Peak:  Mt. Oklahoma (13er)
 Route:  Southeast Slopes
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  CarpeDM
 Date of Info:  05/05/2012
 Date Posted:  05/05/2012

Headline: Posthole purgatory even with snowshoes.

Details: For the first mile, you can completely avoid any snow. Then, there are occasional short patches of snow covering the trail. Also, about 3 or 4 downed trees to maneuver around. As you get further up - past the turn-off for Massive‘s SW slopes - snow gradually intrudes. But the bushwhack is the real problem. From where you leave the trail to about 11,900, there is intermittent snow and dry ground - making it hard to keep snowshoes on and hard to keep them off. Above the bushwhack (~11,900), it‘s all snow to the ramp at 12,700 - and this part was fine with snowshoes. The ramp is dry, but heavily eroded (mercifully relatively short, though). Above the ramp (13,100 to summit), it‘s snow again with some rocks poking through. For ALL the snow, bring flotation. I stashed my snowshoes at the bottom of the ramp and regretted it.

Coming back was absolutely brutal postholing even with flotation. On my way in, I had met a guy coming out who had done a night hike; he said he was postholing even at night (he didn‘t have flotation).

Oh, also, I left the trail too early which - in the grand scheme was really only a minor problem in itself. But the consequence was that I couldn't find the most efficient way back to the trail on the way down. I ended up relying on the map in the GPS, which showed a trail that didn't exist - causing me a BIG headache on the way down.

Pic 1: Typical conditions for most of the trail past Massive SW slopes junction. I did lose the trail briefly a couple of times due to snow.

Pic 2: Overview of the portion of the route that is above the bushwhack / creek crossings.

Pic 3: The dry, loose ramp

Pic 4: The summit pitch. The several groups of rocks sticking out helped cause some postholing.

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions
Matt Lemke

05/06/2012 17:42
When I did Oklahoma about a month ago we didn't posthole that much...but that bushwhacking section I remember very well! No way were we able to follow the trail and heading straight up the valley was the best option.


05/06/2012 18:32
I guess it was relatively warm the night before, which of course didn't help to keep the snow firm. I added a little comment about my route-finding mishaps. I should also add that this is NOT a route to take a leashed dog on. He got tangled up so many times in those trees I was cursing up a storm!


05/07/2012 18:41
Sounds like a very tough day for you and your 4-legged buddy. Congrats on the summit!
I'm mulling options for the upcoming weekend - this was timely.
Thanks for posting.


Oops - posted twice!
05/07/2012 18:42
and don't have a delete feature.

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