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2009/2010 Colorado Ice Conditions
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By Dougald MacDonald
Feb 7, 2010

With quite a few new mixed routes going in this season at East Vail, I've posted a sequential listing of all the climbs at the Firehouse West and Spiral Staircase areas: tinyurl.com/ybop4au. The new climbs are accessible to mere mortals and they seem really fun.


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By Dale D
From Parker, CO
Feb 10, 2010
Five Finger Discount

I was at Hully Gully today. A nice 44 degrees when I got back to my Jeep around 1:00pm. Great ice conditions on both pitches.

First pitch of Hully Gully, 2/10/2010.
First pitch of Hully Gully, 2/10/2010.


Second pitch of Hully Gully, 2/10/2010.
Second pitch of Hully Gully, 2/10/2010.


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By Brian Tessier
From Lakehood, Colorado
Feb 10, 2010
mixed ice route <br />

Clear Creek Canyon update:
Coors Lite is in tough shape. There is ice but its been climbed to death.
Mickey's has filled in and is pretty easy.
All of the rest of the climbs do not exist.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Feb 10, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

There is steeper ice (sort of) at clear creek too but it's beat up. The higher "pitches" are a little fresher. Both Mickey's and Coors Lite P1 must get climbed constantly.


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By Kevin Craig
Feb 13, 2010
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

Rifle ice is still largely in good shape. Soul on Ice is 5 +/- and the top out has receded from the tree a bit further making it a bit spicier. Stone Free looks a bit thinner than a couple of weeks ago. Ice Palace and Final Curtain still look about the same.


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By Kevin Craig
Feb 14, 2010
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

Used up one of my nine lives today (2/14) when, approaching Stairway to Heaven and no more than 100' from the base of the ice, I got a huge "WHUMPF." No settling or visible cracks, but I beat a hasty retreat anyway to my partners, who were waiting/watching from the nearby ridge crest, and we bailed. Worth noting, the avy danger for the Northern San Juans was "only" Moderate for west-facing slopes near and above treeline which this is. No other signs of instability were noted prior to that point (though later in the day, when it was actually light out, we noted some old slide activity on the west-facing slopes right before the bridge at Eureka). Just proves the adage that, like politics, all avy conditions are local.

Climbed the first pitch of Whorehouse instead (in nearly constant spindrift from the high winds) which is in excellent condition. Winds on surrounding ridgetops appeared to be extreme so there's lots of transport and wind-loading in progress today.

Be careful out there.


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By Rob Griz
From Frisco
Feb 15, 2010
801.

Nice to see folks posting some “Shotty Ice reports”, right on! Here is my "shot"...

Hit SW CO for the weekend with a good friend who flew in from PA. We nailed Bridalveil and Ames on Sat. Bridalveil was excellent with a radical 35' "Blue Tube" on the upper half of the route. The mostly clear, sea-blue tube was the most trippy hunk of ice I've had the pleasure of climbing over. Despite the ominous looking nature of the falls, the route is well traveled and goes at WI5, possibly 5+. Two pitches up, two raps down; one from the final bolts and a second from a dual-thread with quicklinks. The ski out was awesome. Ames was in excellent shape as well with the usual ice start taking a stubbie or two but only for mental protection. We ran into a group who backed off. The first 60' were scalloped hooks to a partially delamed top-out and the chimney had more ice in it than I have ever climbed before. Of course the 5.8 crack to the right can be used to gain the chimney. The upper sheet was fatty-fat. A great day to hit both classic lines.

On Sunday we hit the Skylight area. It was a mixed bag although all the main routes are in. Seems like a little freeze-thaw will help some of the more obscure mixed lines. I led Killer Pillar in good but hard conditions. Seems like no one had been on it in a while, if at all. The snow atop was deep! It was getting baked in the sun and was hollow in many places but still a solid, fun lead. We ran a quick lap on Skylight, excellent shape although more like a Park route as it was hooked and stepped out all the way to the top.

The blue tube.
The blue tube.


From above, lookin' down.
From above, lookin' down.


Beta.
Beta.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Feb 15, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

Anyone take a walk up the flatirons lately? Or anyone want to take a walk Tuesday (2/16) AM with me?


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By Adam Baxter
From Estes Park, CO
Feb 15, 2010

Looking pretty snowy up there at the moment. As you posted this in the Ice forum, were you thinking about checking out a mixed line to climb manana? Or just a stroll to check out conditions?


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Feb 15, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

I'm interested in any of the flatirons ice/mixed lines. Hoping this 2nd snow storm helped reform some ice but that might just be wishful thinking.


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By k. riemondy
From Boulder, Co
Feb 16, 2010

Has anyone climbed All Mixed Up recently? Any beta would be appreciated.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Feb 16, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

Silk road looks like it might go. I walked up there this afternoon to get a better look. No promises. It's out of the sun at noon thirty, there is snow, ice and water up there and it looks continuous enough to climb. Anyone up for the challenge drop me a PM.


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Feb 17, 2010

AMU looked horrible from the road...for an ice climb...about 1 1/2 weeks ago.


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By Kevin Landolt
From Fort Collins, Wyoming
Feb 23, 2010

So my buddy Chris and I are thinking conditions might be promising for Silk Road on the First Flatiron: Snowy week, sun on monday to get some water flowing, a cold night to freeze it up.



Ok, so far so good, a lot of snow on the rock, but that's ok.



It's eight thirty in the morning and I'm sweating my ass off. Water is running everywhere. Things are a bit thin, but fun climbing on ice/snice makes for an enjoyable first pictch.



Not a good sign that it's warm enough for Chris to climb without gloves... Maybe thing's will be better in the shady corner?



Nope. Slush in the sun, powder snow in the shade. Oh well, this my first pitch ever in the Flatirons and I'm psyched it was done with ice-tools.


Other notes.

Jaws two Saturdays ago before the snow.



It might have thickened up a bit by now.



Hidden Falls this past Saturday. I've never seen such a beaten up peice of ice.



That little flow to the left of it was in good shape though...


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Feb 24, 2010

Not much exciting to report from the Ouray area. Lots of snow, supposedly 48" at Silverton. Red Mt Pass was closed for a few days. Cascade Falls looked like it had formed up from the road yesterday, but it got sunny. The Ice Park has lots of ice, so much so that it's hard to know for sure which routes are which in the upper canyon, because they are nearly continuous sheets.

From town.
From town.


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By mtoensing
From Boulder
Feb 25, 2010
Props to my home state show

Went to climb the real blue creek climb today. It was warm and the sun was out. We didn't lead the crux, we top roped it due to bad ice conditions. As we topped out, the whole climb fell down in a violent roar through the canyon. DON'T ATTEMPT TO CLIMB THIS ROUTE THIS YEAR!!! All of but 5 minutes probably saved our lives.


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By Sam Feuerborn
From Durango, CO
Mar 14, 2010
Castle Wood Canyon, May '09

Is anything still in good conditions in ouray or cascade or i guess anywhere in the SW? been nice enough i've been getting on the rock but i'd like some more ice before the season's over.


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By Rob Griz
From Frisco
Mar 15, 2010
801.

Hey Folks! If ya wanna climb ice, and you live within an hour or so of Vail, well you better get on it. Staircase is huge with all the killer mixed (reads rock AND ice!) are IN!. From east to west ya got 8mm in great, Dragons breath in superb, Touretts in pretty good, Stemcicle is challenging as the ice is thinning out, Secret Prob is an ice route (that's how fat it is!), Dr. Delicate is looking a bit sublimated, Desi is FAT with multiple lines on Freshie ice (still building, amazing!). The 7th is great with the standard mixed start, Frigid is sublimating but worthy of a heady lead with the abounding bolts, all the shit west is good, ice or no ice...and finally...the Fang..is anyone else gonna lead this bitch but Eric and me?! The Fang is scary, committing and dangerous but in excellent shape..the roof pull is pretty fun for pure ice moves...do it!
The Firehouse is in killer shape. I led Lowe Pressure again and not one person has been on it since Brad and I did it over a month ago. An excellent mixed line with committing moves but its all there...and I rechopped the window, go for it! All the new mixed lines are good to go,with Eastern Xpansion having some lean ice atop the finish. Modus and Rehab are worth a serious look and remember I have donated a clip stick (bringa squid) to hit the first bolts.
10 mile is in excellent shape but be wary of the avi slides. I went into solo the Shroud after a heavy cement slide only a few hours before..the sun is baking the slopes and shit is sliding to the ground. A big deal and given it's history, maybe not worth it.
I don't know what Lincoln has to offer but my guess is that there is some good ice given it's aspect, elevation and what I have climbed elsewhere in the county. If you need visuals, email me.
That's my Shotty report~
Cheers,
Griz


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By Kevin Landolt
From Fort Collins, Wyoming
Mar 15, 2010

Made it up to RMNP yesterday and climbed West Gully.

The approach pitch, though heavily wind loaded, felt safe and casual - hard and supportable styrofoam snow. We approached climbers-right of the gully. Lot's of v-threads on route made for an easy descent.



View from below. Stoneman's about gone and what remains is badly wind sculpted.



Ryan Malarkey leading the first pitch.



A little thinner up high.



Enduro slabs



The really snow-coated Black Lake Slabs. A party of two is visible on the last pitch.


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By Dougald MacDonald
Mar 15, 2010

Mrs. Mesa is fat, though probably not for long. And there's the small matter of the seven-mile, 4,000-vertical-foot approach...

coloradomountainjournal.com/2010/03/15/mrs-mesa-is-fat/


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By Kevin Craig
Mar 27, 2010
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

As of yesterday, the Designator is in about the best shape I've ever seen it. Excellent, dry, reasonably clean lines up each side. Right side is steep and sustained in the middle. Left is more "hooky" but very interesting 3-D climbing. Fang is there, but not 100% clear that it's actually attached at the top under/behind the top curtain. 7th Tentacle/Thang ice is way phat. The Pencil looks like "The Fat Piece of Paper" from the road. ;^D


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By Kurt T
From Boulder, CO
Mar 28, 2010

Has anyone been on or around Alexander's Chimney recently to see what condition it is in? Thinking about the coming alpine season as the weather warms up. Thanks.


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By Kevin Landolt
From Fort Collins, Wyoming
Apr 1, 2010

Made it up to the Park twice this week. Up Glacier Gorge on tuesday, and I hiked up Martha this morning: I enjoyed good neve like conditions for much of the route with bit and pieces of good ice. I also enjoyed splitter weather, until a massive grey soup blew into the cirque and turned day to night in a split second. Overall a great couple days in RMNP.



Alexander's Chimney. Looks like there's still ice on the second pitch, but dry above that.



Flying Dutchman Couloir and Lambs Slide.



Fields Chimney and North Chimney.



Notch Couloir and Kiener's Route.



Martha



The crux in thin (but still fun) conditions. There was actually more ice lower down in the first two constrictions than there was when I climbed the route in late January, but the crux is now thinner.



"Deborah" on Arrowhead, with some ice forming over the lower rock constriction.



McHenry's Peak with some fat ice on Right Gully. This route looks sick.



A better view of the base of the Big Mac Couloir and the ice in Right Gully.



West Gully. Note the avalanche crown on the approach pitch. I guestimated a 2+ foot crown and it ran the width of the gully, stepping down into a deeper layer of slab. I measured the slope angle near the crown and it was about 38-40 degrees, that perfect slide angle.



The soup coming in over Chasm Lake.



Friend of the community!


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By mtoensing
From Boulder
Apr 1, 2010
Props to my home state show

Great photos Kevin, looks like a lot of fun.


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By Martha Perantoni
From Evergreen, CO
Apr 12, 2010

Any recent updates here? Has anything changed dramatically on the East Face since this last little storm blew through?


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