Mt. Audubon  
Condition Updates  
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: Ptglhs
Info: Route is great right now. A couple small patches of snow but very minimal. No traction needed. No running water either. After the cairn at the saddle between Audubon and North the trail becomes harder to follow but eventually cairns and the path of least resistance lead you there. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-09-01, By: Mountain_hiker100
Info: Summer conditions. Getting a little later in the season, so the air at the top is starting to become cold. So don't go on a windy day. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-09-05, By: kingshimmers
Info: Posted this conditions report solely for the picture - the wildflowers are gone and the tundra is in full fall colors! 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-07-16, By: BROWNIE1037
Info: Started very early. The park currently accepts 80 % capacity only. The gates open at 6 AM and we were there at 6.05 AM MT and were about the 7th car in line. Once we got up front, they only had 4 more parking spaces available for the Audubon trailhead (there is another, easier trail that starts there). Weather was beautiful and we passed about 2 couples and then were alone on the trail. We started at 6.45 AM and summited about 8.30 AM. Spent some time up on the top to enjoy the view and the silence. Upon our decent, we saw a lot of people trying to hit up the summit (you can also hike into the park which ads about 6 m RT to your treck). We were back at the car at 10.45 AM. No snow on trail, everything super dry. Beautiful views of RMNP and Longs Peak. 
Route: SE Ridge
Posted On: 2020-06-29, By: nickle
Info: Climbed Audubon via the SE ridge, traversed to Paiute and then descended the Paiute/Toll saddle. Winter gate is still in place, scheduled to open on July 1st though. Almost all of the route is summer conditions until the Toll-Paiute saddle. Some snow fields but mostly avoidable. 'The Notch' on the SE ridge was 100% snow free on the climbing section. Where present, the snow was firm enough to not require flotation all the way until 10:30 when I made it past all the snow on the descent (it was a cloudy morning though). Nice glissade from the Toll-Paiute saddle, intermittent snow drifts all the way to Mitchell Lake. Photo 1: SE ridge of Audubon Photo 2: SE ridge of Audubon Photo 3: Paiute looking back on traverse from Audubon Photo 4: Brainard lake basin Photo 5: Snowfield from Toll-Paiute saddle 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-06-23, By: Kitten
Info: Basically summer conditions. A few patches of snow to cross below treeline. Summited Notabon (12,706) and Audubon via standard route. Pic 2 taken from Notabon summit 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-06-19, By: lbethel
Info: Trail is almost clear of snow. There are a few small piles of snow at the bottom. 2 short sections (approximately 100 feet) of snow just below treeline that can be crossed easily. No snow above treeline. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-06-07, By: cougar
Info: Brainard Lake road still closed at winter closure, lot is overflowing there. Toilets still closed throughout area. The road is dry, except for a short drift at the bridge by Brainard Lake, and a couple tiny drifts beyond. Great for bicycling to the trailheads. There's a lot of snow still in tbe trees that starts right about at the trailhead, typical for the area this time of year, but it's a solid bootpack and snow held firm enough through the day that I never postholed, but slipped a bit. Lots of ups and downs over huge drifts, normal this time of year, with water running between them. Switchbacks mostly dry. Summer conditions above treeline, especially past the Beaver Creek trail junction. Little to no wind today, mostly a gentle breeze, calm on the summit. Tons of people on the mountain and around the whole area. No need for any winter gear, although some of the climbing over drifts can be slippery steep and wet. The other peaks in the area along the divide have lots of snow still, along with the basins. That snow will be around with good coverage for a couple more weeks at least. Saw one skier who went down the couloir. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-05-25, By: oorg
Info: Road to the trailhead is still closed. Talked to one of the park officials in charge or reopening... said they were planning on opening July 1st. I started at 7am... wore hiking boots all the way to the trailhead (some snow on the road). Started post-holing all over the place, so ended up wearing snowshoes all the way to the peak. The route through the trees was pretty straight-forward. Plenty of existing tracks. Hardly needed any traction on the way down... snow was super sticky. I put on microspikes nonetheless. Minimal post-holing on the way down, though went up to my thigh maybe a dozen times. All in all, beautiful day! EDIT: Forgot to mention that the snow was rapidly melting. I was amazed how much had melted when I got back to the trailhead. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-04-23, By: TheAmateur
Info: Trench almost all the way to the first switchbacks to treeline, built mine up juuust to about 11,100 before I was too tired to countinue. Boots up to the end of the trench, snowshoes past that. 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-02-15, By: Scary_Canary
Info: Skinned up the road, you won't need any flotation til after mitchell lake TH, but they are required beyond that. No one has been up this way since the past couple big storms, after the TH there was nothing. I trenched out a path til close to treeline, going through the trees was fine. I hit a couple areas right before treeline where there were these huge drifts covering the "trail" that were bulletproof snow my skins/edges couldnt grab well. I forgot my ski crampons in the car, and didnt feel very comfortable going forward much more on my skis. Trench should be mostly there hopefully for a couple more days, atleast what the wind doesnt cover up. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-01-21, By: bangerth
Info: The road from the gate to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead is snowblown for the most part and consists of a thin layer of, by now, hardpacked snow, plus the occasional snow drift several feet high. Boots are all you need. From the trailhead, the next segment is through the trees to the bottom of the switchbacks. This segment now has a very nice trench. Someone tried to walk there yesterday with just boots and postholed every other step, but with snowshoes this is a pleasure. The trouble starts with the switchbacks. These are wind drifted and covered in deep snow/drifts. I've discovered trying Audubon three times over the past two months that all previous traces of hikers are always quickly erased and one has to find the way anew, or just go where one wants to go. This stretch is a LOT of work, steep uphill through deep snow. Once at the top of the steep part, the trail goes around the right side (east) of a little hill. This is the downwind side and so also covered in deep, often loose snow. The trail is also impossible to find or keep. We discovered on our way up that the easier way is to just go straight over the top of that hill after the steepness of the switchbacks: One ends up in windswept space faster this way, and from the top of the hill, it is easy walking towards the base of Notabon. An even easier way is to go LEFT (west) around the hill (discovered on the way down): Just above the tree line and in shrubland, the wind has compacted the deep snow there and its hard crust carries you 95% of the time, whereas the south slope of the hill still has loose snow. I'll try to add a rip report that explains this in more detail later. Above that hill, neither snowshoes nor microspikes are needed: just head straight for the base of Notabon and avoid the steep snowfields on the east basin of Audubon. It is possible to avoid almost all deeper snow in this stretch. Above the snowfields, angle left and up the ramp to Audubon's summit. Snow is mostly between the talus, cementing them in in most places. There are only a couple of smaller snowfields one either has to go around, rock hop, or spend 10 ft on snow. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-01-05, By: cougar
Info: Road from winter closure to Brainard Lake is thin packed snow. Trenched from there to summer trailhead by later in the day. We had to break trail through some tough snowdrifts in the trees, there was one old set of tracks. Trench is basically in now to treeline but doesn't always follow the trail. Snow thins out around treeline, a thin layer of fresh, didn't use snowshoes or traction beyond, but trail is hard to spot. We turned around at 12000 due to foot injury, but perfect weather with no wind most of the time. East slopes and upper trail filled with blocky giant cottage cheese sastrugi. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-01-08, By: B0ulderad0
Info: From winter TH to the Mitchell Lake TH parking lot the going is quick. Hardpack with sections of road still usable. From the upper TH, I could not find the trail to save my life. Just set a bearing and used my compass to blaze a trail up to treeline. Snowshoes mandatory through the forest. Once on the tundra, I stashed the snowshoes. The wind was brutal which seems to be common here. I attempted this in '16 and quit due to 60mph gusts and today was similar. Wind also so loud I nearly quit due to noise stress. But persevered and made it to summit. Traction not needed at any point. Some massive lion tracks had stalked my snow trench between my ascent and descent so be aware. 7 hours exactly to the top and 3:50 to return to car. Absolutley beautiful day and the only soul on the mountain. More pictures posted on my instagram @RealWorldEscapist Feel free to follow ;) 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2019-12-23, By: supranihilest
Info: From Brainard Gateway the road and snowshoe trails are nicely packed. The trail starting at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead up to treeline is also packed up to near treeline. From near treeline it's so windy that the tracks of any previous climbers were completely snowed over, and mine were lost by the time I descended. I stashed my snowshoes near the flats that make up the middle bulk of the mountain; they may have been useful past that point but were by no means necessary. The large snowfields that stripe the mountain are a mix of good, supportive snow and knee-to-waist deep punch crust. I started going directly up the east slopes and the poor snow consistency pushed me north into drier terrain. I climbed Mount Notabon before crossing over the saddle and up Mount Audubon since it was drier. The vast majority of the ascent from the flats can be done on tundra or rock hopping through the snowfields. There was only a tiny amount of mandatory time on snow, though there was a lot more snow closer to the summit. Descending the east slopes directly was a little tedious with the amount of poor quality snow. As mentioned by the time I returned to my snowshoes my tracks down to treeline had all but disappeared, so be aware of potential route finding challenges in the dark or a whiteout. Snowshoes were very helpful up through treeline, and I carried but did not use an ice axe and microspikes. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2019-10-14, By: shapovalovm
Info: Started at around 8:30am, plenty of parking at Mitchell Lake Trailhead. The trail has some fresh snow, but I assume most of it will melt soon at lower elevations. There are a few deeper (up to 1 foot) snow patches on the trail, but nothing serious. No ice yet. Overall, no extra navigation skills, crampons, microspikes, ice axe required. The wind was strong above the treeline. Stay warm! By the time I returned to the trailhead (around 1pm) the parking was almost full. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2019-07-26, By: SnowJunkie
Info: Trail is clear up to Audubon. I did the traverse over to the Paiute/Toll saddle and it's melted out as well. I needed an ice axe and microspikes for the descent down the large and numerous snowfields below the saddle to Blue Lake. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2019-07-08, By: bkcheck
Info: Mitchell Lake TH is still not open so I started from the day use area. The ranger at the entry station said they are hopeful (but not sure) that trailhead access will open this week. Route up Audubon is almost entirely melted out except for a small snowfield around 12'5 and some drifts hanging out below treeline. No traction needed. Made the traverse to Paiute as well, which was also almost completely melted out besides a couple small snow patches. Did not need traction or my axe for the traverse. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2019-06-30, By: LoveThisSite
Info: Parking at Brainard Lake - road to Mitchell Lake is not open. We carried microspikes, snowshoes, and an ice axe (planning the traverse to Paiute) but did not use any of them. It was a very windy day, cold at the summit. The traverse to Paiute looked a bit sketchy - there's still a cornice on the ridge, and what looked like a steep snowfield to cross, on the face of Paiute. Given the wind and the above observations, we decided to not attempt Paiute. A couple of nice glissades to be had on the way down. That area is spectacular! Get there early to find parking. 
Route: Audubon/Blue Lake
Posted On: 2019-06-28, By: Piotr
Info: Went up Audubon on regular trail, came down to Blue Lake via colouir from Audubon-Paiute saddle. Both Audubon and Blue Lake trails through the trees really bad - it was 55F at 6am today, both trails were posthole city until treeline. Above treeline the Audubon trail is mostly dry, while Blue Lake trail is all snow covered. Colouir very loose and wet at 11am - right side more solid as it stays in the shade longer. 

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