pm

climbing_rob wrote:But I certainly believe this year could easily have much less snow.


What he said.

It was also recommended to me by 14ers.com member sgladbach to consider Little Bear on a weekday in September to avoid rockfall, running water, and ice. Tuesday September 6th maybe...
Last edited by Brian Thomas on Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strongmelon thread-jack of Little Bear thread

Postby Jon Frohlich » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:23 pm

B-Thom wrote:It was also recommended to me by 14ers.com member sgladbach to consider Little Bear on a weekday in September to avoid rockfall, running water, and ice. Tuesday September 6th maybe...


Not necessarily saying you'd want to do it but it is possible to do it by early-mid July without much in the way of running water or ice. Especially if it's a low snow year. If you do it on a weekend start earlier than you really think is necessary. We started at 4:30am and summited by 7:30am and were up and down the hourglass before anyone else was around. Start at 6am and you'll probably have to deal with other parties on the mountain. The first gully isn't that difficult by headlamp and early morning light.

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Postby Brian Thomas » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:52 pm

Jon Frohlich wrote:Not necessarily saying you'd want to do it but it is possible to do it by early-mid July without much in the way of running water or ice. Especially if it's a low snow year. If you do it on a weekend start earlier than you really think is necessary. We started at 4:30am and summited by 7:30am and were up and down the hourglass before anyone else was around. Start at 6am and you'll probably have to deal with other parties on the mountain. The first gully isn't that difficult by headlamp and early morning light.


Jon, thanks for additional info. August 21/22 could be a possibility, may try to tie a whole weekend together with Culebra+Red on 8/20, Blanca+Ellingwood on 8/21, and Little Bear on 8/22. Too far out to commit to a date as of now but very interested in these...
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Re: Strongmelon thread-jack of Little Bear thread

Postby highpilgrim » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:27 am

Jon Frohlich wrote:
If you do it on a weekend start earlier than you really think is necessary. We started at 4:30am and summited by 7:30am and were up and down the hourglass before anyone else was around. Start at 6am and you'll probably have to deal with other parties on the mountain. The first gully isn't that difficult by headlamp and early morning light.


Good advice. Get up and down before others. Once there is more than one party, the risk goes up quite a bit. Coordinate your movement with other parties if it happens. Climb up or down one at a time and while you're waiting position yourself in a sheltered area to avoid the inevitable rockfall. And I'm sure it's been said, but wear a helmet.

And while it may be dry in July, the Blanca Massif generates pretty intense afternoon and evening T-storms and if you get one it won't be dry in the hourglass. I've encountered fresh snow and verglass in July after one of those storms.
Last edited by highpilgrim on Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strongmelon thread-jack of Little Bear thread

Postby Jon Frohlich » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:38 am

highpilgrim wrote:And while it may be dry in July, the Blanca Massif generates pretty intense afternoon and evening T-storms and if you get one it won't be dry in the hourglass. I've encountered fresh snow and verglass in July after one of those storms.


Good point as well. I've had the same happen on Lindsey and Crestone Peak in July.

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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby wineguy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:42 am

I realize that this thread has migrated from a discussion of spring towards summer, but if I can return to a possible May ascent, does someone know whether snowshoes would be helpful on a May hike up to Lake Como, or would the added weight be too much trouble?
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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:55 am

The road/trail into the lake is south facing and very exposed to the sun. It's almost always hot anytime the sun is out . It has been a low snow year in the Sangres and I can't imagine there being much other than spotty snow cover in the few areas with trees on that approach.

Start early; the stream will be more difficult to cross once the afternoon snowmelt feeds it.
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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby wineguy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:57 am

Thanks a bunch, High Pilgrim.
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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby Brian Thomas » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:09 am

I can't say the exact distance up the road but last weekend we hiked all the way to our campsite at the abandoned log cabins on the left side of the road without snowshoes. Continuing up from there the road was pretty dry past all of the Jaws obstacles except for some tree-shaded sections. The snowshoes were definitely needed by Lake Como and beyond to our turnaround point below the Blanca-Ellingwood saddle.

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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby highpilgrim » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:09 am

Here's a recent trip report which pretty much confirms my comments.

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=9779

A month from now, it will be dry and hot.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
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Re: Little Bear conditions - spring 2011

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon May 09, 2011 1:06 pm

You called it!
Anyone know how much snow is in the Humboldt area recently? A small storm will drop about 4-5 inches wendesday and I'm planning on climbing Adams on Thursday (nice day).
Will 4-5 inches cause problems?
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