Sayres Benchmark  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: from Sayres Gulch road
Posted On: 2020-08-03, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: If you're a biker, bring your bike! This road is in great shape, and would be driveable in a sedan if it weren't for the trees starting to grow in the center of it (and the gate). This road goes almost all the way to the summit of UN13,460, and is impressively not rocky, just a bit gravelly, and overall pretty pleasant. I'm not a biker, but I kept thinking to myself the whole way up and down how bikeable it is. You'd probably have to dismount a total of 5 times one way due to a couple downed trees and some thicker willows, but that's it. I'm really surprised someone hasn't put up a report of biking this one. It's not on private property, it's not in a wilderness area, it's yours for the taking. Please do it! I took the road to the summit of UN13,460 (there are two 13ers listed on this site with an elevation of 13,460, but they have no accompanying letters, and their elevations on the topo map differ), took the ridge over to Sayres, then descended to the road and sidehilled on a faint use trail to avoid elevation gain. When not on the road or grass, everything is chossy. Not terribly fun, but he views are spectacular. Definitely coming back for this one in winter because the views are worth it, and its North face looks spectacular. Worth doing in summer though, I'm surprised more people don't. edit: I am, a day later, realising that I did not summit 13,460 and I am quite upset about it. Didn't do my research well enough I guess. The top of the road is 13,430, and 13,460 is the peak just north of that. Don't make my mistake inaccidentally orphaning this tricentennial... 
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Route: North face east couloir
Posted On: 2020-06-16, By: HikerGuy
Info: Grand Central looks like it has been out for a couple of weeks. X-Rated could probably still be climbed, but it has melted out in two short sections about halfway up. I decided on the east couloir which was still continuous from its apron to the ridge. Turned out to be a nice climb, approximately 930 feet. On the approach, follow the WEST side of the creek up La Plata gulch, stay just high enough to remain out of the willows. There is a good log to cross the creek right after leaving the La Plata Peak trail. A bit of avalanche debris to navigate at the start, but not that bad, much easier than I expected. Ridge over neighboring 13ers is clear and the descent from 13,300 is not bad either. 
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Route: Road up, ridge down
Posted On: 2020-06-12, By: WildWanderer
Info: Mostly snow free. No traction needed early in the morning just below summit, but spikes would most likely be helpful in the afternoon. The water in the creek crossing never went past my knees. Took the ridge to 13,460. All clear. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-26, By: soybean56
Info: Grand Central and X-rated both are in good condition for climbing. Great snow on the edges of each. The middle of Grand Central did get a little soft, but nothing bad. Go get 'em! Image 1 shows X-rated on left and Grand Central on right about 1/3 way up coulior. Image 4 is an image of the finish of Grand Central. Also, the GTX file and some of the reports discuss crossing to the west side of the creek on the way up. There are remnants of a trail along the east side of the creek the entire length up the valley. I found that easier to descend than my ascent up the east side of the creek. 
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Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-25, By: Grover
Info: A view of Sayres Benchmark from the summit of Bull Hill. 
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Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-22, By: supranihilest
Info: X-Rated is IN, go get it! La Plata Trail is mostly dry with some patchy snow, should be frozen in the morning. I left the trail at almost exactly 11,000 feet and bushwhacked up La Plata Gulch. It was not as bad as expected. Sayres stares you down for a long while. As I got close I could simply walk on the snow in the drainage instead of willowbash. Crampons and at least one axe are 100% mandatory, this thing is steep and unrelenting. Snow was super firm and a bit icy on the surface today, which sometimes meant a few kicks to make a step, sometimes it just took one. There's a semi-exposed rock band about a third of the way up that was pretty hair-raising though fortunately the rock was pretty good quality. A second easier rock band comes shortly after. I dodged the large boulder near the top by going right, then left to the summit ridge where the angle finally drops off after about 1,800 solid feet of climbing! Awesome! There's a cornice but it seemed small and stable. I would say skiing is possibly out already with the exposed rock, but perhaps not. I did not descend the couloir, instead going to Point 13,460, so I cannot speak to down climbing conditions, but you'd probably be facing in most of the time. Grand Central looked great as well. 
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Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-17, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: We climbed Grand Central Couloir and skied X-Rated Couloir. Snow was continuous from the top by skiing 100' east off the summit before dropping left from the edge of a cornice to enter the top of the couloir. The top was powder then it turned to corn and creamy at the bottom. The choke in the steep section was getting thin but we were able to ski between the rocks. Skied all the way back to the La Plata trail at 11,100' and post-holed back to our shoes at 10,900'. A painful ending but worth it. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-17, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Grand Central still has a lot of snow and now it has a good boot staircase to the top. Snow on the La Plata trail starts at about 10,500' and is soft in the afternoon. Once to 11,100', where the you leave the La Plata trail for Sayres, the snow is continuous to the to of Grand Central. Then it's 100' of rock/dirt to reach the summit. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-25, By: Tim A
Info: Come prepared for a long day on this one. The willow-bashing was for miles on the approach. Stay on the La Plata trail as long as possible, leaving to parallel the stream only when the trail turns climbers left (east). Even doing that, don't expect to find many game trails through the willows on the approach. Carried snowshoes to the apron of the couloirs but never wore them all day. There were some unavoidable snow fields but even on the exit at 1130am-ish postholing wasn't terrible (overnight low was listed at 30, TH temp was 35 at 245am) Grand Central and X-rated are both still in and full. Top of grand central, exit far left side of the couloir to get around the big cornice. Snow conditions varied from bulletproof near the top to styrafoam on the lower half (from 8-10am). At 1030, the upper 50 feet of the couloir was still very hard, but after downclimbing that it made for a stellar glissade to the apron. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-24, By: Cereal
Info: Ascended Grand Central and descended Grand Central. Coverage was still very good and continuous on both Grand Central and X-Rated! (More snow than in Photo #8 of the Route Description…) Between departure from the La Plata Trail and the base of the couloir, snowshoes were essential for traversing through/across/atop the snow-covered willows. This took a long time.... Today (temps ~20F and very cloudy), the last ~100 feet of the couloir was very hard and required a solid effort to kick steps in with the crampons. The far left of the couloir is certainly passable, after which I removed crampons for (what I didn't realize was) a very short walk up to the summit. I wish I'd left the crampons on, because I had to put them back on in order to downclimb the top 100 feet of the couloir, before transitioning to a safe glissade the rest of the way. The approach/return through La Plata Gulch, despite its willowyness, is very pretty and pleasant, particularly during today's return when the sun finally appeared and treated me to excellent views of the high peaks north of 82. Edit: Added one photo. You may see why I decided to go Grand Central rather than X-Rated.... I wanted a safer quick bailout in case the weather turned from just gross to actually bad. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-03, By: Tornadoman
Info: Grand Central Couloir in good shape with a nice boot track most of the way. A large cornice remains at the top, which we snuck under to the left (this was the toughest part of the couloir as the snow was hard packed/no booter). We ran the ridge to UN 13,460 and 13,300 which required off and on crampons/axe and also some dry rock work. Snow was an unsupportive mess below treeline on the descent. 
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Route: X Rated couloir
Posted On: 2019-05-20, By: hett
Info: Climbed x rated, descended grand central. Great snow coverage and a hard overnight freeze made for a great snow climb. The cornice is massive, can be easily escaped left through a smaller cornice. Entering grand central skiers R avoids that cornice. Enough postholing on the way out to last a lifetime. 
 
Route: x-rated
Posted On: 2017-04-08, By: rangercarl
Info: Skied the x-rated couloir in great snow. Coverage is good from the La Plata lot. We skied off the top and all the way back to the car. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2016-06-19, By: Grover
Info: The Grand Central Couloir is broken into two segments now, at the point where it turns left. Not worth riding/skiing any longer. 
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Route: X-Rated
Posted On: 2016-05-16, By: adrenalated
Info: Coverage is good in both X-Rated and Grand Central. X-Rated is skiable directly off the summit with a quick sideslip, then a few moderate moves through rocks in the choke. Not quite an isothermal spring snowpack yet, so evaluate conditions carefully before you commit to the line (climbing or descending). 
 
Route: grand coloiur
Posted On: 2016-05-06, By: kevintheclimber
Info: Awesome ski. We ascended and skiied down the grand. the sayres look filled in. climbing up, we postholed up to knees all way to the summit. made some sick turns, but when we came down at basin, saw Avy coming down the x rated. I would wait and let snow settle a bit first before committing this line. 
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Route: North Couloirs
Posted On: 2016-04-14, By: aholle88
Info: Trail is packed down up to the turn off at 10.8k. Microspikes optional to this point. Turn right here at 10.8, the "trench" will take you into the basin. Be prepared for posthole misery from here until the end of the trees if you are on snowshoes. The "trench" is a whole bunch of knee to thigh deep postholes, so don't expect it to be cruiser. It was supportive enough for skinning without any issues, so if you have an AT setup, use it. X-rated is not completely filled in, there are rocks in the section that is hidden from view in Photo 1. On the ascent line we took, there was a mixed section at the top of the first couloir and at the finish to the summit. Grand Central is filled in. The slide activity is all from very small point releases, east aspects, and most from the rocks. It may look bad, but it was just a cumulation of a ton of small releases that did not pose a threat on this day. (this information will likely be completely useless after this weekend's storm) 
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Route: Grand Central and X Rated
Posted On: 2015-06-09, By: SnowAlien
Info: Remnants of recent past slides are huge (likely last week). Grand Central, our ascent route has ran from top to bottom and is basically unskiable (fine for climbing though). Most branches of X Rated ran as well, with only limited "real estate " still left for skiing. Not all cornices "went" yet so it's still a hazard. Peak makes for interesting terrain reading and navigational challenges. Do not attempt without solid overnight freeze and start early as approach has east facing component and face gets an early sun. 
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Route: North Face Couloirs
Posted On: 2015-04-12, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Climbed and skied Grand Central couloir on Sayres using the standard approach on La Plata Peak and then continuing south up La Plata Gulch. The La Plata trail is snow-covered and we booted the 1st 1.9 miles until we reached flats and open terrain of La Plata Gulch. The upper gulch had mostly-deep, firm snow which allowed us to skin from 11,000' to the base of Sayres' north face. Grand Central has continuous snow to the summit but X-Rated Couloir has very thin sections which would make it an ugly climb/ski. We skied SW off the summit and down Grand Central, which had varying conditions, including breakable crust, chalky, firm sections, a bit of shallow powder and some corn down low. We started the ski after 1pm but winds and cool temps kept the north face from softening. Skied all the way back to 11k and booted down the La Plata trail. 
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