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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-05-10||Route: East Slope
Info: Descended the East Face of the Peak yesterday after climbing the Y Couloir via Barr Trail to Bottomless Pit and then up the Couloir on the North Face. Barr Trail is pretty much boot-packed in it‘s entirety. Most of the lower half of the East Face is wind blown (see picture #1), but the upper half still retains a lot of snow that covers the trail (see picture #2). Much of the trail is also icy, particularly in the area of the 16 Golden Stairs, and traction devices would be helpful. Picture #3 shows trail conditions on the long traverse. Picture #4 shows icy trail conditions just below treeline. Most of the snow and ice was gone about 2 miles below treeline, and the last 8 miles to the parking lot was pretty much bare dirt.
|2014-05-04||Route: East Slope
Info: Went up Barr Trail today. No snow to Barr Camp. Intermittent snow above, beginning mostly continuous from the "Bottomless Pit 2.4" sign to A-Frame. Traction was helpful early, especially in the are around the A-Frame. . Above the A-Frame is clear for several switchbacks, then covered and somewhat difficult to find trail in spots. Long traverse around 13,000‘ is melting out quickly. 16 Golden Stairs holding a good amount of snow, easily bypassed though. We climbed in running shoes and microspikes. No issues at all. The snow that is left is melting fast. I wouldn‘t be surprised if it‘s 99% clear in another two weeks or so.
|2014-04-27||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Don‘t underestimate the wind-chill! I could handle the snow and even the wind, but I was not prepared for the -20degF windchill (per mountain-forecast.com) even though I wore several thermal layers and mitts. Our buffs, our only wind protection for our face, froze solid; I don‘t know which was worse - the ice chips in the incessant >45mph winds stinging my exposed skin or the solid icy buff "protecting" my face while impairing my breathing at 13,000 ft. Anyway, needless to say, had to turn back or face (ha ha, get it?) frost-bite. Broke trail the entire way - hopefully the people that played safely in the trees below us appreciated my hard work! Snowshoes were great, but probably not necessary since the temps were below freezing most of the time. My traction-less partner only slipped on ice once (that I saw), without even falling, but he sure did sink in a few postholes (not even one complaint so it must not have been too bad) Some of the snow on the trail in the trees was already melting so we could see the dirt trail. Without new snow, my guess is the trail will be easy to follow through the trees. Great snowpack up the ridge and over through Devil‘s Playground. Photos attached of trail snow on our descent and me with freezer-burned face (image 1), view of partial summit, highway with snow blowing across it, Devil‘s Playground hidden in blowing snow - this wind only got worse as we got closer to the summit (image 2), and image of trail in the trees with icecycle hanging off rocks (image 3), my climbing partner relieved to be out of the wind (image 4).
|2014-04-26||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Did not go all the way up, only to about 11,500 with the family. However, the trail is mostly snowpack up to that elevation. My kids used cheap Costco yak track knockoffs, while the wife and I just wore our hiking boots. The footing was pretty good, although slipperier going down of course. There was the occasional post holing, but it was not that often.
|2014-04-19||Route: East Slope
Info: Stayed at Barr Camp on Fri/Sat this weekend. No traction needed to get to BC during the PM. Traction helpful but not necessary to get to A-Frame. Took the coulior up to just under the summit. Alternating patches of rock and snow, mostly snow. Snowshoes would be useless weight. A little freeze/thaw and the shallow east-facing coulior would be nice.
|2014-03-29||Route: East Slope
Info: From the trail-head to 3 miles up, the trail is completely devoid of snow or ice. From 3 miles to Barr Camp, the trail is a combination of mostly ice and packed snow, with some exposed dirt. From Barr Camp to timberline, the snow-covered trail is nicely boot-packed. Traction devices are highly recommended but snowshoes were not needed. From timberline to the summit, the trail is snow covered and not visible, and route familiarity would be highly advantageous. There are some tracks in various different directions, particularly for the first mile above treeline. It is possible to summit via the snow-filled gully from the A-frame, although crampons and ice-ax are highly recommended. Be cautious of the avy conditions at the top of the gully, it‘s steep enough to slide when the conditions are right.
|2014-03-15||Route: East Slope
Info: From the parking lot to 3 miles up, Barr Trail is devoid of any snow or ice. From 3 miles up and all the way to Barr Camp, the trail is about 10% exposed dirt, 10% packed snow, and 80% ice (see picture #1). Traction devices highly recommended. From Barr Camp to the A-Frame Emergency Shelter sign, the trail is snow covered but with good boot-pack/trench (see picture #2). Many people are hiking up and making the A-Frame Shelter sign their turn around point, so because of all the foot traffic to that point, no snowshoes were needed. Above the A-Frame shelter, and all the way to the summit, the trail is pretty much snow covered and not visible. Route familiarity would be beneficial here. A storm that was forecast for the afternoon came in with a vengeance and shrouded the Peak in clouds. Picture #3 was taken during an "opening" in the clouds and shows snow conditions above treeline. Picture #4, captured off the Summit House webcam by my brother from the luxury of his warm living room, shows the snow conditions on the summit. On a side note, the huge boulder that slid down and came to rest in the middle of the trail (about a mile up from the parking lot) during last September‘s heavy rains, has now been "altered" and the trail nicely widened around it.
|2014-03-02||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Snow on the road for the last 1.5 miles but we made it in a 2wd car with snow tires. Nice packed trail until 11000 ft. and then we lost the trail, ended up taking a ridgeline north of the true route which had very little snow. For most of the hike past Devil‘s Playground we couldn‘t find the trail, but someone with better knowledge of the route might have been able to locate it.
|2014-03-01||Route: East Slope
Info: We summited Pikes yesterday, hiked out today. From TH to Barr Camp we used microspikes sporadically. Aside from one difficult patch of ice (see photos) no traction is really needed the first 2-3 miles. After that its about 70% compacted sometimes icy snow and 30% typical Barr Trail. Above Barr Camp, its all compacted snow up through treeline. In treeline near the A-Frame the trail becomes difficult to follow in places. Above treeline the trail gets lost again as it swings north to begin the big long southern "left" traverse across the East face. We ended up making a bee-line straight up the slope and used GPS to find out when we‘d gained the traverse. Past that the trail was easier to follow with somesome care for route finding. Definitely no snowshoes needed at this time. We were foolish and left our gaiters at Barr Camp and regret that choice. We did use ice ax to protect 3 snow field traverses up high. Photo #1: The very icy patch a few miles before Barr Camp Photo #2: A Look at how hidden the trail is up high by the early snow fields. Photo #3: This snowfield was up the Golden Stairs
|2014-02-23||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: The road to Crags campground is in good shape. 4WD vehicles should have no problem getting all the way to the campground; 2WD vehicles with good tires might be able to make it as well. I didn‘t risk it with my 2WD and parked about 3/4 mile below the campground at a nice pullout just after the road quits being plowed. It is a quick warm-up hike from there to the campground. There is an excellent packed trail from Crags to treeline. Above treeline the slopes are mostly wind-scoured. Absolutely no need to take snowshoes at this point. I brought an ice axe and microspikes, but never used either. Can‘t say how long these conditions will last, but now is a good time to get Pikes in if you hate post-holing! Sorry no photos--hiked at night.
|2014-02-22||Route: East Slope
Info: Hiked up and down the Peak via Barr Trail. There are sporadic icy patches during the first three miles (see picture #1). From three miles up and all the way to Barr Camp, the trail is ice/snow covered but with good boot-pack (see picture #2). From Barr Camp to timberline, the snow is significantly deeper but has "decent" boot-pack and snowshoes were not needed (see picture #3). From timberline to the summit, the mountain is mostly wind swept but there are large sections of snow that cover the trail and route familiarity would be advantageous - especially for the first mile above treeline. There are several rock hard consolidated snow fields that cover the trail and need to be crossed above 12,500 ft. Traction devices are highly recommended (see picture #4).
|2014-02-16||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: I parked about 1 mile short of the Crags parking lot...see my entry under trailhead conditions. The route is well-packed snow all the way to treeline (the last 0.25 mile is a little off route, but no problem). The trail is bootpacked (i.e., no evidence of snowshoes) in the area of the long switchbacks. ~300 feet after treeline, and up to the dirt road (leading to Devils Playground), you are on your own, as the wind has filled the boot track. The ascending traverse is a mix of heaven and hell....windswept areas punctuated by postholing wallowfests. There are some rock-hard areas where the trail contours across Little Pikes Peak. Keep an eye on your route in the trees...there are divergent trails from snowshoers (e.g., where you turn left for the first significant upward grade, there is trail continuing straight; and, at the top of this grade, where you turn right for the long switchbacks, there is trail that continues straight). I did this as a full-moon climb last night. It was absolutely sublime. I had a blast...that‘s both a statement about my satisfaction and about the hellish wind.
|2014-01-25||Route: East Slope
Info: Hiked up and down the Peak yesterday. As of right now, Barr Trail is followable in its entirety. The snow is nicely consolidated, even in treeline, and postholing was a non-issue. Snowshoes were not needed. The main problem is the ice on the trail, so traction devices are highly recommended. There are sporadic sections of ice between the trailhead and Barr Camp (see picture #1), with lengthier sections closer to Barr Camp. From Barr Camp to the summit, the trail is consolidated snow mixed with ice. Picture #2 shows some of the consolidated snow fields covering the trail above treeline. Picture #3 shows trail conditions just below the summit during the descent. Picture #4 shows the icy trail just below treeline during the descent.
|2014-01-25||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Snowpacked trail to treeline (from Crags TH), then mostly windblown with few snowy sections beyond. Would‘ve been miserable without microspikes up to the ridge, but definitely no need for snowshoes at this point.
|2014-01-12||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: What a difference a day makes. The "well packed trail" that Kumo described got obliterated above treeline by all the high winds and snow on Sunday. Still looks good in the trees and the road to the TH is still in great shape.
|2014-01-11||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: This update is for NW slope from Crag TH: The trail is well packed all the way up to summit. Brought my snowshoes but never needed it. Microspikes was really helpful on the way up. As of today the Pikes peak highway is open all the way up to summit but the cafe was closed. The road up crag TH is passable for most passenger car. Although One car did get stuck for an hour close to the TH, just be careful the ditch on the side. enjoy!
|2013-12-14||Route: East Slope
Info: First 3 miles of Barr Trail are pretty icy due to heavy usage/freeze-thaw cycle and traction devices are recommended (see picture #1). From 3 miles up and all the way to Barr Camp, the trail is less icy and just nicely boot packed...traction devices still recommended. There hasn‘t been much/any foot traffic beyond Barr Camp for the last week, so you will have to work to get to timberline. The snow on the trail is wind-crusted on the surface with sugary snow underneath (see picture #2). The post-holing wasn‘t severe, just enough to cause some frustration. Above timberline, there was a 180 degree difference in the conditions. The upper mountain is wind blown, and the snow that remains is consolidated rock hard (see picture #3). My microspikes were barely leaving an impression on the snow. Post-holing was a non issue. Although I was able to follow Barr Trail in it‘s entirety, the first mile out of treeline was hit or miss because of the snow covering the trail. Route familiarity would be beneficial here. Picture #4 shows trail conditions during the descent.
|2013-12-14||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: A cold day for a Pikes summit (-20F wind chill) but beautiful when the sun came out! Below treeline, there was mostly packed snow in the shade with minor post-holing approaching treeline. From treeline to the Devil‘s playground, there was wind packed snow, some thick in places and some major post-holing on the steep climb up to the saddle. From the Devil‘s playground to the boulder scramble, the recent strong winds have blown away some of the snow, leaving drifted snow here and there. The boulder scramble was challenging with some thick, soft snow and some post-holing, combined with windy, cold conditions! Gaiters and micro-spikes were used but snowshoes would have been helpful for the descent when the warmer, sunny weather started melting the snow.
|2013-12-08||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: There is approximately 17 cm of snow at the Crags Campground. I was able to drive my front-wheel drive Honda (with snow tires) all the way to the trail head. There is just enough of a base to make the loop up to the Crags a beautiful cross-country ski.
|2013-11-23||Route: East Slope
Info: Hiked up and down the Peak (11-23). Picture #1 shows that there is snow starting from the beginning of the trail, and all the way to the summit. Not enough snow to warrant snowshoes, but Microspikes were helpful. Picture #2 shows trail conditions just below timberline during the ascent. Picture #3 shows conditions on the summit. Picture #4 shows trail conditions above timberline during the descent. We were able to follow the standard Barr Trail all the way to the summit, even with the snow on the trail above timberline. Some minor and sporadic post- holing can be expected.