Peak:  American Peak (13er)
 Route:  Independence/Patriot
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  Tim A
 Date of Info:  05/21/2020
 Date Posted:  05/22/2020
Details

All four couloirs on American's north face are still in. The gate closure at Grizzly Gulch adds 1000' and 8 miles of easy road walking.

Given the overnight forecast of 19F (confirmed with car thermometer at 3am), we started later than would normally and made the base of Independence at 10am. A-basin still 80% snow but firm in the morning after a solid freeze.

Couloir conditions were variable but mostly soft and great for kicking steps. The east side of it (climbers left) stays shaded into late morning. The rotten rock towers over the couloir dump rocks as it warms up.

Ate lunch on the ridge, then scrambled over to Patriot couloir for descent. The rock is very lose on the south side of the peak. Given how soft Patriot was at 12pm, we opted to skip the scramble up to the summit and glissaded down Patriot in very soft snow.

Basin included much postholing on the exit after 1pm (we didn't want to carry snowshoes up and down 8 miles of dry road). Given a weaker freeze I would have moved everything up 2-3 hours to be out by 11am.

Will go back up for the summit after the gate opens if anyone is interested in tagging a bi-cent.



Photos (click for slideshow):
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