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Good First Snow climb???

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

Postby ed20320 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:56 pm

look at the dead dog couloir on Torres Peak. its straight forward, has a good approach, you can do it in the dead of winter if the avi probability is low and you can camp in the parking lot at the trailhead.

just a thought
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby jmc5040 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:06 pm

ed20320 wrote:look at the dead dog couloir on Torres Peak. its straight forward, has a good approach, you can do it in the dead of winter if the avi probability is low and you can camp in the parking lot at the trailhead.

just a thought

I agree, Torreys Dead Dog Couloir is a good snow climb and very popular in the spring to ski as well. Doing it in the winter can be done as well, given the conditions and your experience, but don't merely rely on the avalanche forecast in your decision process of whether it is safe or not. As the prior post states, "probability" takes into account information gathered by you real time on the mountain.
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Gueza » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:18 pm

Take an AIARE avy 1 course and buy Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain. Be careful about generalizations on snow stability based on the time of the year, they don't always hold true. Just because it's spring doesn't always mean the snow is stable and just because it's winter doesn't always mean the snow is going to slide and kill you. While in most snow years its safe to say spring has more days with stable snow than winter, there are still exceptional periods of instability or stability that can arise from weather and other factors. That being said conditions are generally much more tricky in the winter than in the spring, generally. Ditto on what JMC said about not relying on just an avy forecast as a primary means for your go or no go decision. With stable conditions, Castle's North face would be a good one as well as all the others mentioned above.
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby climbingaggie03 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:37 pm

I've always thought the keyhole route on longs would be nice in winter, though I've never made it up there. I did Cristo Couloir last spring and it was nice, though I don't know what kind of shape it'll be in march.

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Carl » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:23 pm

ed20320 wrote:look at the dead dog couloir on Torres Peak. its straight forward, has a good approach, you can do it in the dead of winter if the avi probability is low and you can camp in the parking lot at the trailhead.


4,600 vert, 13 miles, and a route that leads through numerous avy paths that have proved fatal in recent years doesn't strike me as a good first snow climb recommendation. It's nice you've qualified it with an "if avy danger is low," but its a rarity in winter that the rose is reading low across all elevations and aspects that this route crosses.

edit to add... Torres, in Chili, is also probably not a good first snow climb
Last edited by Carl on Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby smoove » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:25 pm

Carl wrote:
ed20320 wrote:look at the dead dog couloir on Torres Peak. its straight forward, has a good approach, you can do it in the dead of winter if the avi probability is low and you can camp in the parking lot at the trailhead.


4,600 vert, 13 miles, and a route that leads through numerous avy paths that have proved fatal in recent years doesn't strike me as a good first snow climb recommendation. It's nice you've qualified it with an "if avy danger is low," but its a rarity in winter that the rose is reading low across all elevations and aspects that this route crosses.


I was waiting for someone to say that. Far from ideal for a first snow climb!

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Double Oh Seven » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:38 pm

This was my first summer for snowclimbing

North Face of Castle was my first snow climb

Queens Way on Apache was my second

Both of these would be good options

Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby Bean 2 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:54 am

Carl wrote:
ed20320 wrote:look at the dead dog couloir on Torres Peak. its straight forward, has a good approach, you can do it in the dead of winter if the avi probability is low and you can camp in the parking lot at the trailhead.


4,600 vert, 13 miles, and a route that leads through numerous avy paths that have proved fatal in recent years doesn't strike me as a good first snow climb recommendation. It's nice you've qualified it with an "if avy danger is low," but its a rarity in winter that the rose is reading low across all elevations and aspects that this route crosses.

edit to add... Torres, in Chili, is also probably not a good first snow climb


Carl could not have been more unequivocally correct in his statements. While walking downhill certainly does suck, climbing or skiing Dead Dog as a first snow climb is ill advised.
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby jblyth » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:13 pm

Take a look at Dave Cooper's "Colorado Snow Climbs." Has some great options for the entire season, but be sure to know conditions on any route before you head up.

Snow climbing is my favorite, you'll sometimes have the entire mountain to yourself. Have fun!

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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby jmc5040 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:32 pm

jblyth17 wrote:Take a look at Dave Cooper's "Colorado Snow Climbs." Has some great options for the entire season, but be sure to know conditions on any route before you head up.

Snow climbing is my favorite, you'll sometimes have the entire mountain to yourself. Have fun!

Does this book offer any detail or ski descents along with outlined climbs or is it primarily focused on climbing? I may need to check this out as it looks like it has some good information. I do have a few books focused more on the skiing aspect in the CO mountains, but it's always good to gather additional and new info from a different perspective. Thanks
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Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby jblyth » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:47 pm

jmc5040 wrote:
jblyth17 wrote:Take a look at Dave Cooper's "Colorado Snow Climbs." Has some great options for the entire season, but be sure to know conditions on any route before you head up.

Snow climbing is my favorite, you'll sometimes have the entire mountain to yourself. Have fun!

Does this book offer any detail or ski descents along with outlined climbs or is it primarily focused on climbing? I may need to check this out as it looks like it has some good information. I do have a few books focused more on the skiing aspect in the CO mountains, but it's always good to gather additional and new info from a different perspective. Thanks


It is mostly focused on climbing. Lou Dawson has some greats books on skiing 14ers....

Re: Good First Snow climb???

Postby mtnfiend » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:07 pm

jmc5040 wrote:
jblyth17 wrote:Does this book offer any detail or ski descents along with outlined climbs or is it primarily focused on climbing? I may need to check this out as it looks like it has some good information. I do have a few books focused more on the skiing aspect in the CO mountains, but it's always good to gather additional and new info from a different perspective. Thanks


It is mostly focused on climbing. Lou Dawson has some greats books on skiing 14ers....


Yup, no skiing in cooper's book, but take some time and think about it.....a little creativity will take you a long way!!
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