Click to Expand
|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-09||Route: Railroad Couloir
Info: There was plenty of snow in the Railroad Couloir (Photo 1, looking down). And it was in good climbing condition. A bit on the soft side after the morning warm-up, but not so soft that I worried about its stability. It looked like there was snow on most lines that a person could reasonably want to take (Photo 2). And the Railroad Couloir topped-out to a view that is unique in the Colorado mountains (Photo 3).
|2015-06-06||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Trail is mostly clear of snow with a few ice patches in the shade until treeline. See photos for snow. Warmer temps mean lots of postholing so flotation and waterproof shoes are highly recommended, even early in the morning and on this gray day. Warning #1: the friendly tourists resh off the cog at the summit like to ask hikers questions, even if the answers seem obvious! Warning #2: the park rangers were out in full force along the highway (especially b/c they closed the road just past Devil‘s Playground that day) - be prepared to take the trail up/down as it‘s intended and not the highway. Now we know how the animals in drive-through wildlife safaris must feel like... too bad nobody fed us
|2015-06-04||Route: East Slope
Info: I rode the 0800 train with two friends. Train had to stop to clear the tracks about three times and we summited a bit after 0900. We checked out the Summit House and conditions at the top of Railroad Couloir (it looks awesome). Had to walk down the tracks a bit to put skis on, right at the very top of the East Gully. Snow was firm (not icy) due to overnight temps just above freezing. No signs of avalanche activity, save for one very small wet slide to our left (north) on a south-facing aspect. Skiing was excellent initially and the slope is no steeper than 35 degrees. The slope quickly eases in steepness, and the lower we went the softer (slushier) the snow. We bypassed A-Frame and Barr Trail, and stayed in the gully until 10,500 feet, then hiked left (north) a short distance and caught Barr Trail. The hike down to Manitou Springs was hot and dry.
|2015-05-31||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Great day out from Crag‘s trail head. The road to the trail head is completely clear, although potholes are even worse than the roads in Colorado Springs. Snow started in patches almost immediately after the right turn towards Devils Playground and became heavy after about 11,000 ft. I started about 5:45 and it was easy hard-pack snow on the way up, but the warm weather may the route down pretty loose.
|2015-05-23||Route: East Slope
Info: Trekked up and down the mountain yesterday (23 May) with 14ers member ylingli via Barr Trail. From the trailhead to Barr Camp, the trail is mainly wet with sporadic water puddles and completely devoid of any snow. The snowline literally starts right at Barr Camp (10,200 ft). From Barr Camp to timberline, the trail is snow covered but nicely snowshoe/boot packed. Any deviations left or right of the packed trail and you‘ll be postholing. The snow is easily waist deep at the A-Frame Shelter level (11,500 ft). The "track" actually ended abruptly about a quarter mile from the A-Frame, where a series of foot prints then led in all different directions. This is because a hiker, attempting the summit without appropriate clothing or gear, and suffering severe hypothermia became lost and had to be rescued the evening prior. We did, however, complete the snowshoe-pack all the way to the A-Frame. Beyond the A-Frame, there is no followable trail. We wanted to avoid slide prone areas found along the standard route, so we opted to ascend the rest of the way above treeline via the southeast ridge. We summited and descended the same way. Snowshoes, and appropriate clothing and gear for snow travel highly recommended. There is deep snow on the mountain above treeline as well as HUGE drifts on the summit to contend with. With more unstable weather on the way, these conditions will only worsen. Picture #1 shows where the snow line starts right around Barr Camp. Picture #2 shows conditions just out of treeline as we gain the flanks of the southeast ridge (summit obscured by cloud cover). Picture #3 shows 14ers member ylingli on the lower portion of the southeast ridge. Picture #4 shows substantial snow coverage where sections of the standard Barr Trail are normally seen. In the direct center of the picture (just above the boulder), a small portion of the 16 Golden Stairs sign can be seen. After a lengthy period of turbulent weather including ferocious wind, a brief break in the cloud cover allowed us to see the summit. Picture #5 shows 14ers member ylingli struggling to stay upright, even with the help of the Observation Platform behind her blocking some of the wind. She is standing where the Cog Railway tracks would normally be found but are now buried in snow. Picture #6 was taken of me by 14ers member ylingli as we seek shelter outside the closed and buried Summit House. Picture #7 shows 14ers member ylingli and conditions, as we descend the mountain. Picture #8 is looking back and up at our tracks as we descend the southeast ridge. It took all of 5 minutes for our tracks behind us to be completely erased by the elements during the ascent, and I‘m quite certain that the tracks from our descent no longer exist either. On a side note, the recent caretakers at Barr Camp (Anthony & Renee) have moved on and are no longer there. The previous caretakers who resided on the mountain for 8 years (Neal & Teresa), are filling in for now. Regarding folks wanting to get up on the mountain and train for the upcoming Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon, I don‘t know what to tell ya...the deep snow will be up there for a while.
|2015-05-21||Route: East Slope
Info: Barr trail wet and muddy up till about 9K feet (just past Experimental forest turnoff), but is dry and in good shape up to near Barr Camp. Near Barr Camp there is patchy snow. Neil at Barr Camp said they got several inches earlier in the week, and said there was still a ton of snow above treeline.
|2015-05-13||Route: East Slope
Info: I left for Barr camp around 5am via the Barr Trailhead. The trail was a bit wet and slippery for around the first one to one and a half miles, where you will also find a fallen tree bridging the trail about 2 and a half feet off the ground. After that the trail is dry until the experimental forest sign. There‘s a lot of runoff thru there including a rather large puddle right in the middle of the trail. You‘re clear again until you hit 5-6 miles where the snow starts to get patchy on the trail, runoff makes the trail a stream for a stretch, and you run into a limited amount of ice close to the camp itself. Against my better judgement, I explored above Barr for 3 hours after a quick stop for breakfast. It was, to put it lightly, rather snowy. I had no snowshoes or proper trekking poles, so I was post-holing at least once every ten steps. I was following a gentleman named Tom‘s footsteps, and he wasn‘t posting very often, so it may be my relative inexperience. It did snow/lightly hail while I was up there, but not much by the time I left. I wound up a few hundred meters below tree line at my turnaround time of noon. Today was pretty warm in the springs, so I would expect more melt off today, but we also had a quick storm run through this evening that may have dumped some snow up there. Your guess is as good as mine there. P.S. This is my first TR. Let me know if there‘s anything I left out, or that you want to know and I‘ll see what I can tell you.
|2015-05-11||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Climbed Pikes Peak from the Crags on 5/11. My group had the mountain completely to ourselves - didn‘t see a soul all day. Parked just beyond the Mennonite camp. We used snowshoes TH to TH - I‘d call them mandatory in the powdery fluff covering the mountain. On the way down, the trail below treeline had melted significantly during the day. Barring more snow, will likely be dry to treeline soon. Above treeline was all powder, and tons of it. The summit was extremely windy, with blowing snow being a major annoyance. We stayed on top maybe 5 minutes to painfully snap a few pics before retreating. See pics...
|2015-04-13||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Route is about 50% dry. Microspikes helpful. Did not carry snowshoes. Only post holed a few times. Storm coming....
|2015-04-11||Route: "Y" Couloir
Info: We climbed the Y couloir left branch via an approach from the Crags TH with descent of Rumdoodle Ridge to Bottomless Pit. The snow on the apron and to the split is very firm, perhaps the most firm I have seen it in the 10 years I have been on the north face. Once past the split, the conditions in the left branch to the 4th class rock step were more late winter, which is typical. There is some wallowing in this section. The final 300 feet is back to very firm conditions, although not icy. Both the left (other than the rock step) and the direct finish are continuous snow. Conditions are better for climbers, not so great for skiing. Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153233043026796.1073741894.700931795&type=1&l=38b9b2eb4e
|2015-04-04||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Route has some icy areas. Snow shoes are not needed, but I can see something like yaktrax would have made the descent a little easier in the areas below treeline. Microspikes would be overkill. In the few areas where you might posthole, gaiters will be benificial.
|2015-03-27||Route: East Slope
Info: Trekked up and down the mountain via Barr Trail. From the trailhead in Manitou Springs to about 3 miles up, the trail is pretty much devoid of any snow or ice. From about 3 miles up and all the way to Barr Camp, the trail is snow covered, nicely boot-packed but icy as picture #1 shows. Traction devices recommended. Picture #2 shows snow amounts at Barr Camp, where we always stop in to let the awesome caretakers there know of our plans for the day. Picture #3 shows trail conditions just after leaving Barr Camp, where there is deeper snow but with a nice trench all the way to the A-Frame shelter at timberline. At this point, the trench stops and there is no visible trail. Snowshoes definitely recommended past this point. Picture #4 shows conditions while looking up the East Face, with no visible trail. Picture #5 shows 14ers member ylingli making her way up the East Face, just below the summit. Picture #6 shows the shuttered Summit House and the huge snowdrifts in front of it. Picture #7 shows conditions while descending the East Face. On a side note, picture #8 shows a huge boulder that has become dislodged within the last 2 weeks and has come to rest partway on the trail at just over 2 miles from the trailhead. If carrying a large pack, you may have to turn sideways to squeeze between the boulder and the trees.
|2015-03-15||Route: East Slope
Info: The first three miles of trail are mostly clear with occasional patches of ice. The next three miles (to Barr Camp) are icy packed snow. The following three miles (to timberline) are somewhat packed snow with minimal ice. Beyond timberline there is no point looking for the path; I followed a group that climbed directly up the face (photo 1). By late afternoon, in Sunday‘s warmth, the icy sections and the snow had softened considerably, making for easy travel. I used snowshoes from timberline to summit, and again from timberline to Barr Camp, both for floatation and for traction. Not all members of the group that I followed required floatation, but it looked like all were using traction of some sort. An ice axe was useful above timberline for some excellent glissades down the east face on the descent.
|2015-03-15||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: The trail is well-packed from the trailhead to timberline...snowshoes not needed as long as it‘s not too warm up there.
|2015-02-07||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Route it still good to the top! Trail has good hardpack (didn‘t use any microspikes or anything) up until treeline. Above there I lost the "trail" due to snow and had to freestyle it to the saddle. The trail can be seen again at the saddle and is straightforward from there. The cairns on the Class 2 section are clearly visible. On the way down microspikes would have been useful as the snow had softened and was slippery. On part to note is the section of the climb adjacent to Point 13,363. There was a hard packed snowfield in this area that warranted use of an ice axe. Other than that great climb! The road to Crags is a bit sketch like previous posts have been mentioning. Go SLOW and stay in the tracks and you‘ll be fine with 4WD.
|2015-02-06||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: A quick update in case anyone is headed this way this weekend (Crags Route)...The storm that passed through a couple days ago didn‘t really drop much in the area--maybe 1/2" or 1" up higher. So, there is still a great, packed, track all the way up through treeline (microspikes recommended; follow the footprints not the XC ski tracks). Above treeline and on to the summit, it‘s a toss up whether to keep your microspikes on or just walk in boots with good traction as there is plenty of open tundra, rock, and packed or thin snow. The road to the trailhead is like a slot car track--if you get out of the slot, you‘ll probably get stuck, even with 4x4. So, from the Mennonite Camp on up, definitely AWD or 4WD and don‘t pull over if you meet someone head on--back up instead. (There were two guys digging out their 4x4 trucks and, a bit lower down, another 4x4 truck well stuck in deep snow just off of the road. Stay on the packed tracks!)
|2015-01-31||Route: East Slope
Info: Went up and down the mountain yesterday (31 Jan) via Barr Trail. From the trailhead to 3 miles up, the trail is pretty much devoid of any snow and only a few, short icy spots remain. Picture #1 shows trail conditions from 3 miles up and pretty much all the way to treeline. There is good boot-pack, but lots of underlying ice and traction devices highly recommended. Picture #2 shows trail conditions JUST below treeline, where the snow is a little deeper and postholing can become an issue once the temperatures warm up. As of this report, the snow was consolidated and frozen enough to eliminate postholing. Picture #3 shows that the trail above treeline is holding snow, but is also windblown enough to be followable. In fact, the trail is followable in its entirety from the trailhead to the summit. Picture #4 shows 1 of 3 prominent snowfields covering the trail around the 12,700 - 13,000 foot level, that need to be traversed. The picture shows 14ers member ylingli negotiating one of the snowfields. Do not take these snowfields lightly, as they are super consolidated and frozen over solid. An ice axe and aggressive traction devices highly recommended. Although it looks as though some boot-pack is being left in the snow, that is not the case. That is simply some disruption of the powdery layer (that had fallen the night before) covering the frozen solid snow. A slip down to the rocks below (which appear closer than they are) would be painful and certainly result in injury. Picture #5 shows one of the other powder-covered icy snowfields. Picture #6 shows 14ers member ylingli just below the summit. Picture #7 shows views during the descent with a section of the trail in the distance. Picture #8 shows conditions on the East Face during the descent. Also, 14ers member jrs1965 - you wanted a picture of the Y Couloir from the summit and I took 2 for you. I will PM them to you.
|2015-01-29||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: You can get a Blues Mobile to the Mennonite Camp, but probably good to have AWD or 4WD after that to the Crags Trailhead. You could do it in front wheel drive with snow tires, but if you get off the tracks and into the ditch you‘ll be stuck without 4WD. The trail up through treeline is nicely packed--microspikes are the ticket. Above treeline the track I was following dribbled out and I found myself off trail, on a ridge somewhere, in the dark, in the clouds with low visibility, etc. (I started hiking at 2:30a.m. for some sunrise photography.) So, I bailed and will come back another day. Regrettably, Pikes was probably clear of the clouds judging from the summit cam later in the day--would have been great at sunrise. Keep an eye on the snowfall from this current unsettled weather/storm to see if it will negate this report.
|2015-01-26||Route: East Slope
Info: Hiked from Barr Camp to summit, breaking trail after the Bottomless Pit turn off. 3-4inches of unmarked snow on top of a trail base. Wore microspikes the whole way. Not too bad if you stay where others have walked -- a few inches either way means postholing. Trail snowy until A-Frame (two other hikers wore snow shoes with good success). Above A-frame the snow is windblow, drifted, and frozen over solid. Traction a must - poles a great help. The trail is pretty visible except for the portion approaching the long traverse, where we hunted around the slippery drifts. The Golden Stairs were slightly challenging due to ice and drifting. 4 different hikers summitted -- two in snowshoes/spikes and two spikes only. Some slips and falls due to lack of traction at times - but slow and sure won the day. Blue bird day -- just about freezing -- almos no wind the whole day. Hitchhiked down
|2015-01-05||Route: Northwest Slopes
Info: Skied from 2wd trailhead near Mennonite Camp to about 10700 feet. About 12-16 inches of base all along the route. Still some exposed rocks along the Devils Playground trail, but definitely a fun trip on XC skis. FYI there is a low hanging tree a couple hundred feet south of the four-way junction along the side trail that swings south and cuts off the cul-de-sac in the campground.