Conditions Inquiry: Chicago Basin and Grenadier Range


Original Post
WDW4 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 43

Looking for recent conditions info on the San Juans in the Weminuche and surrounding areas between 9,000 and 14,000 ft. Specifically I'' be heading in the Vestal Basin and Chicago Basin and the peaks around them. I've been looking at the snotel sites and would love to hear suggestions on any additional data sources as well.

Photos of the Chicago Basin and Vestal basin over the last few days count as data sources. Thanks!

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

Not sure but if you call the ranger district, they will hook you up with all the info you need.

WDW4 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 43

Thanks Dan, I've called and the info they have now is two weeks old (a bit surprising!) - just that the snowline was about 10,500 feet at that time. Any other info out there?

David Michael 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

I called today...snowline at 11,000. Heading there Wednesday... Wish I had more info as well.

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

Bummer. Usually those guys and gals are on top of things. You may get some beta from San Juan or Peak Mountain guides in Ouray?

Or perhaps Ouray Mountain Sports, the gear shop in town.

WDW4 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 43

I'll look them up, thanks Dan! I head out July 1, David, so if you get back before then I'd love to hear what you find.

Nate Allen · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0

We stayed near Purgatory this weekend and it looked the the recent heat had cooked off a fair bit of snow. We did some fishing near Cascade Creek and I snapped a picture of some surrounding hills. Potato Mtn on the left and Snowdon behind I think. This photo was taken from the West looking Northeast at the hills.

Not great beta but gives a little visual of the snow conditions in the area.

Cheers!

Mtns.

George Foster · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

I would hold off. Still snow up high depending on aspect. Wham ridge still has patches.

George Foster · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

Oops. Didn't read fully. I think by July with the current crazy heat wave many objectives will be clear.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136

Vestal Basin usually has snow until mid-late july. Chicago basin will probably clear out a bit earlier.

WDW4 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 43

Thanks for the PhotoBeta Nate and the prediction Eli! Keep it coming!

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136

For what it's worth spud hill is now clear of snow with the exception of the north aspect and there is little snow left in the needles (the range in the right side of the photo). I'm not sure how relevant this actually is, though, as chicago basin is West and slightly south of the needles and the grenadiers are north west of the needles.

Gary N · · Durango, CO · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 510

Vestal is good to go and being climbed regularly. As I was heading up the trail two days ago I passed 9 people coming down after climbing it.

They had all taken a higher approach between Vestal and West Trinity apparently. We waded through the creek in the flat meadow at about 11,400' and took the trail up to the Vestal/Arrow saddle with minimal snow travel. This is a great approach and the way I usually go.

Here's a few pics:

Vestal and Arrow from the Beaver Ponds.

Minimal snow on the approach.

Good view looking down.

Summit.

Enjoy!

WDW4 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 43

Thanks a ton Gary!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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