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2013 Spring Gathering...

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby Scott P » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:06 am

of course i think they could. but there's just so many variables involved with this. I've never done a gathering but i assume there's going to be up to 20 climbers(which we all agree is lot on what could be unstable conditions), plus it's Mother's Day weekend. Just seems like a viable option to push it back and take care of some of these variables.


It might be a good idea to split the gatherings into at least 2 destinations and/or dates. Sounds like a lot of people anyway. Just a thought. Two gatherings would spread it out a little. I agree that 20 climbers is too many for Castle/Conundrum (but is still great for a bit smaller group).

Crowds are fun for socializing and stuff, but for couloir climbs and for ones that required above-average skills, a big crowd might not be a good idea.
Last edited by Scott P on Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby climbnowworklater » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:07 am

Personally, I think most are interested in C/C because these routes are more difficult than Shav/Tab and therefore you get people like me who only want to attempt these peaks with others of similar mindset.

Although, the success of hitting the summit is second to safety. So the question is pretty simple: If the goal is to get people up C/C safely, then move the date. If the goal is to do "something" the weekend of May 11 then you might consider moving the party. Personally, I would rather change the date and attempt these peaks. This is why I signed on to the spring gathering and I wonder how many feel the same.

No matter what happens by either changing the date or locations you are going to lose some people and maybe gain others.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby Dan_Suitor » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:42 am

I was hoping to come, but I can’t blow off mom, especially when she is flying in that weekend. The conditions are also a concern to me. If others want to do Castle/Conudrum at a later date as “Spring Gathering Part 2”, I’d be in for that.

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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby ameristrat » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:15 am

To be fair, you have to trust that climbers will evaluate their own skills correctly and stick to something within their skill level.

I have no business being in Conundrum Colouir so I will find something else to do - Std Route / another peak. It seems liks people on this thread have acted accordingly as well.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby Scott P » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:26 am

I have no business being in Conundrum Colouir so I will find something else to do - Std Route / another peak.


In May, (assuming normal conditions) the standard route on Castle takes about the same skills/knowledge/equipment as the Conundrum Couloir. Just a heads up for anyone planning to attend.

If the goal is to get people up C/C safely, then move the date.


Other than the Mother's Day factor and possible better trailhead access, from a safety standpoint I don't see the advantage of changing the date (assuming the same group size) before knowing conditions. There is a good chance that the snow will stabilize (but also an at least equally good chance that conditions will not be ideal) and wet slabs will still be a concern later in the season. Rockfall will also increase as the snow melts and a big group will make this more concerning.

There is no way that I'd do it this weekend because the snow conditions are still unstable, but that has little bearing on how things will be in a few weeks, especially with the current weather forecast.

Typically, snow/avalanche conditions both stabilize (freeze thaw cycles will stabilize a snowpack quick, at least in the morning when frozen) and destabilize (fresh snow or warming temperatures) faster in spring vs winter, depending on temperatures and recent snowfalls. What you want is no fresh snowstorms, a good freeze thaw cycle and mornings as cold as possible the day you do the climb. A fresh snowstorm or warm weather during or immediately preceeding the climb is bad news. It's too far in advance to predict such conditions.

Conditions could actually stabilize short term (the nights are still cold enough and the days warm enough to stabilize the snowpack) and deteriorate later is the season because all this fresh snow has a high water to inches of snow ratio and could come down like a Slurpee once those really warm days start hitting Colorado, especially as the season progresses. It's too early to tell what going to happen.

What is the logic that doing the trip later is somehow going to make it safer? :?:
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby sgladbach » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:21 pm

Start REALLY early. This slide was at 9:45AM.

Given the # of people involved in the Gathering and the unavoidable avy slopes, A sunrise summit (Assuming some good settling and an overnight freeze) would be a great idea.

As the article demonstrates, these spring avalanches can occur into the summer and this year's snowpack is ripe for deep slab issues into June.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby SilverLynx » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:26 pm

To anyone who is climbing Castle and Conundrum standard route that weekend, which day are you planning on getting the summits?

Trying to make plans...
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby Scott P » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:30 pm

Start REALLY early. This slide was at 9:45AM.

Given the # of people involved in the Gathering and the unavoidable avy slopes, A sunrise summit (Assuming some good settling and an overnight freeze) would be a great idea.

As the article demonstrates, these spring avalanches can occur into the summer and this year's snowpack is ripe for deep slab issues into June.


Agree with the above. 1 am would be a reasonable time to start, but possibly earlier depending on road closure/route.

When snow covered, the standard summer route on Castle is definitely more difficult than the North Couloir, but it usually has less avalanche danger. The standard route is much slower though, so will require an earlier start.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby forbins_mtn » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:12 pm

the only logic I'm using for making the suggestion is that snowpack does stabilize as we get closer to summer. i say that even knowing that ANYTHING could happen at anytime and that statement can easily become totally false. all i know is that we've gotten trounced over the last couple weeks and people were starting to debate the safety of this endeavor PLUS it's Mother's Day weekend and a handful of people said they couldn't make it simply for that reason. so i'm just throwing it out there.

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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby Scott P » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:10 pm

the only logic I'm using for making the suggestion is that snowpack does stabilize as we get closer to summer.


Anything is possible as you point out, but with the current snowpack, that may not be the case (PS, I do agree with you on a lot of stuff on this website; so not trying to argue). What you say is generally true for hard slab and wind avalanches.

Right now we have a wet (by Colorado standards) snowpack over depth hoar. If it keeps snowing, yes avalanche danger will increase, but if it stays fairly normal or warmer than normal, the snow is going to stabilize before becoming once again more dangerous.

With a wet snowpack, conditions often stabilize before the danger (this time wet slab avalanches) rises again due to warmer daytime temperatures and lack of cold nights. That's why in Colorado, June avalanches have claimed more lives than in May (though both are safer than December though April) due to wet slabs (most May avalanches actually occur later in the month including the fatality).

So, hard slab and wind avalanche danger will probably decrease (unless there is a fresh snowstorm), but late May to early June could be prime for wet slab.

PS, sorry and I'm not trying to be argumentive with anyone, but with the current snowpack, wet slabs could be a concern and I don't know if it would be any safer to postpone the trip say in late May, vs. the current planned date. Too early to tell.

If the goal is a safe ascent, the best plan of action is to plan to go when ever conditions are safe.
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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby forbins_mtn » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:52 pm

and all i can do is trust you. you know far more than I.

I'd love to get C/C, and I'd love to get it done May 11-12th since it's my birthday next weekend and I'm running a marathon the following week. so please God - let Scott be right and our snowpack turns stable enough to climb!!! [-o<

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Re: 2013 Spring Gathering...

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:12 am

Just to clarify, we almost definitely won't change the date. May 11-12 beat every other weekend on the poll by, at the closest, a 4-to-1 ratio.

The race between Castle/Conundrum and Shavano/Tabeguache was much tighter.

I realize Mother's Day is an issue for some, but if I changed the date a whole other subset of people would have a reason the new weekend wouldn't work for them. It's impossible to please everyone with these large-scale events. I'm working with the measurable data from the polls and trying to accommodate as many people as possible. It also wouldn't be fair to folks who made travel plans from out-of-state or took time off work to change the weekend this late in the game. I apologize to anyone who can't make it, and I hope to see you at the Fall Gathering!
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