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Good First Snow climb???

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Good First Snow climb???

Postby Kameronatm » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:05 pm

Hello all,

A few buddies and I are looking to do our first snow 13er or 14er. Anyone have any recommendations? We have rock climbing experience along with class 3 14er experience. We will have mountaineering boots, crampons, ice tools and trad/ice pro. We can rent anything else we need. We were thinking mt Lindsay... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby dpage » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:36 pm

Somewhere on this site I once read that winter is ridge climbing time and spring is couloir climbing time. If this is the basic rule, Mt Lindsey wouldn't be 'in' for a snow climb for some time.

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Kameronatm » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:45 pm

Right now we are looking at a spring climb. Just got back from longs and I'm still riding the high already excited for the next trip. Thanks

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Shawnee Bob » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:15 pm

Mount Shavano, Angel of Shavano. Can't go too late in the spring because it melts out fast. But if the couloir is good and filled, you get to climb that, then start climbing up slightly steeper snow on the south face in the final summit pitch. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby SurfNTurf » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:55 pm

The Angel is a good one (it was my first), but I'm not sure it could even rightly be called a couloir. My typical suggestion for a first snow climb is Cristo Couloir on Quandary. If you're fine with a Centennial 13er, Boudoir Couloir on Horseshoe Mountain is another great beginner outing that's stunningly beautiful.
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby NYRyan » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:14 pm

missouri - c couloir
elbert - box creek cirque (multiple options)
eva (13er, front range) - s.e. face
hagar (13er, front range) s. face
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby blazebo » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:04 am

Mount hood

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby NickJ » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:49 am

Mt. Toll, IPW, southeast face

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Kameronatm » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:02 am

Is late march too early?

Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby AndYouSeeMe » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:30 am

Kameronatm wrote:Is late march too early?


Late March will more than likely be way too early for a safe snow climb.

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:33 am

AndYouSeeMe wrote:
Kameronatm wrote:Is late march too early?


Late March will more than likely be way too early for a safe snow climb.


I usually look at May as the start of couloir season, though it depends on many factors.
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Scott P » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:47 am

Is late march too early?


It will be too early for many of them, but some of them are reasonable then.

For example, the Angel of Shavano is usually very reasonable in late March. In most years, March and April are probably the best months for that route. Some years, it's already melted out in May. Typically the central and southern Sawatch (i.e. the Angel of Shavano) couloirs are going to be in season much ealier than say the couloirs in the Elk Range or Northern Sawatch (i.e. Cross Couloir).

Many other routes might be good if you can hit them in perfect conditions. Perfect conditions for late March would be during a dry cold snap after a warm spell. Good luck on planning in advance for such conditions though. Sometimes during that time of year we've planned on doing ridge routes, but got lucky and when on the mountain have found the coulior routes in perfect conditions. It's hard to plan for such conditions though, so the couloir routes were actually improvised plan B's, rather than having been expected. You also have to know how to evaluate snow conditions.

The couloir season is often short. Early season brings avalanche danger and unconsolidated snow. Late season often brings rockfall, especially since couloirs act as funnels and concentrate rockfall right into the couloir.
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