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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
Info: After mistakenly climbing unranked pt 13,820 (center left of pic #3) last Saturday, I had to give Thunder another shot. It was shocking how much snow had melted in the past week! I maybe stepped on snow for 20 steps until crossing the snow bridge where you leave the West Maroon Trail to head up towards Thunder. Leave the snowshoes at home! Snow is mostly avoidable until getting to the two short steep gullies getting you up to Len Shoemaker Basin. I used crampons/axe to ascend these, but scrambled on the rocks to downclimb them later in the day. Pic #1 shows much of the route from the edge of the Len Shoemaker Basin. The "White Gully" is not so white any more (diagonal left to right in upper middle of photo). From ~11,200 to ~12,500 I did not use the points, just climbed grass and rock ledges. Pic #2 is from a little further up. At 12,500, I put the points on and followed the gully up and to the right (learning from last week). The snow was good, unless you get within 4 feet of rock (which many times was hard to avoid)...then you punch through. The gully breaks into a bunch of fingerlike couloirs above 13,200...I‘m not sure what the correct one to take is, just not the middle left one ! It was dry, loose scrambling to the summit from here. Pic #3 is from the summit looking at unranked 13,820 to the left and on to Pyramid to the right. Pic #4 is of (from left to right): Maroon, N. Maroon, Snowmass, and Capitol. For the descent, I took the ridge North to the saddle (site of our wrong turn last week). Then it was a scree run for 500 or so feet. From here it was a mixture of face-in cramponing, glissades, and scrambling down to treeline.
|2013-06-01||Route: West Face / White Gully
Info: Firm snow on the approach in the morning, no flotation needed. We were hiking out in late afternoon and even then, we didn‘t use flotation and the snow was mostly supportive. There was some postholing after descending out of the approach gullies, but it wasn‘t worth the weight of snowshoes for us and it‘s a short distance anyway. You might make a different decision. We had continuous snow almost all the way to the top of the ridge. No significant difficulties on the summit ridge (there is exposure and some class 3 moves). There are a few small cairns to follow. The creek crossing snow bridge is in good shape. There is minimal snow until past Crater Lake. The gully itself has slide debris in it and while a member of our group did ski it, it didn‘t look like great ski conditions. I‘m not sure if there will be a trip report or not. Image 1: TP; the black line points out the summit Image 2: On the face on the way down. Stay to the right of the right to left descending rib above the two folks in the pic. USAKeller has a TR with some good pics showing the route, though we did not take the right spur shown in her image #1; instead we headed more directly up the face.
|2012-07-11||Route: West Face
Info: After crossing stream, make sure you go far enough up the trail until you see the cairn for the turnoff, see trip report at http://www.summitpost.org/tea-party-on-thunder-pyramid/800159. No snow gear needed, traversed about 10‘ of snow at one point but it was soft enough to safely cross with hiking boots only.
|2012-06-08||Route: White Gully
Info: Climbed Thunder Pyramid today. Nice climb...not anywhere near as loose as I thought it was going to be. It was actually easier than South Maroon IMO. Snow free almost the entire way except for some avoidable snow in the white gully itself. We tended to stay on the more solid ribs just to the right of the white gully looking up. Very beautiful day and calm. Gorgeous views of the bells. I have pics but they are still on my camera and I‘m using the Aspen library now so I can‘t upload anything. I‘ll post pics sometime Sunday night.
|2012-05-27||Route: White Couloir
Info: Same as previous. Trail approach is dry or consolidated (make sure to stay high over the Bell Cord fan). Snow bridge ~100 ft upstream for the crossing. Axe/pons recommended for gullies up to Len Shoe. basin. The grassy ledge entrance to the White Gully is dry. Crampons/axe needed for couloir. Saw a few rocks fall - evidence suggests goat suspects. We ascended the left branch to the saddle and descended the right branch. The terrain above the right branch is far easier and cleaned out.
|2012-05-20||Route: White Gully
Info: Climbed Thunder Pyramid on Sunday, 20 May. Found USAKeller‘s report to be informative, accurate, dead on, without fault, get any better than that? Conditions are about the same, just about ten days less snow, the snowfields are a bit less expansive but we still found hard snow perfect for cramponing in the early morning and we too killed an hour on top to let the snow soften enough for a secure heel plunge step. Even so, got to practice my arrest technique toward the bottom where the hardest snow was found. We experienced the same 13 hours to climb the route but instead of cutting right at the fork to arrive at the ridge to the right of the summit, we opted to climb straight up and intercept the ridge to the left of the summit. No issues from the ridge with regard to either difficulty (class 3) or route finding. Link to my link usual narrative but honestly USAK nailed it two weeks ago.