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2013-05-04  South slopes from Cataract TH  Climbed Half Peak and Pt 13,164 as a day trip from Cataract Gulch TH on Saturday 5/4/13. There is zero snow on the road to the TH. The trail was 50% snow covered to 10.5K. We put on snowshoes for a couple of sections past this. Note there are at least 5 creek crossing, you will want poles for log crossings and will need to step in some shallow creek spots. Past treeline, you cross through 3 willow/boggy sections on your way to Cataract Lake, this is the worst part of the hike! Snowshoes are mandatory, choose your poison...crossing questionable ice/sidehilling in snowshoes/postholing in willows. Past the lake on the CO Trail section (if you take the long route, which I did), you still will want snowshoes, its just a mix of bare ground, scree, willows, 2 foot soft snow. The direct route from Cataract Lake looked like it might go in crampons...if you got a really early start and the snow firmed up. Above 12,800, all snow is avoidable to the summit. I never wore my microspikes or took the axe off my pack. Pic #1: Clearing around 10,500...next section of trees held deeper snow. Pic #2: Entire upper section of Half Peak from the East, summit is far right, Roach‘s class 3 more direct east route I believe would follow the continuous snow seen to the summit...snow too soft for me to attempt. Pic #3: Cataract Lake at 12,200, looking SE. Pic #4: Looking at the summit plateau from the East edge of the first plateau, with the catwalk section (airy, dry, class 2+). I was eyeing going down that snow, but it was too slushy to give it a go (with cliffs below). Rainier_Wolfcastle   2013-05-07 4       

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