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Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

Postby nyker » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:13 pm

I was wondering if anyone has been up to the Spring Mountains recently near these two peaks in Nevada?

I know there is snow above 7000ft and see the forecast calls for rain/snow this weekend, but what I am unable to find out is how much snow is higher up; i.e. are snowshoes needed or not and will this be a posthole trip the whole day or just in spots. Thanks in advance!

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Re: Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

Postby Johnson » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:23 pm

Snow looked sparse from Vegas itself. Perhaps you could call REI out there...they should have some info for you.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

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Re: Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

Postby 12ersRule » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:44 pm

The SNOTEL site can give a vague idea about what snow conditions are like.

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Nevada/nevada.html

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Re: Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

Postby nyker » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:07 pm

Ok, great, thanks - looks like the Bristlecone trail area has 10" at ~8,900ft.

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Re: Mount Charleston/Griffith Peak

Postby nyker » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:06 am

So, went up and attempted Griffith Peak (11,060ft) again last week - like clockwork, the day before I arrived *AGAIN*, a snowstorm came in and dumped 2+ feet of snow in the hills, more higher up. ...the third time this has happened in three attempts.

Note that while construction is going on, you need to park at Echo Trailhead, maybe 0.5 / 0.75 mile down from the Lodge at ~7500ft

The snow was fresh, heavy and deep. I had been advised by a Ranger two days before that snowshoes were not needed so didn't bring them. This was a mistake. It was slow going and combined with my lack of sleep and lingering cold I had, made it a few miles, postholing +1,500ft up before bailing in a whiteout when it started snowing. G went up another +500 feet before turning around. The pictures here are shots taken before it whited out lower down.

Went back again on Thursday after finding a pair of snowshoes to rent and thought the snow would be a bit more consolidated after a few days. Weather was clear, but colder. Now rested, was moving much faster and felt stronger. Trail disappeared after 9,400ft, snow was 2ft deep in most spots, much deeper in banks and drifts and near trees with a shell in some spots. At 9,700, there was no clear route, so I just moved "up" towards what, based on the map and bearing, I ascertained to be the saddle above treeline.

All movement was in the forest thus far, though while steep I didn't feel any significant avy risk since the trees protected the area and there was no sign of any prior slides. Before I got above treeline, at 9967ft on my altimeter, I heard what sounded like a muffled shotgun blast 10ft under my feet and the the snow I was standing on dropped two inches in an area about 15ft by 15ft, but didn't slide; I actually felt a concussive force in my gut as I imagine a layer beneath me broke; I stood still, then slowly crawled off the snow holding a tree and then went back down. The summit will have to wait another day.

Has anyone experiened this? I am assuming there was a snowbridge or snow cavern underneath where I was standing? I didn't hear any water running underneath and don't think there is any stream in that area. This was still in the woods, so there wasn't really enough slab area above to slide and the many trees anchored any such snow from a big slide, but the snow was pretty deep around the area, much deeper than my trekking pole was long.
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