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Late fall alpine-esque routes


Original Post
Luke R 84 · · Georgia · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 353

I've found a few posts here so far, but they haven't exactly answered my questions. I have about two months off from November till January and I'm planning on heading west for a few weeks to knock out some climbs. Since it will be fall/winter, I'm thinking I might be able to make good use of this time to do some easier mountaineering. Most of what I've seen lists late spring as a good time for a lot of areas I've looked at, I assume due to snowpack/melt, ice, etc.

So can anyone give me some recommendations on some peaks or ranges? I would also be open to hiring a guide or searching for a competent partner If most peaks would be a little too much to bite off as a noob.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Luke R 84 wrote:I've found a few posts here so far, but they haven't exactly answered my questions. I have about two months off from November till January and I'm planning on heading west for a few weeks to knock out some climbs. Since it will be fall/winter, I'm thinking I might be able to make good use of this time to do some easier mountaineering. Most of what I've seen lists late spring as a good time for a lot of areas I've looked at, I assume due to snowpack/melt, ice, etc. So can anyone give me some recommendations on some peaks or ranges? I would also be open to hiring a guide or searching for a competent partner If most peaks would be a little too much to bite off as a noob.
If you're open to hiring a guide, call them and ask about mountaineering objectives in Nov-Jan.

Depending on where you want to go, here are a couple of recommendations:

In the Sierra:

sierramtnguides.com/

In North Cascades National Park (Washington):

ncmountainguides.com/
C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 546

If you like to suffer in the cold, the Sierra's can be fun in the early winter.

Tobin Story · · Woodinville, WA · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 35

In my (admittedly limited) experience, November and December are not a good time for mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. The glaciers are still thin from the summer melt and snowfall from a normal year won't yet be sufficient to rebuild the snowpack. Crevasses will be prevalent and are likely to be concealed by very thin snow bridges or sastrugi. The weather usually isn't cooperative either, with those months typically being the wettest and having the shortest days. I often find avalanche danger to be higher during those months as well, driven by big, wet storms, shallow snowpack, and temperature swings. Typically conditions begin to improve by January to allow for winter ascents, and they only get better as the snowpack deepens, the days get longer, and the weather better in February and March.

November and December are not really the months that I would willingly choose to come climbing in the Pacific Northwest. You may be able to get in some early ice climbing, but that is outside my area of expertise, and is pretty hit-or-miss here anyway. Better, in my opinion, to aim for either sunny rock in the desert (think Red Rocks, etc.) or true ice climbing somewhere like Colorado, Montana, or western Canada.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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