Mt. Audubon  
Condition Updates  
Route: From Mitchell Lake TH
Posted On: 2021-04-04, By: WildWanderer
Info: Parked at the winter closure. Snow started at gate. Route was nicely packed down until Mitchell Lake Trailhead, and from then on it was a trashy trench: lots of postholing but the trail will get you to the ridge. There the trail stops. I went up the west side of the mountian to the summit. Heaviest snow was from the TH to treeline. Ridge was mostly windblown but snow was unavoidable in places. Summit was dry and very windy. I wore microspikes the entire day because I started early, snowshoes would be needed if you started or finished later in the day. The trench needs a good packing down, so if you're inclined, bring snowshoes and use them on your way down to solidify the trench. I didn't see anyone else on the trail today. 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2021-04-04, By: supranihilest
Info: We booted from the trailhead to approximately Mitchell Lake, then wore snowshoes through the deep snow to treeline, where things dried out significantly. At that point we carried our snowshoes and just booted to the summit in a more or less direct line, since the trail was buried in snow. We continued on the traverse to Paiute, and on the return from Paiute the snow from Mitchell Lake to the trailhead was wet and sloppy but mostly packed on the road. Traction and an ice axe are not necessary, flotation is very nice but might also not be necessary, just be ready to wallow without it. 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2021-03-05, By: Cereal
Info: (See separate Trailhead Status for Mitchell Lakes.) Great conditions for a winter summit. Not nearly as much snow as anticipated after the forecast for Thursday. Two of us wore snowshoes from car to summit to car. For the road from the winter lot to the Mitchell Lakes TH, snowshoes seemed necessary this morning, but they were not needed in the afternoon. (Yes, we kept snowshoes on anyway. Many folks were hiking the road just fine in bare boots.) From the Mitchell Lakes TH to timberline, snowshoes were definitely needed today. We renewed an existing trench, although a couple times we lost it and then found it again. The worst it got was maybe 5 inches deep, aside from about 30 steps of mid-shin deep here and there. From timberline to summit, you might be able to bare-boot it and rock-hop if you want, but we found it easiest to keep snowshoes on and aim for the snowier parts of the slope. I will try to upload a few photos. 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2021-02-01, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Road to Brainard Lake from the winter closure is packed snow or dry in places. Easy routefinding to Mitchell Lake TH, bring a GPS if fresh snow. We followed someone's tracks up the Audubon trail, easy bootpack until the switchbacks. We then had a hell of an effort getting up the headwall (switchbacks in summer, trail buried) and then stumbling through knee-deep drifts above that. Turned around at about 11,300 because we were behind schedule and having no fun. Bring snowshoes, basically. Ridge looked dry from what we could see through the trees. 
Route: North slope
Posted On: 2021-01-01, By: dolfh
Info: The Brainard Lake rd is closed 2 mi in from HWY 72 making the hike 14 miles RT. Excellent bootpack to Brainard lake. Decent trench from Mitchell lake TH to switchbacks. Some deep drifts near treeline. Deep snow is avoidable above treeline. 
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Route: North slope
Posted On: 2020-12-25, By: Tornadoman
Info: My partner and I started putting in a trench on Audubon this morning. A few other people came along (at least 6 in total), and there is now a good trench to treeline, but snowshoes are still needed imo. It should be good until the next storm. In the area around treeline it's a bit messy (dry spots and a few deep drifts). Above treeline it's pretty dry and snowshoes are not needed. The last pitch to the summit is covered by a coating of snow and rime ice but wasn't steep enough for us to bother with traction. From winter closure this is a 14 mile day. 
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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! 
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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 
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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. 
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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: 2020-01-21, 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. 
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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 ;) 
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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. 

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