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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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.
|2015-06-26||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: My dog and I did Tuning Fork today. The snow is still in great shape...a little sloppy at the bottom, mostly firm (with bootprints!), continuous to the ridge in the left fork. Get on the snow ~0530...it‘ll be great.
|2015-06-24||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Sorry, no pics - I didn‘t bring a camera. But Kelso is totally good to go! I went in my trail runners and it was 99% dry. The last 25ft to the summit is still snow, but kicking steps up it is no problem at all. In fact, I mostly just used the old steps from other people rather than kicking my own. The descent trail off Grays was still really patchy with snow, so bringing an axe for the massive glissade from the saddle could be well worth it (I sure wish I had). Go get it!
|2015-06-20||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Hey guys, skied dead dog today and it was fantastic! Conditions are deteriorating fast. There is one 5 foot deep rut running until about half way up. We left the trailhead at 5:20AM, summited at 8:30AM. Snow was already REALLY soft at the time we skied (8:50AM). I am not very conservative, but would not recommend skiing this anytime after tomorrow. I‘ve attached my gopro video to take a look at. Ill have a trip report up tomorrow with some pics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xwArH7SeCs WATCH IN HD
|2015-06-20||Route: NW Face/Tuning Fork
Info: You can drive all the way to the end of Grizzly Gulch Rd. At least to the downed trees. There is a pretty nasty mud pit with a steep drop. I suggest stopping here. High clearance 4x4 only. The snow in the morning was firm at around 6:30 am. Snow was in great shape at 11:00 am. Weather was sunny and warm with a slight breeze. Expect a creek crossing after leaving the road to get to the snow. It‘s high right now. There‘s a good chance feet will get wet. Snows melted back about a 1/4 mile off the end of the road. Just a little easy bush whacking. Snow held up great but got wet at the bottom. You can still make good turns all the way.
|2015-05-31||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: A lot of snow on the overall route, the knife edge was buried.
|2015-05-21||Route: Emperor Couloir
Info: Be careful out there folks (not my report, from CAIC yesterday): link http://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/obs/obs_report.php?obs_id=35991
|2015-05-16||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Made it up to the Y in the road before hoofing it. Kelso Mountain is loaded with snow, so took winter bypass. Kelso Ridge is snow covered whole way. A few tricky corners hugging the rock while delicately traversing snow slopes. Knife ridge a piece of cake since it is three feet wide right now. White rocks tricky.
|2015-05-02||Route: South Slopes
Info: Standard route is almost 100% snow from summer trailhead to summit. Above 13K, some rocks poking out and snow coverage averaging up to 12-18 inches sitting on bare ground. I did not ski it but Dead Dog appears to be in. To avoid areas of concern on Kelso Mtn, I followed a snowmobile track from the summer TH up the bottom of the valley to meet the standard trail near where this pic was taken. Anecdotal: two climbers I spoke to went up Kelso Ridge and said that it was "more technical than they expected."
|2015-04-13||Route: South Slopes
Info: I climbed Torreys and Grays today from just above Bakersville. I wore microspikes from the summer TH all the way up and down. In the early morning you definitely need them. I did not break out the crampons, ax or snow shoes. I was back at the summer TH at 12:30 and did not posthole once. By that time, however, things were starting to get very soft and anyone coming down much later would have problems. There were maybe 10 skiers and the conditions looked very good in the bowl between Grays and Torreys and in the couloirs. Starting one mile below the summer TH (10,750) there is continuous snow for skinning and skiing. Below that there are a lot of bare spots, some of which are very long.
|2015-04-11||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: My first snow couloir climb! (outside of a failed attempt of the Hourglass last year) It was a blast, albeit a very tiring day. Conditions in the couloir are near perfect - few inches of soft snow above hard packed ice/snow. There are very helpful steps carved in for a significant portion of the climb. Started from about 0.5 miles above the Bakerville exit. Potential for postholing in the afternoon as the melt continues - recommend taking snowshoes above the summer trailhead.
|2015-04-11||Route: Dead Dog Couloir
Info: Parked at around 9,600ft in a tacoma, roughly 1/4 mile up from the start of the dirt road. All vehicles parked in that general area; any higher and you might risk getting stuck later in the day when the snow softens. Started around 630am. The road the first few miles has patches of dirt where we just strapped the skis to our pack and just walked on snow/dirt during the early morning. The road about 2/3 the way up eventually is consistent snow where you could strap the skis on. We put on our skis at the trailhead and skinned for a few miles until we got to the amphitheater then boot packed the summer trail to the saddle then to the summit. Skied dead dog around 1pm, was perfect conditions. It was party cloudy so we were afforded a later descent. No rocks on the couloir. Would recommend hiking down from the summit to the start of the couloir;we side slipped with the skis and got a few nicks as it was boney with rocks protruding. Was a great day, spring skiing has started.
|2014-12-06||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: The route is in good shape and is still transitioning to winter climbing conditions. No snowshoes needed as yet on the approach. We did the lower third of the ridge to below the white wall sans traction and used microspikes the rest of the way. Crampons seemed to be overkill as there was more rock than snow. There is some crappy sugar snow you have to wade through to get to the base of the white wall. The knife edge isn‘t much harder than summer conditions. There is some hard packed, wind blown snow in spots below the summit. Here are my photos from the climb: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114208121135095282472/albums/6090107230820419185?sort=1
|2014-11-13||Route: West Ridge
Info: Headed for Grizzly D (and entered this under Torreys). High winds, low visibility, car said 4f at the top of the pass around 9am. A little bit of postholing heading up the ridge from the top of the pass, but not too bad. Small pockets of knee deep drifts but those were short, and I don‘t think snowshoes would have been worth the bother. Once you turn south on the ridge there‘s a little bit of snow here and there but the wind is blowing most of it away and there‘s nothing deep. Took a break on top of Cupid in a whiteout, the low visability was disorienting, wind was filling in tracks, and GPS came in very handy. We didn‘t summit anything other than Cupid. Who knows how conditions might change but if you head up before the storms are over I would bring something to protect your face, pack a GPS if you have one, and be prepared for 20-30+ mph sustained winds and 0f temps. Back at the car CDOT politely informed us that they were closing the pass.
|a day in the life||2014-11-14||0|
|2014-11-01||Route: Kelso Ridge
Info: Climbed Kelso Ridge on Saturday 11/1. The route is snow free for most of the route. However below the white wall at 13,000 ft is a snow field that required some post-holing. At about 13,900 ft the snow becomes significant and requires some work to get through or around. I chose to climb up the slanted rocks before the knife edge (above dead dog) since either side was covered in snow. The rocks were generally dry but did hold some ice which made some of the holds a bit sketchy. Knife edge is snow free. After the knife edge snow is present until the summit but was able to kick steps in. I felt comfortable with just an axe. On the descent (normal route) I used traction since the trail was packed down and icy.