South RidgePosted On:
2011-06-14, By: PapillonInfo:
We encountered snow around 11,300 feet. It was continuous all the way to the top of the couloir with the exception of one short, steep, and nasty dirt hill about 1/4 of a mile from the lake. This is where the summer trail switchbacks up through a rock field. The snow was firm in the morning, allowing for quick travel without flotation. Once atop the couloir, you still have about 500 feet of Elk talus to contend with. There is a faint trail to follow along with intermittent cairns and some nominal snow fields. A fall on the snowy sections would not be catastrophic as there is a talus bench at the bottom of the runout (maybe 50 feet below).
My biggest concern was encountering a wallowfest on the way back to the trailhead. Despite all of the snow and the warm temps, we were able to make it back to dry ground without using flotation.
Image #1: The dirt hill.
Image #2: Looking down.
Image #3: The remaining 500 feet.
Image #4: Overview of the route.