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2009/2010 Colorado Ice Conditions
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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Dec 11, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Was out at Jaws today...definitely a little early for this route as it was pouring water and one of the partially formed WI5 pillars had collapsed, leaving a heap of debris in the approach gulley- plenty to kill a few climbers. It was possible to climb up the left side of the flow but only enough room for one party willing to take the risk. I'd recommend leaving it for a few more cold weeks to fully form and freeze. There's plenty of winter left!

The snowpack is shit at the moment following the hurricane winds of the last week. Large propagating fractures (30') were occuring yesterday on lower angle slopes and boot penetration was to the ground- almost a meter in spots. Likely need at least another meter of snow to make skiing worthwhile and I'd avoid any south-facing ice this weekend or avalanche prone terrain as the danger from warm ice falling (Jaws) or large slab avalanches (above and below the Crypt) seems to great to be worth it...be smart, and let conditions come around to the positive side of the equation!

NE gully would be good, Hidden Falls, or the ice around the Guide's Wall could be worth the hike.

I'll be doing a web update sometime this weekend but that is the current summary.


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By acouncell
From Estes Park, CO
Dec 11, 2009

"Hidden Falls" is very much worth the hike, lots of ice up there; it's been in for quite some time by the looks of it but isn't as hacked up as it often is. I'm sure that won't last long...

And I want to echo what Eli says about S-facing routes, especially "Jaws." When we climbed it a few days ago, the temps were in the single digits, the sky overcast, and still water was running. Clear, sunny days are best spent elsewhere. Have fun out there!


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By Chris Sheridan
From Boulder, CO
Dec 12, 2009
Chris setting up the rappel in the Southeast Gully of Arrowhead.  If anyone cleans that stopper and pin, I'd be glad to have it back.

Well, despite Eli's very good advice (I'm only just now seeing it), we had a good day at Jaws today. The colder weather and cloud cover keep things acceptably below freezing. The route is in good shape with a great 4- line on the left, a harder variation up a pillar just to the right of that, and a great hard line on the far right side.

Stay well away from this thing if its at all warm or sunny. The refrigerator sized chunks at the base were pretty scary looking, and there's more still up there where those came from.

Thanks to the great folks who shared the route with us.


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By Wes B.
Dec 14, 2009
Profile Photo

Jewel Lake conditions 12/13/2009.
Jewel Lake conditions 12/13/2009.


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By Jim Amidon
Dec 14, 2009
What ??

Jewel Lake................

LOLOLOLLLLLLLLLLL

Just for fun we hiked in there on the 5th with packs loaded to climb but didn't expect to.

When we got to the base at 9 am there were already 6 people there,

We walked down slope to be in the sun, and watched 6 more people walk to the base.......

12 people for 30' of ice.......

We walked out......

Going to Cody this coming weekend and we know we'll only have competition from the sheep......


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 14, 2009
smiley face

Vail is in pretty good shape; just watch out for the nordic nazis; they are taking over the pumphouse parking; to bad Willig wasn't there, we coulda had a little bit o fun; just a little bit

no sheep were seen, sorry

Ice Climber: "Hey, how's it going, good day?"

Nordic Skier: "AH, Police -- HELP!! It's breathing my air!!!


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Dec 14, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

No doubt Jimbo, Jewel is pretty freakin funny- longest hike for the shortest bit of ice around...plus you can get fully 'institutionalized' between the CMS and CMC crowds that tend to hang there.

I've got a bigger flow on my property that I rarely make the 2 minute walk to.. Stop by if you just want to hit some ice for fun and with such a short approach you can drag the cooler over to keep the beer from freezing!

Big Thompson is IN and with only a twenty minute approach certainly a better alternative to Jewel, but then again with 4-6 folks you've already got a crowd..

Jim, you better stop talking about how good Cody is or it might start to get crowded, if that's possible?


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By Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Dec 14, 2009
Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing shoes.


Ice Climber: "Hey, how's it going, good day?"
Nordic Skier: "AH, Police -- HELP!! It's breathing my air!!!

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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By Chris Sheridan
From Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2009
Chris setting up the rappel in the Southeast Gully of Arrowhead.  If anyone cleans that stopper and pin, I'd be glad to have it back.

I've started parking at the Booth Creek trailhead whenever I climb in the Designator Amphitheater. It seems to be about the same distance of a walk, has more ample parking, and strikes me as a much more kosher parking place in general.

Its sad to see many of the nordic skiers acting like they own the place, but the reality is many of them do. If things escalate into a fight, ice climbers will likely loose.


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 14, 2009
smiley face

I think if I dressed up as Shrek, it could help effect relations


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By Jason Killgore
From boulder, co
Dec 14, 2009

was out at Vail for my first time saturday, and had the opposite interaction with nordic skiers. All were very friendly, waving/saying hello. We did our best to stay off their track.


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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2009
How I Send

Maybe it's just Buff that the nords don't like - I have always been friendly and respectful (not trampling their track and sneaking thru back yards) and have had positive results.

Last season one of the nords who was wearing tight spandex (musta been a pro) complimented me on being courteous and not trampling their tracks - so it's definitely personal Buff!


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 14, 2009
smiley face

The coolest part is when they scowl at me for being on a certain foot bridge.


Honestly, if they would just put one sign in the parking lot explaining the ROW situation & maybe some mapping instead of 20 some-odd hand crafted flyers pegging out ice climbers with access threats; it might be a better idea.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Dec 14, 2009
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Buff, you're probably just not dressed right for good relations... do your clothes have duct tape on them? Are you wearing camo? Do you have facial hair? If these aren't the issues, maybe it's just the vibe you're putting out:)


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By Buff Johnson
Dec 14, 2009
smiley face

I was wearing Arcterix & Black Diamond, I swear!!

Wait a minute.. Maybe the stuff is too expensive, this isn't Aspen after all now is it?


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By J Walton
From Jacksonville, NC
Dec 14, 2009
 Secret Probation - Vail, CO

Booth Creek parking...It's a much more pleasant walk anyhow.
I'm extremely jealeous! I'm stuck on a project in Texas for the winter!@#?


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
Dec 15, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Eli Helmuth wrote:
Are you wearing camo? Do you have facial hair?

BWAAAHAHAHAHA! Has to be one of the funniest things I've read in several days!


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By Chris Sheridan
From Boulder, CO
Dec 15, 2009
Chris setting up the rappel in the Southeast Gully of Arrowhead.  If anyone cleans that stopper and pin, I'd be glad to have it back.

Not to hijack the thread or anything, but does anyone know how Bridalvail is doing?


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By Dougald MacDonald
Dec 16, 2009

Vince Anderson has started up his ice conditions again at skywardmountaineering.com. He says: "The Ames Ice Hose is in good shape, though is not easy. Bridalveil is not quite “in” yet."


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By Matt Shepard
From Broomfield, CO
Dec 16, 2009
Longs Peak Cirque

Anyone have any recent conditon beta on Stoneman?


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By acouncell
From Estes Park, CO
Dec 16, 2009

Matt Shepard wrote:
Anyone have any recent conditon beta on Stoneman?


I'm assuming you're talking about "Stoneman" that's above Black Lake? I was on Longs this weekend, via Black Lake and the Trough, and despite low visibility was able to make it out. It looks a bit thinner/narrower than it was earlier this season but is still there. A couple parties were headed up there Saturday to climb it but I'm not sure if they did or not. I climbed it about a month ago and it was in great shape, wide, huge, solid.

There was still not a ton of snow above it but the winds really moved snow around yesterday; it is an area known for its avalanche potential...


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By mike bromberg
From Crested Butte, CO
Dec 16, 2009

Made it down to the Lake City Ice park yesterday 12/15. Pics can be found here.

Also heard from locals that the upper (Ute Ulay Mine) park is climbable... The water was on when we arrived, but as usual the folks were kind enough to turn off the hoses so we could climb for the day.

mb


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By jack roberts
Dec 16, 2009

Just in case anyone is interested there is ice on the Third Flatiron.

There is ice on the East Face, Regular route and there is also scattered ice to the left of the regular rt. It probably won't last long in the current warm temp conditions but it might also serve as a conduit if we get some snow in the next day or two.


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By ErikJohnson
From Fort Colllins
Dec 16, 2009

Does anyone know if there is climbable ice in the Big Thomson Canyon?


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Dec 16, 2009
OMG, I winz!!!

jack roberts wrote:
Just in case anyone is interested there is ice on the Third Flatiron. There is ice on the East Face, Regular route and there is also scattered ice to the left of the regular rt. It probably won't last long in the current warm temp conditions but it might also serve as a conduit if we get some snow in the next day or two.


Jack did you get a good look at the first flatiron? There is a white line in that gulley but I haven't been able to get over there since the bigger snow and the ice definitely wasn't there then.


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