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Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:55 am

Hello everyone,

Im about to turn 31 this year and I had planned a nice get together at my place with friends and beer, but then I started thinking instead of getting trashed (as I usually do for my birthdays) why not head out with friends on an overnight trip? Ive been wanting to go to both places I mentioned above for the longest time. Im just wondering if Im to late to try any of these two destinations.

The trip would be for the weekend of the 20th of October. Ive heard of a lot of avalanche danger up to the springs so I would not want to head out there if that is going to be a concern.

What do you guys think? Am I biting off more then I can chew? I really dont mind camping in winter conditions, just not rather do it in an avalanche danger zone.

Ive been looking up trip reports for these two in winter conditions if you know of any I would appreciate very much a link to said reports.

TIA

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby shaunster_co » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:22 am

I have been in to the Lone Eagle cirque a few times late fall, early winter and can say it's a mixed bag. I am assuming you would need to access it from the Monarch Lake [Granby] side by late Oct. Usually the Brainard Lake area closes mid-Oct depending on the weather. Pawnee Pass can get tenuous in the snow also. The one thing to keep in mind for Lone Eagle is no camp fires. If the weather holds out though, it is beautiful in the late fall / early winter.

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:33 am

I know predicting snow fall is a long shot but from years passed should I be expecting to find full on winter conditions with post holing by Oct 20th on any of these trails?? I would hate to post hole with a 45lb pack hehehehe

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby Scott P » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:41 am

It's hard to say about snow and avalanche danger.

Usually avalanche danger in October is still low. This is not always the case though, especially after a big dump. Early season, avalanche danger usually tends to drop steeply a few days or week after a big dump, but if you are there after a snowstorm, use extreme caution.

That said, Lone Eagle Peak is very difficult when icy, which is certainly a good possibility. Years ago, I tried it in early December and conditions were nightmarish.

October is perhaps the most unpredictable month in Colorado (although no months are predictable). Sometimes there is full on winter and sometimes there is almost no snow at all.

Last year we climbed Tabeguache on October 22 and there was almost no snow and we had dry feet. Some years, even Denver and the low elevations get hammered with several feet of snow.

Averages really don't mean that much, but can be useful looking at anyway.

Berthoud Pass (at 11,315' and is the nearest weather station that would represent conditions in the Lone Eagle Cirque) averages 28.0 inches of snow for October, but the average snow depth is only 3". 3.4" is the average depth for October 20, but it has range from 0" in many years to 23" in 1984.

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?co0674

Independence Pass 5SW (at 10,510' and is the nearest weather station that would represent conditions around Conundrum Hot Springs) averages 20.2 inches of snow for October, but the average snow depth is only 2". 0.9" is the average depth for October 20, but it has range from 0" in many years to 8" in 1979 (though this jumps to 18" on the 21st). (Note that the weather station is in the rain shadow though, surrounding mountains will get more).

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?co4270

Whether that information is useful could be debated I guess since it's so hard to predict from year to year.

Good luck either way.

PS, if the mountains are getting hammered with snow by then and you don't want to climb in those conditions, the desert areas around Grand Junction, Fruita and Bedrock are prime then. It can snow (or be hot) on occasion, but there is never any avalanche danger and the chances of finding good weather then are really good.

Personally, I'd say go ahead and plan, but have a plan B just in case.
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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:10 pm

Thanks a ton Scott!

I wasnt actually planning on climbing Lone Eagle. I just wanted to get to the lake and setup camp and hike out the next day. Ill keep my eye open for updated info on snow in those areas and like you say have a plan B.

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Another quick question I had was if anyone has been up there recently. What is the situation with the dead cows. Are they still an issue? Smell wise and predator wise?

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby Carl » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:40 pm

zoriloco wrote:Im about to turn 31 this year and I had planned a nice get together at my place with friends and beer, but then I started thinking instead of getting trashed (as I usually do for my birthdays) why not head out with friends on an overnight trip?


Drinking and the Conundrum Hot Springs certainly aren't mutually exclusive :-D . Was up at the Springs a few weekends ago. Crowded, but a fun party. Camped about 100 feet or so from where the cow entrapment occurred. No issues.
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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:05 pm

THeres no issue with the cows at the springs. I (for some reason) signed up with Friends of Conundrum Hotsprings run by Evan from Heaven who we met this past spring up there. He sent out an email talking about all that.

The hotsprings is pretty freakin awesome, not gonna lie. Nice 9 mile approach just to the springs, super cozy, awesome valley to be in!

That being said, the valley under Lone Eagle up and over Pawnee Pass is amazing.

If I were you, I would do the hotsprings. Nice cold weather at night in that pool sounds amazing. Packin in beer will make it all the more pleasureable.

Have a happy bday man!!
Everyday is a G r A t E f U L Day here in the CO

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:45 am

Thats for the update Fire on the mountain,

Is there any good books you would recommend for me to get for the Conundrum Hot Springs route? Ive been looking online for trip reports but have yet to find a specific route description.... Bill has me spoiled with so much detailed infomation on 14ers!!! hahahaha


Ive heard there are two different approaches, which one would you guys recommend I take for Oct 20th??

Thanks again!

Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:58 am

Funny you ask. I was just up there this weekend doing some 13ers. I could put up my GPX route if you cary a GPS but honestly, the route up to the Hot springs is really simple.

Just start at the Conundrum creek TH off Conundrum road (at the Maroon bells/castle road roundabout before entering Aspen from Glenwood, take castle road and go up the road 4.9 miles to conundrum road. Follow the road to the end, turns into dirt but nothing bad at all.

Be weary that it is quite popular as Carl's photo suggests. I didn't stay the night up there but there were quite a few people camping. Camping spots are pretty prevalent not only near the springs but also down the trail from the springs.

The mountains back there are starting to get white especially the northern aspects, pretty beautiful. :-$
Everyday is a G r A t E f U L Day here in the CO

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Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby zoriloco » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:25 am

I actually dont follow GPS, I usually just use maps. Which is why I was also concerned with deep snow that would cover the trail. From what you say It doesnt look too deep?

Hopefully the cold weather starts weeding out summer hikers and I wont find to much people up there. I really dont mind some people but I dont want to go find a parade up there. We'll see.

Re: Lone Eagle Peak or Conundrum Springs

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:31 am

Snow on the trail is non existent and the stream crossings are very easy.
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