Forecasted snow for the Grand...


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Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
Seth Kane · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 103

There was manageable ice and snow on some of the north facing sections of wolfs head as of 9/10. With significant snow fall I would not expect it to be in summer conditions next weekend. Additionally the OS is much more manageable to bail off if you do get turned around and gets more sun then the north facing sections of wolfs head.

I'd call the ranger station on Thursday and find out how much snow they actually got. In the last storm (9/3) there was MUCH less snow then predicted.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
Seth Kane wrote:There was manageable ice and snow on some of the north facing sections of wolfs head as of 9/10. With significant snow fall I would not expect it to be in summer conditions next weekend. Additionally the OS is much more manageable to bail off if you do get turned around and gets more sun then the north facing sections of wolfs head. I'd call the ranger station on Thursday and find out how much snow they actually got. In the last storm (9/3) there was MUCH less snow then predicted.
Good to know! Yeah, that's the tricky bit with forecasts! The complications add up when you factor in long drives and lodging plans (and the end of the full-refund period ending on the 13th for the room), but such is the nature of the beast.

Feeling a bit of decision paralysis too. There are certainly fun alpine objectives closer to home that I'd be happy to go after instead, but those damn Tetons have such a pull.
Andy Laakmann · · Bend, OR · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,865

According to this chart:

http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/d13_fill.gif?1473706707384

... 1.5" inches of moisture content is forecast for the Jackson Hole area between now and Thursday evening. Higher would be expected in the mountains.

I'd venture to guess it'll be a wet sloppy mess this weekend, one way or the other.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

upper exum gets more sun.

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 5

Don't know about the Cirque, but with the updated forecast calling for 7 inches over the course of this week I think expecting dry rock is a stretch even on the UE. Maybe bring some crampons and a tool? If not I'd stay closer to home.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
Andy Novak wrote:Don't know about the Cirque, but with the updated forecast calling for 7 inches over the course of this week I think expecting dry rock is a stretch even on the UE. Maybe bring some crampons and a tool? If not I'd stay closer to home.
I appreciate the info regardless.

Dry-ish and relatively cooperative weather was probably going to be the only way I'd get as far as our first attempt last year (Belly Roll car-to-car). While my partner and I enjoy/suffer mixed and ice climbing, I'm certainly not where I need to be with training to haul the additional gear up there needed for those conditions, and climb in those conditions, in a one-day push. Thanks to having most of my summer training and climbing ruined by injury, every little bit is counting even if it really is just a heavier pair of footwear, a set of crampons, and some tools.

I think we'd both be OK with some sloppy conditions here and there, but it's sounding like even even pushing our climb date back to Saturday or changing to the UE won't do much. I know it's a pipe-dream, but is there any history of early snow like this falling and then mostly melting and drying off a couple weeks after? We could always push our date another two weeks out since her scheduling allows for 4-day weekends every two weeks or so.

Arg...feeling a bit demoralized now.
Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10

View from the Climber's Ranch this morning. Markup added by me for extra emphasis...

snow

lol. Well...so it goes.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10

Ok, well now I'm just torn...

Looks like a lot of the snow melted off and the forecast is less...tricky.

Thoughts?

GTCam

Forecast

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 20

I don't know enough about the weather up there to make a recommendation, but I do know I'd rather go for something and get skunked than not go for it and spend weeks wondering if I should have gone for it. Quit agonizing and just go for it.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
Austin Baird wrote:I don't know enough about the weather up there to make a recommendation, but I do know I'd rather go for something and get skunked than not go for it and spend weeks wondering if I should have gone for it. Quit agonizing and just go for it.
I know what you mean. If it wasn't an 8 hour drive, an expensive town to hang around in, and we didn't get turned back once before, I'd just go for it. It's OK though, we're going to go with a Plan B here unless we see some ridiculous condition photo tomorrow that makes it look like it's a manageable amount of snow!

Cheers!
Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10

The forecast got more reasonable overnight and now it's only calling for a few inches down from 8 (hey o). Feeling a surge of optimism and a last ditch effort to save this climb, I called the climbing rangers to inquire. It was bleak...

It's full on winter conditions that will take at least two weeks of a stable high pressure system to clear up. There's about a foot of snow reported, and I don't remember if he said at 8,000 feet or the lower saddle, but a foot is a foot. He said that it's likely that the latest wet and heavy snow will compact and shrink that down down to about 6" or so, but count on a lot of ice as well. I asked if it was more of a crampons/tools situation or microspikes/axe, and he said he wouldn't go up there without technical ice gear.

I explained our moderate level of experience with mixed climbing at elevation and that the real hang-up for us lies in the massive single-day approach before we even start swinging tools. He said that I sound like I have a realistic understanding that we know we're going to be encountering some level of winter-like conditions, so that's good, but it's still inadvisable to go.

I asked how they determine the conditions (i.e. when the last time one of the rangers was actually up there) and the last first-hand observation from one of the saddles was 4 days ago. I guess the person who reported the foot of snow was coming down from a 4 day trip, but it sounded like that was elsewhere in the range. He sounded kind of miffed that I even asked and started giving me the "the reports are from people with over 35 years of experience in the range" spiel, and I had to calm him down a bit and explain that I'm not calling them liars or their judgment worthless. I"m just a "don't know unless you go" kind of person, so I will always have doubts until I hear something like "yeah, I was at the upper saddle yesterday and it's over a foot of snow from there on up, and the OS looked like an icicle".

Does anyone have the contact info for Chuck at wyomingwhiskey.blogspot? I've always appreciated his non-"yer gonna die" way of interpreting conditions reports from rangers and guides. I can understand why he might not want his email public, so if you know him or have his contact info, I promise I won't share it and won't send him a million emails.

George Bell · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 4,925

The top of the O/S faces NW, always takes a long time to melt off. I've descended it several times when snowy in September, difficulty depends on exactly how much snow and how much has melted into ice. But in September, I would not expect it to fully melt off until the following June.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
George Bell wrote:The top of the O/S faces NW, always takes a long time to melt off. I've descended it several times when snowy in September, difficulty depends on exactly how much snow and how much has melted into ice.
Thanks for the input. Which routes have you gone up in snowy September conditions? Even better, basing this off seeing that you're in Boulder, do you think having winter climbing experience in Colorado's high country means we'll find the conditions a bit less challenging than someone without that experience?
George Bell · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 4,925
Tony T. wrote: Thanks for the input. Which routes have you gone up in snowy September conditions? Even better, basing this off seeing that you're in Boulder, do you think having winter climbing experience in Colorado's high country means we'll find the conditions a bit less challenging than someone without that experience?
I've done the Exum (regular and direct) in September, and while the Exum melts off quickly I have usually run into snow and ice going down the Owen-Spalding. I've never had crampons, sometimes the snow was easy but sometimes I wish I had brought crampons. It can be pretty scary getting between the raps on the O/S when there is ice on it and no crampons.

Regarding experience, its hard to say. It might be more of an issue of having crampons. Even when it looks like the Grand is dry from the approach, there is often snow and ice at the top of the O/S (in September).
Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
George Bell wrote: I've done the Exum (regular and direct) in September, and while the Exum melts off quickly I have usually run into snow and ice going down the Owen-Spalding. I've never had crampons, sometimes the snow was easy but sometimes I wish I had brought crampons. It can be pretty scary getting between the raps on the O/S when there is ice on it and no crampons. Regarding experience, its hard to say. It might be more of an issue of having crampons. Even when it looks like the Grand is dry from the approach, there is often snow and ice at the top of the O/S (in September).
Hmmm...tough call then. The difference between needing crampons for a handful of sketchy spots versus full on AI3 conditions after climbing for 6 hours already is kinda big. I'm getting the distinct impression that there are no first-hand reports coming out between now and when we need to decide, so then it's a matter of I won't know until I go. I guess even one tool, crampons, and and my lighter Trango S Evo mountaineering boots wouldn't add more than a couple pounds, eh? My feet my will revolt if I try and put that many miles in my Nepal Evos in a day.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

FWIW, I've been looking at the cams for the Lost River range (my kid's on a peak bagging trip), and it's pretty socked in. Cold today, too. The weather radar shows stuff coming up southeast Idaho headed for Idaho Falls/Jackson, but....not much behind it.

Last minute is tough, but I hope you can go for it! Maybe a plan B for out here, if it just doesn't look doable?

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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