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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-11-14||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The storm over Veteran‘s Day (10-11 NOV) left a fair amount of snow on the ridge as well as the rest of the mountain, making route finding (and hold finding) a little more difficult. An axe and micro spikes are really helpful, and there were a couple spots where I considered crampons. This next storm should make things really interesting on the ridge itself. I‘m little more than a novice mountaineer but, for what it‘s worth: around 14k some of the Class 3 (See Photos 28, 29 & 30) was buried and I found myself on more Class 4-type terrain. Speaking of interesting: all of us tried and no one without chains made it up the access road. This next storm should all but preclude driving to the summer trailhead. I skinned up to the ridge from the bottom and changed over to climbing mode. That worked out really nicely; the last 3.5 miles back takes less than 30 minutes. I found someone‘s Excalibur 9 Iron at about 13,700‘ in a gulley - if they want it back... Not kidding. It‘s hanging on the rocks.
|2015-11-08||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Road to the parking lot is well packed snow (no ice), I decided to not drive it but if you have snow tires, its actually probably in nicer condition than summer at the moment. Standard trail is also all packed out with minimal ice. Kelso ridge was generally easy going aside from the two more technical parts. The first class 3/4 felt okay despite soft snow. The second section crossing the knife-edge-ish thing I had to make a couple of moves that felt 5.4-5.6 in the wet conditions using the much thinner north side since the holds I normally use on the south side were covered in very unstable snow. If whoever it was I passed on near the top wants that picture in higher resolution, send me a message.
|2015-10-18||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The ridge is still in good shape, with a few areas of snow that are easily avoidable. The short stretch from the knife edge to the top is the only part that has a considerable amounts of snow and microspikes are not a bad idea. I followed the descriptions on 14er and it overall it worked out fine, but I had to do some route finding, especially above the white wall and before the knife edge. A nice climb along a great ridge with good rock and not much loose stuff.
|2015-10-10||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Hiked Kelso Ridge this morning. Some spots have snow and ice, but they aren‘t too bad (not avoidable altogether, but it is not present on some the harder parts). I would recommend microspikes for part of it, especially the last ascent after the knife edge, where snow is completely unavoidable. We did it in just over 3 hours for the first time and didn‘t use any special equipment except helmets (would definitely recommend those). A very doable route condition with some intermittent small ice/snow spots that would be a lot easier with microspikes.
|2015-10-09||Route: Grays and Torreys
Info: Snowy on the way up to grays. It is a hard packed snow so it is more like ice. I‘d use microspikes cuz face planting on rocks is less than enjoyable. Very powdery snow up top on Gray‘s and incredibly windy and cold this morning. Made for a short stay there. Again snowy and icy heading down into the saddle. However, the route up to Torreys was clear and very pleasant. Summit had no wind, little snow, and was quite warm. Excellent views and a beautiful morning in the mountains! Total trip time was 4:54 including a partial trek up Kelso Ridge. **On a side note: My original goal was Kelso Ridge this morning. However, it is a sheet of ice and snow. I turned back about one-third of the way up**
|2015-10-03||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: There was a light dusting of snow overnight. Everything in the sun was dry, but on the right side of the ridge most of the rock was snow covered. At 13,000‘ (photo 14 in the Kelso Route description), the left side was in the shade, which necessitated climbing the much steeper right side on the white rock which was dry and in the sun. The rock is solid, though. The knife edge was pretty spicy with snow on the right side, which is where the good foot spots generally are. From Torreys down to the Grays saddle, it was in the sun and mostly snow free but very windy.
|2015-09-27||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: the ridge was in great shape in general. Two stretches of loose rock and dirt that need circumventing. Go up the solid rock on either side to save time and energy. It is NOT a route to descend (I think) The group that I crossed the knife‘s edge with had to convince a couple of people to turn around and descend the standard route
|2015-08-17||Route: South Slopes
Info: Clear and dry all the way to the top. We left early to catch a sunrise. Beautiful colors right now and clear skies, despite shite weather forecasts.
|2015-08-09||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Summit(s) in great shape; ridge in great shape; dirt road in great shape. I popped up on Sunday afternoon and was able to drive my Prius all the way to the upper lot. By that point the lot was mostly available. I started at approx 3:00 pm. I made it to the mine in ~40‘ from there up Torreys in ~70‘. The only part that gave me hesitation was the area leading to and across the upper white rock, but it‘s quite reasonable. Then ~25‘ to Grays and ~45‘ down.
|2015-07-29||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: No snow on the ridge, no wet spots. The ridge is ready for climbing! Loose rock all over the ridge, but I am sure that is nothing new. More info and pics can be found here: https://everythingoutdoorscolorado.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/kelso-ridge-torreys-peak/
|2015-07-25||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Dry the whole way up the ridge. Found a tiny patch of snow just below the knifes edge, but very easy to cross. Only other snow is a small patch high on the saddle between grays & torreys. Both summits are crowded as usual, and parking fills up very early.
|2015-07-18||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Of the two snowfields mentioned in the previous report, the first can (and probably should, as it‘s getting icy and dangerous) be avoided by simply staying high on the ridge to the right, and the second has melted out. The standard descent route still has about 50‘ of very trenched snow just below the G/T saddle; it‘s a tad slick, but the trench is so deep at this point that it would take a lot of effort to fall out of it. Otherwise, all routes and trails were free of snow and dry.
|2015-07-15||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Same snow fields as mentioned in reports from July 11th - the first one is just before Dead Dog comes into view, the second immediately after the white gendarm post-knife edge. I crossed these around 7am, and they were soft even that early in the day. I did not have trekking poles or microspikes, and I felt safe on the crossings.
|2015-07-11||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Route is generally in good shape, and BUSY! Must‘ve seen 50-100 people ascending the ridge today. There are two snow crossings--not counting the one mentioned in the Grays conditions report). One is a horizontal traverse of a steep residual snowfield, where steps have been kicked in. I crossed with only a trekking pole, but some might want microspikes and axe for this crossing, particularly earlier in the morning, as the runout is quite severe. The second snow crossing is right after the white gendarme after the knife edge as you ascend the first few dozen feet of the final climb of Torreys, and the same can generally be said for this crossing as for the last. There is no residual snow from the precipitation earlier this week. Other than that, the route is mostly dry, and all fun!
|2015-07-06||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Kelso ridge is snow-free except for two spots. One is a gully just before the knife edge (photo 28 in the route description I think) -- if you make your way to the right side of the ridge here, there are a few alternative scrambling routes which can be used. The other is just after the white rock; this is about a 15 foot patch of snow which has good steps kicked in. My brother used his trekking poles here, but I did not. The shortcut from Torreys down to the standard trail has a large but not exposed or steep snow crossing. There is a glissade route carved into it about halfway through, but be sure to secure all your belongings if you use it because the guy in front of us lost his phone.
|2015-07-04||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: Proven it is doable if you start climbing the couloir after 9am.. But certain you want to start probably before 6am to have continuous hard snow. The top of the couloir ended at 14000 ft so a little boulder field work to get to the summit. Descending is very pleasant, soft corn throughout the route.
|2015-07-03||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Went up Dead Dog early yesterday. Hit the trail at 4 (a little late. missed my alarm, thankfully my partner woke me up). Bottom of the couloir just past 5. Started our ascent at 5:30 and I topped out around 8. Had a good freeze the night before considering the time of year. Snow was ok at the bottom, pretty good in the middle, and soft at the very top (past the grey rock where you go right). A good amount of rockfall on the way up, so keep left as best you can and cross the runnel as early as you can as it gets deeper the farther up you go. My partner topped out at just past 8:30, and that‘s about as late as I would want to do it. Probably would want to start up the couloir around 4 if not earlier. Never sunk past my ankles, although the crampons didn‘t bite as well as I would have liked. Bottom third of the couloir is pretty well melted out (see picture). Don‘t follow the footprints blindly, be prepared to make your own route. Some of the prints went the wrong way up the couloir and we could see them on the approach trying to figure out how to get up. Dead Dog won‘t be in much longer, so get up their quick!
|2015-07-03||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: minor snow above white rock, took the cutoff on grays for the descent with very minor snow still left. I did fine in boots (no poles or microspikes). Dead dog is melting out on the apron, maybe a handful of days left.
|2015-06-28||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Hiked Kelso Ridge Sunday and found the same conditions as last week‘s report. Go get it
|2015-06-27||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: At the risk of excessive reporting (given that there was a Tuning Fork update just 2 days ago), I‘m still including this as skier-specific info. The Fork is still indeed quite skiable, and as the previous report mentions, the climber‘s left fork connects to the summit ridge of Torrey‘s, while climber‘s right stops maybe 100-150‘ shy of it, with a bit of loose class 2+ or so rock in between. We car-camped just below the mud pit, and started hiking around 6 AM, summitting around 9:30. Had to wait about an hour for the snow to get soft enough for comfortable skiing. That said, we (actually!) had a solid freeze last night evidenced by thick frost buildup on the car in the morning. The snow going up was quite firm and icy for most of the ascent, and we were pretty happy to have crampons at that time in the morning. We climbed the left fork, which is more direct and has a good boot pack starting about halfway up. This fork is a bit steeper and narrower in a few sections, and the very top is getting pretty thin and rocky - guessing it doesn‘t have too many days left. All in all, amazing conditions for almost July. Oh, the stream crossing. I don‘t know...maybe there‘s a way to do it without getting your feet wet. I honestly wouldn‘t think too hard about it, just bring a light extra pair of shoes and socks and cross it right below the TF. It‘s a simple crossing, and going this way allows you to follow the remnants of the road most of the time instead of shwacking through the willows, greatly speeding up the approach time. Just my $0.02.