Peak:  Torreys Peak (14er)
 Route:  West Ridge
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  moltar
 Date of Info:  06/03/2013
 Date Posted:  06/03/2013

Peak is easily summitable without traction, flotation, or other aids (the standard "variable conditions" disclaimer that, if you're here reading this, you likely already know, et al, of course applies - and if a traction/axe makes ya comfortable, take it - it's not totally dry or clear, but with the right route finding, I find the conditions quite favorable to travel sans aids, YMMV, as always).

Short version: runnable, but snowy past Griz (SE aspect of Griz + last 500 vert up Torrey's especially), but even at peak afternoon w/sun on a relatively warm day, snow was not a major impediment to quick travel (but see longer version for snow/pack safety comments).

Got a late start (1230PM), but was running (or at least very fast hiking), and no weather appeared to threaten or build, but was quite windy. Melt had made some portions of trail moist, but nothing even close to a big deal in either discomfort, slowing travel, or making for trail abuse.

For all practical intents and purposes, trail is clear of any appreciable snow until half way up Griz. Snow to this point is sporadic, shallow, and packed. Neither route finding was an issue nor traversing it in a pair of relatively light trail runners.

Conditions were quite warm, but very windy, with occasional clouds, but enough sun had worked the snow on ascent of Griz to be relatively soft, but it's not really deep enough (at least consistently) to create any postholing. One or two knee-shots, but ankle deep at most and travel remained quite fast.

Snow on W aspect of Torrey's was certainly there, but easily avoidable and/or stable/useful in the areas I felt comfortable traveling on the pack. Pack is not deep until the last 500-700 vertical, and quite well consolidated in terms of travel even late on this relatively warm day (didn't dig any pits to do REAL pack assessment .

I noted that there were a few (not many, a few) tracks going straight down the fall line on the SE aspect of Griz. I did not, for my own purposes/risk acceptance, find that route of travel safe. Perhaps they are from different times of day/week/month in which that area was safe, but with the angle of the slope and the apparent conditions, the pack there seemed deep, steep, and scary enough that I wouldn't touch it. Cornices along the ridge to the NE of Griz were also looking ripe to pop, which made the safest travel along the narrow/knifedge ridge, which was actually pretty solid, IMHO. I felt safe in this area, mostly because terra firma was easily visible or just inches below with enough of a zone that the cornices to one side and slabs to the other did not worry me traveling that part, and the ridge was clear and safely delivered me to the saddle/base of Torreys (again, my own risk assessment based on my preferences and the conditions of the hour/minute).

Travel up the trail/scree portions was easy/fast, with snow becoming prevalent around 13k, and quite consistent around 13.5k, and deep/full coverage around 13.8k.

No particular slide worries, save for the normal wind loading/cornices ready to pop along the N side of the ridge to the summit.

There is still a fair amount of snow out there at/past Griz, but as I mentioned, the ridge is easy traveling and flotation/traction/ice axes really aren't required and I couldn't see many situations where they would be even with some ridiculous melt/freeze cycles...Griz is currently the "crux" of the run/hike in the sense of it having the most snow and variable conditions.

Photos (click for slideshow):
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