|Peak:||Rito Alto Peak (13er)|
|Route:||Asc=Spread Eagle and 13524, Desc=Nth Taylor Creek|
|Range:||Sangre de Cristo|
|Date of Information:||06/04/2011|
Left the Gibson Trail at ~10,000 ft and landed on the ridge at ~10,800 ft. Ridge proper to Spread Eagle had spotty snow and we did not use (nor need) snowshoes or traction (despite having them). Ridge to 13524 was pretty much snow free. Ridge to Rito Alto was snow free until ~.10 mi (or less) from the summit of Rito Alto. Used an ice axe to ascend the last bit to the summit. Snow was soft and we just kicked in without traction.
Used and needed snowshoes on the descent down North Taylor Creek Trail. Before gaining the trail at the Megan Lake, it was either deep, soft, snow or thick willows initially. Once down in the trees, we lost the trail, and the snow was very deep and postholing was a huge issue...even with snowshoes at times. The trail was mostly dry by ~10,600.
Two creek crossings for North Taylor Creek Trail were relatively high. Log crossings had 2-3" of water over them. Water next to the logs was close to 2 ft deep, with a strong current. Too deep and fast for my 32 lb, knee high, dog to wade across, and she had to be carried. A large, confident dog, probably would be ok, but I suggest holding onto a leash with the current. And with all the snow still high in the basin, it will not be going down anytime soon.
Long cornice on the ridge between Rito Alto and 13254. Parts of it were breaking off in the afternoon heat.