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Spicy climbs right now?

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Spicy climbs right now?

Postby Two Headed Boy » Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:24 pm

I have a buddy flying in from Texas to go climbing on something that will help him prepare for the Polish route on Aconcagua in January. There will be two teams of two and I am looking for something fairly high ( 12,000 ft+ ) and somewhere in the 50 to 60 degree range on ice or hard snow. I do realize this is a reach for anything to be in good shape this time of the year and so far my best thought has been the Saint Vrain Glaciers. Any suggestions?

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Postby Andy » Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:26 pm

I heard Hallett Chimney is in (or was in) last week.
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Postby Geof3 » Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:44 pm

Ya, I'd check into the various RMNP routes... There are some great lines above Sky Pond in the Thatchtop-Powell cirque... The TP icefield is great there is also a nice challenging line (rock/poss ice)on the buttress to climbers right... Also, take a look and see if Alexander's Chimney is in... It could be, but it's hit and miss. Both of these ideas require a pretty stout commitment as they have fairly long approaches. If you want easy access, not much will be available. The hills are getting hammered from what I've heard and it's not supposed to let up all week as there are several systems moving through... (YEA!!!)
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Postby Two Headed Boy » Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:27 pm

The weather has been my biggest concern. The style of climbing my buddy wants to do is very prone to avalanche conditions and I think I am now going to start looking for a 4th to low 5th class( 5.4 ) ridge so we can stay out of danger. I don't know if I want to go stiffer than 5.4 because I'll have two teams of two, me bieng the most experienced = me having the most responsibility = not going stiffer than 5.4. Plus climbing in cold weather and snow is always harder and more commiting. I would love more comments, keep in mind this is suppose to be a day trip so Blitzen ridge, etc. is probably not gonna work.

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Postby Kruck » Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:46 pm

A little off topic, but at what point does one need to consider avalanches? By this I mean are we talking 10 feet total precip in a single place, or 5 or 2 or 20?
I haven't gotten to "snow cycle" in Freedom yet.
(sorry, jimn, for the interruption, but your last post got me wondering)

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:48 pm

Basically if a new snow falls on an older harder layer of snow the new snow if at the proper angle can fall. I would have been climbing up a glacier which already has hard ice and snow ( that's what it is made out of ) on it and a dangerous angle so whatever amount of snow that falls on it from now till Saturday would have reasonable potential to fall out. If it's more than 6" or so I would rather not risk it.

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Postby Geof3 » Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:14 pm

Ya, any snow that has fallen on a permanent ice field over the last/next few days has a fall potential as it will have no time to consolidate and adhere to the hard pack below. It also depends on the type of snow. If there is 6+ and it doesn't freeze it could easily become a powder/spindrift slide, that may not kill you and bury you like a hard slab, but it could generate enough force to toss you off your route. Having said all that, avalanche conditions will be very low thus far, unless the hills get big amounts of snow...

To the original post... The Thatchtop-Powell routes are NOT recommended in the configuration you are talking about. You should do perhaps, Kelso or Sawtooth or maybe even Ellingwood Ridge... Given what you describe. While only "class 3" they can be challenging routes (very) in bad wintery conditions... Great training IMO... Kelso or Sawtooth, in the present conditions can be real spicy, but you probably won't have any snow/ice climbing except for a few patches here and there. There aren't any great escape routes on either of these so it ups the anty in harsh conditions...
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