Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

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CaptCO
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Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by CaptCO » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:40 pm

Does anyone know the current situation/snowpack on the approach to Kelso ridge? Thank you
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by supranihilest » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:28 pm

I don't currently, but if you go stay away from Kelso Mountain's south slopes. Also note that there are portions of Kelso Ridge itself which can slide, including spots on the bottom third to half, the area around Dead Dog couloir to the summit, and any gullies (if you're stupid enough to climb up them like I was a couple of times). The lower angle middle section is often windblown but be cautious nonetheless. Personally, having gridded Kelso Ridge, I'd stay away from it right now but that's me. Stay safe out there, Alec.
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by CaptCO » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:49 pm

Thanks a bunch, I’ll hold off. More snowboarding I guess
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by TomPierce » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:20 am

Hey Alec,

I have no current beta for Kelso Ridge, haven't been up there this season. But I have a lot of experience in the area, it's a winter training ground for me (e.g. winter quadrathlon, etc.) and I'll slog up there a few times each winter just for a workout. Alas, I'm one of the Old Guys (another thread...), I've been doing that for many years.

You might be able to pull this off safely, but as you know this is just one of those bad slide years we get every so often. There is one section on the ridge that is difficult to avoid and which can load up, it's about halfway up the ridge, near dead center. You can skirt far left but you'd run the risk of collapsing a cornice (I did that once and set off a pretty big slide there years ago). Other than that section the ridge should be OK, but of course you have the descent. I'd recommend downclimbing the 3rd class ridge of Grays, to descending climber's right. That's pretty bulletproof and drops you into safe terrain.

And fwiw, for the valley approach take the frozen streambed, starting right at the TH parking lot bridge, then contouring right up to the Grays/Kelso junction. That will steer you well clear of slides coming off Kelso (I saw the aftermath of a monster slide there, the debris was way taller than a person, fwiw). But keep an eye to climber's left for the chutes off Edwards' ridge; never seen those slide but maybe? Finally, move fast through the slide path just below the miner's "hotel" on the Gulch Road. Short section, but I've seen two slides over the last 20 years that crested that road and snapped trees on the far side like twigs. Impressive & sobering.

All that said, this probably isn't the best time/year for that route, several people have died in that area in slides. Just passing on some opinions & what I've seen. Be careful out there!

OK, Old Guy signing off, back to sipping Ensure in my Lazy Boy and polishing my dentures... :lol:

-Tom
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by CaptCO » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:01 pm

Tom, us “young guys” dream to be as capable as some of you “old guys”. Thanks for the tip, I saw gnarly slide evidence when I did grays several nights ago.
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by TomPierce » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:57 pm

Wow, actually looks pretty dry/wind blasted. You can see that descent ridge I mentioned just left of center in pic #2, fwiw.

Ha, ha..."old guy." I'm actually climbing more interesting stuff now than I did years ago, just finalized some details yesterday for 5th class overnight trips in both March & April. Thank goodness Black Diamond came out with a carbon fiber walking cane so I can hobble up the trails... :lol:

Be safe out there!

-Tom
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by SkaredShtles » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:15 pm

Jeezus... the snow situation up there looks horrible. :(
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by jmanner » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:17 pm

I’ve done G and T the last three winters with a buddy, on skis mostly, and that is worse than any January or December I’ve seen.
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by Jon Frohlich » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:48 pm

SkaredShtles wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:15 pm
Jeezus... the snow situation up there looks horrible. :(
Yeah, that looks awful. We're in danger of another horrible fire season right now.
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by jmanner » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:24 am

Jon Frohlich wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:48 pm
SkaredShtles wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:15 pm
Jeezus... the snow situation up there looks horrible. :(
Yeah, that looks awful. We're in danger of another horrible fire season right now.
Which is pretty terrifying to think about, flying over RMNP it’s super depressing how much of the forest was burned. Of course I’m sure a lot of that was beetlekill... well all be old before the Aspen recolonize, if they can with a hotter drier climate
A man has got to know his limitations.-Dr. Jonathan Hemlock or Harry Callahan or something F' it: http://youtu.be/lpzqQst-Sg8

'Life is too short to ski groomers'

"That man's only desire was to stand, once only, on the summit of that glorious wedge of rock...I think anyone who loves the mountains as much as that can claim to be a mountaineer, too."-Hermann Buhl, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by prairiechicken » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:37 pm

Jon Frohlich wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:48 pm
SkaredShtles wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:15 pm
Jeezus... the snow situation up there looks horrible. :(
Yeah, that looks awful. We're in danger of another horrible fire season right now.
It's not so bad below treeline in RMNP.
The issue that caused last year's terrible fire season was not the snowpack, but the fact that there was almost zero precipitation between June and October, with the exception of the early September snowstorm.
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Re: Kelso Ridge Avy Risk

Post by ScottLovesRMNP » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:47 pm

Exactly, there was no monsoon season in 2020. You could sleep in any day you wanted and hike in the afternoon just about anywhere......the dry, warm summer was largely to blame for the problems in October.
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