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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-05-17||Route: Grizzly Gulch and American Basin
Info: You‘ll find deep drifts within the first couple hundred feet on the Grizzly Gulch Trail. The area is still consolidating and covered with deep snow. The road to American Basin is clear up to 2.6 from the Grizzly Gulch TH.
|2015-02-14||Route: Southeast ridge via Boulder Gulch.
Info: The road from Cataract Gulch TH is well packed. Two streams crossing the road are open. From 10700 (where you turn off to Boulder Gulch) to 11200 is the "death zone", i.e. Bushwacking and postholing. In the a.m. it is mostly supportable and in the p.m. It is not. From there it is continuous snow coverage to 13000. Flotation is a must. Above that to the ridge snow coverage is intermittent. You can only ski from the summit in an east/north east direction and that is not for the faint of heart. We left our skis at 13000 and skied down from there. Because of multiple melt/freeze cycles there is every kind of crust and condition imaginable but it beats walking. It was a glorious day.
|2014-10-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: Climbed yesterday, 10/23/2014. Route above 13k is covered in snow and trail is hard to find, but it wasn‘t too bad just heading up the shallow snow slopes and intermingled rocks to the ridge. Once on the ridge, just follow it to the summit. Ridge was windswept and shallow snow. Get up there and do it before it snows again!
|2014-10-17||Route: East Slopes
Info: I very foolishly decided to drive all the way from Denver for this hike when I am sick as a dog so I only made it past the last clearing before my burning lungs and sinus pressure got the best of me. I think that‘s around 12,300 or so. However, I feel this would have otherwise been doable today. The trail through the entire gulch was dry and easily distinguishable. There were occasional small patches of snow in the trees, but just a handful of them. Obviously there is snow up top, but from what I could tell, it didn‘t appear to be too deep (yet). My route map fell out of my pack, and I was alone so I didn‘t push it. But if I had to have broken trail up the ridge, I think with microspikes and gaitors, all would‘ve been well today. From the register it looked like the last person who summited and signed the register went through 10/13. Sorry I don‘t have better information but I thought I‘d share what I have. If I think if I had time in the near future, I would watch watch the weather and consider going again.
|2014-07-20||Route: West Slopes
Info: After doing Redcloud and Sunshine the day before we packed up camp and drove up to this trail head. The road was definitely rougher but doable in a four wheel drive vehicle. Two spots gave us a little trouble do to the ruts and some pointy rocks but there were no drop offs. This spot was much more secluded from the ATV‘s that drive the road. The view from our tent was beautiful. The hike is short and relatively easy. Their were still some snow patches but they were easily navigated. The last half mile is slippery on the way down.
|2014-07-13||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Some snow remains but it is easily crossed without gear or danger. Route is in great shape.
|2014-07-06||Route: East Slopes
Info: An absolutely beautiful hike up the valley. The trail is clear all the way to the 200ft below the ridge (~13,400ft-13,600ft). A snowfield on this steep section requires a bit of caution. Unfortunately, I don‘t have a pic showing this section (Photo 18 of the route description is a good representation though). After clearing the snowfield, its clear up to the summit. For those hiking with pups, there is abundant water sources all the way up the valley.
|2014-07-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail muddy in spots, but snow free until gaining the ridge, didn‘t need micros, once past the ridge the trail is snow free again to the summit.
|2014-06-27||Route: East Slopes
Info: Overall, this might be doable without crampons. Snow was mostly firm, though I started to post-hole at 9 am. Only about 3-4 minor snowfields below 12,500 ft. Above that elevation you have at least one major snowfield to go through near the saddle. Probably the best strategy for avoiding the other snowfields is to hike up to the ridge line as soon as possible; the trail is conveniently snow-free from there up to the peak. For going down, hug the ridge line until you feel comfortable enough to glissade down.
|2014-06-21||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: The basin is still full of snow. We summited without snowshoes, yak tracks, or crampons, but it was not easy and I would recommend yak tracks at a minimum. Early in the morning the snow is hard enough to walk on, but in the heat of the day, you will start to posthole. As for the road up to the basin, it is not passable by a 2WD vehicle. I drove my Ford Focus about 19 of the 20 miles to the trailhead, and spent most of the time cursing. At the end of CO 30 the road becomes very rocky, and is washed out in a few places. The road is doable, but it will be very difficult on your car even if you make it. One of the guys up there driving a tour truck asked me if the car was a rental. Unfortunately I had to say no, and the repairs are mine to pay for. Even though you may be able to make it up there in a high clearance 2WD, save yourself the headache. Take a good clearance 4WD, or rent one in Lake City. I wish I had.
|2014-06-16||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: The peak is very doable, if you try to stay on the standard route, you will find lots and lots of snow (sometimes in very inconvenient place and at bad angles), but it is fairly solid early in the morning. It took about 2 hrs from American Basin to get to the summit by going around the small peak south of Handies because I didn‘t bring my axe/crampons with me. Image 1, the route up on the snow before the final ascent. Image 2, from the summit looking north (i didnt feel like standing up to take pictures, it was pretty windy). Image 3, to the south-ish looking at the 13er under which was a gully to ascend because I lost the route. I would say 70% of the trail was covered in snowfields and was very difficult to follow. Easy peak though.
|2014-06-14||Route: West Slopes
Info: We went and tried to tackle Handies over the weekend. Still very snowy from about 12,500‘ up to the summit. Two of us ended up giving up around 13,000 feet as we did not have crampons or an ice ax. Another member of our party made it all the way to the summit, though. I estimate it will still be 2 more weeks before you will actually be able to take the trail the summit. Road to Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch is in great condition. No problems at all.
|2014-06-01||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: American Basin is full of soft snow. Do not go up there without snowshoes or skis. However, only summit ski options are the East Face or Southwest Slopes. SW is a bit sketchy because you have to ski down the face on top of the cornice hanging over the east face. In one spot going up I post holed through to my waist in pretty rotten snow. On the NW side of the summit there‘s a big crack where it looks like the cornice is slipping away. We chose to avoid both these traverses and walked down about 500 vertical feet to ski what‘s left of the West Slopes. There is still actually snow on the summit so can still stitch together a summit ski. North side down the east face for a short bit then back up to 13577 and down the NW side seemed like an option if you‘re willing to skin/climb back up a bit to 13577 or the saddle to either side. First picture shows the hole on top of the E face cornice. This is on the N side of the summit. Zoom in, it‘s actually pretty big. You could ski off the summit in that direction but you would have to ski between that crack and the cornice. Similar conditions going down the S side of the summit to the SW Slopes.
|2014-05-25||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Road closed at fork prior to TH and stream crossing. Snow continuous from road to summit, including 4-6" fresh from night prior. Snow bridge over river at 0.2 miles. Snow 4+ feet deep most of lower elevation to near summit except for patches. Post holed less than 10% of the time up to basin near 12,700. We then climbed directly up the slope towards the summit. A few cracks but no slides. From saddle near 13,500 snow about 6-12" deep all the way to the summit. On return trip snow softened and glissade down the direct route was slow but fun. Return from basin to parking included more post holing (30%). Used spikes from basin to summit and then back to saddle on the descent.
|2014-05-24||Route: Zig Zag Couloir
Info: Lots of obnoxious postholing from Grizzly Gulch. Snow better up higher but still not enough freezing temps at night. Couloir was awesome, good conditions. Fell in a weird hole near the summit. Almost like a crevasse. Descended E. Slopes, easy plunge stepping.
|2014-05-10||Route: West Slopes
Info: Snow not continuous to summit up this route, stops about 13,600. From car it was solid snow until that point. Could change depending how much snow comes with this storm. Ski conditions were great!
|2013-10-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Fair amount of snow at the top after overnight snow on Thursday night. Tried going up Friday but turned back after postholing a fair amount and unable to find a better route. Snow melted a bit by Saturday but still postholed last 3/4 - 1 mile of route.
|2013-10-05||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: American basin has quite a bit of snow. Mostly manageable until the upper basin, where snow was thigh high at times. Once above the basin, the route was mostly dry.
|2013-09-28||Route: View from Redcloud
Info: Lots of snow on Handies from Friday‘s storm.
|2013-06-27||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail is completely dry from Grizzly Gulch, as well as from American Basin.