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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-08-28||Route: South Slopes
Info: Didn't ascend the south slope but descended it to the saddle after going up via Kelso. The route down had some snow but nothing major, unlike Grays. Didn't need to put on my spikes and was able to run down most of it in my trail runners.
|2016-08-28||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Started snowing on my way up so the ridge was slick. Snow present on the right side of the ridge. Some avoidable, some not. Knife edge is snow-free.
|2016-08-26||Route: South Slopes
Info: Climbed Grays and Torreys over 8/26-27 Got to the main trailhead about 8:30pm after working a full day and driving ~4 hours from home. The stars were out and there was little wind. I thought I saw a group heading up for a night hike(never actually saw them), and since the forecast was for snow in the AM I decided to just go for it. I left the trailhead at 9pm, summited Grays around 11:45pm, Torreys around 1AM and back to the car around 3AM for a much needed nap. Which ended at 5AM when the people next to me had a door banging competition in the parking lot. I first started to see snow at 12800ft and the trail was hard pack snow at the Grays/Torreys Junction ~13300 all the way up to the summit. Between the connecting ridge had 2 or 3 sets of footprints that were in calf deep snow all the way to the saddle. The ascent from the saddle to the top of torreys was mostly snow free, minus a few places. The connecting trail between the saddle and the main trail was a real... chore. It was calf/knee deep snow with a faint suggestion of where the trail had been. I was prepared, so it wasn't a big deal, but I was worried that it would eventually disappear. With the wind and additional snow, I would doubt my footprints lasted very long. I had my hiking poles which I think really save my butt getting up and down all the snow. I had my camelback mouthpiece freeze a few times, so it must have been fairly cold up top! No regrets climbing at night given the amount of traffic I saw coming up on my way out and the pictures of fresh now I saw in another TR. Sorry if this is too long for a conditions report. The pictures are from a phone, and at night so while they aren't great hopefully they provide some insight..
|2016-08-26||Route: South Slopes
Info: Started at 6:30am. On the drive up to the summer parking lot it was apparent that the surrounding area including Gray's and Torrey's was covered in a layer of snow. Thought perhaps just a dusting but the trail was covered in about 2-4" of snow and temperature was in the 30's. Became much colder and windier the higher we climbed. Torrey's summit was completely concealed all day by clouds - it didn't look promising. The trail went from snow covered rocks and dirt to 6" to a foot of snow on ascension. At the first trail junction to go left to Torrey's, the trail was completely covered in snow. Had to be at least 2-4 feet - not packed down or treaded. Very sketchy - seemed dangerous and impassible. We continued to climb toward Gray's summit to traverse but at about 13,500 trail became difficult to follow due to wind gusts, blowing snow and conditions we weren't prepared for. Spikes or snowshoes may have been helpful near summit. After talking to many other hikers, it seemed Torrey's Peak was inaccessible due to the severe conditions. Snow on lower trail at about 12,000 was melted and dry by the time we got back to the parking lot. Make sure you are prepared for winter hiking near summit.
|2016-07-24||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Road getting up to trail head ad some deep ruts but some 2wd vehicles somehow made it up at least 3/4 of the way. Camped out at one of the many dispersed camping sites near the trail head. Up at 5:00 and hiking by 5:30 am. Standard route up was packed with people but kelso ridge had maybe about 8 other people besides my group of 4. Awesome steep ridge line, some good route finding opportunities, some loose rock and some stable. The knife edge is exciting but not too difficult. Steep so you make your way fast! Summit at 10:30 with the whole group! After a big cloud passed over we relaxed and took our time on the way up... it did get scary with that early cloud at 9am!
|2016-07-17||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The Kelso Ridge is 100% free of snow, route is in perfect summer condition.
|2016-06-22||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Not a great freeze but still in good climbing condition. A couple runnels up to 4 ft deep.
|2016-06-19||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Consider this route done for the season. Much of the bottom half of the route was in quite good shape. But there's a rotten patch between 12,800 and 13,400 ft - 6 to 12 inches of unconsolidated snow on top of muddy scree and choss. My party (and one other) muddled through and managed to summit, but I'd bet this patch will be melted out completely in a few days.
|2016-06-18||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Kelso Ridge is mostly free of snow. Didn't start to hit snow until 3/4 way up the ridge and most of it was to climbers left and avoidable to the right. Hit unavoidable snow before the knife edge (photo #1), bullet proof at 9 am. There was a well worn path. Cake with spikes, but not really 100% necessary. Snow after the knife edge. Again, spikes were nice, but not necessary (Photo #2).
|2016-06-17||Route: West Ridge
Info: Nobody else on the route today until the top of Torreys. Gorgeous day. Not a cloud in sight until about 10am. A little breezy, but not bad. Not at all cold either. Summited Grays also. The route is in very good shape. Only a handful of short snow crossings. However, the snow covers the trail for about 100 yards coming down Cupid. The snow is completely avoidable but some scrambling is required. With a good eye for route finding, this won't exceed easy Class 2. This is the only place where snow impacts the route and it lasts for only 100 yards. Snow does cover a good bit of the trail coming down Grizzly, but smaller trails can be found through the talus to avoid the snow. No traction or flotation needed. This is a beast of a route.
|2016-06-17||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Dead Dog is still in but might not last a whole lot longer. I started up the couloir @ 6AM, topped out @ 8AM and towards the end, I was wishing I'd started an hour earlier as the snow was starting to get pretty soft and slippery. I was glad I had two tools. For me, 5 or 5:30 would have been perfect. Faster climbers (which are most people compared to me!) can probably start a little later. Big runnel in the top narrow section. Did not see anyone skiing the couloir but it appeared to me that someone did yesterday.
|2016-06-16||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Had to down climb to the main couloir since there was a small strip of snow that was very rocky. Dropped in around 11:00 / 11:15. Was very windy on the ridge which kept the snow firm at the top and then corn below. Good coverage throughout.
|2016-06-14||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Ascended dead dog this morning and got back in time for work. Stepped off from summer TH at 0502. At the apron just before 0600. Crampon trouble delayed our start til 0620. Summit 0755. Snow conditions were stellar after last night's freeze--a little too hard to put in a booter of our own, but icy enough to get a stout bite with our crampons and axes. Saw one skiier rocking some jump turns down the upper third of the couloir before the snow warmed up--nice work dude! Otherwise, not sure if someone was on Kelso ridge this morning but it was raining rocks for a 30 min period during our ascent. Snow continuous to summit (see pic 1), although a wee bit sugary and postholey on the left branch (pic 2). The finish, however, was frozen, steep, and pristine. Glissaded from just below the grays/torreys saddle and made it back to the car well before 10.
|2016-06-11||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Climbed up Dead Dog and descended Emperor. Dead Dog looks like the aftermath of a bunch of Uruk-Hai warriors after too much Casa Bonita. But its an expedient way to ascend Torrey's with numerous booters. Emperor skied well, but its days are numbered. Off the top is getting bony, it'll be completely melted in a day or 2. Entrance into Emperor proper requires some billy-goating. Dropped in around 8:45am and set off some sloughs up top. There are rocks starting to expose themselves throughout, but navigable. I'd be really surprised if this line is in by next weekend.
|2016-06-11||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The ridge is 99% dry. Descending standard trail and through the valley very sloppy as per other recent conditions reports.
|2016-06-10||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: On the apron at 5:45am, and even with warm nighttime temps, still found good booting snow in Dead Dog. Lots of runnels for skiers. Get it early for the most enjoyable day. Road clear to summer TH.
|2016-06-09||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Emperor's is still skiing great, maybe the last line in the state right now where you can ski 3000' directly from the summit. Snow goes down continuously to almost the creek, get it while it's good though because a couple narrow sections up high won't last long. Dead Dog looked a little runneled out but is still in as well.
|2016-06-07||Route: South Slopes
Info: Standard Route: same as Grays, intermittent snow from trailhead until the kelso ridge turn-off. Snow continuous from there. No snowshoes required yesterday with a 6am start, spikes optional. Snowshoes highly recommended/required on the descent, especially in the willows because the snow that you have to navigate is deep and gets soft quick. Watch for not walking to close to the cornice above South Paw on the ridge Emperor: filled in completely, same with Tuning fork. Creek in Grizzly gulch is raging, wouldn't recommend climbing either route just to avoid getting wet early in the day, but they are good for skiing. Dead dog: snow did not look inviting for a ski but the people who climbed it said it was good for that at least. East face direct looks good up until the lower cliff band where you can traverse into the bottom of Dead dog.
|2016-06-03||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Climbed my first two 14ers on Friday. Went up Dead Dog Couloir to the summit of Torreys and then traversed over to Grays and descended on the obvious route down Grays. The road to the summer TH is in decent shape. If you have 4wd or high enough clearance, you should be able to make it to within a half mile of the summer TH as this is where to road was snow covered. The trail to the base of Grays and Torreys was in decent shape in the morning. I reached the summer TH around 7:30 am. The snow was hard enough that I did not need snowshoes in the morning and didn't post hole at all. Dead Dog is in good shape - firm snow that was good for kicking steps into. I did meet one couple at the base that had down climbed with their skis because they said it was too choppy. I'm glad I had my crampons, ice axe, and helmet as they were a necessity for this route. I reached the summit of Torreys around 11:30 am, sat for a while and then traversed over to Grays. I started the descent from Grays at 12:30 pm and the snow at higher elevations was still in good shape. I had a couple decent glissades and was back to the flatter approach area. This is where the snow shoes came in handy. The snow on the approach had become extremely soft and while snow shoes weren't a necessity, I was glad that I didn't have to post hole through a mile and a half of wet snow. Made it down the dirt road and was back to my car at 3:30 pm.
|2016-05-24||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: Photo from Coon Hill. Looks filled in all the way to the top!