Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gilpin Peak North Face Couloir

Climbed the North Face Couloir again today with a gentleman from California. Bill and I have done a lot of routes together and it was great to get to show him one of the lesser known San Juan gems.We walked up the Wright's Lake trail until below Gilpin, from there it is a quick climb up good snow and ice. Depending on which exit you choose, it can be as steep as 70 degrees with bits of water ice and mixed climbing. Last week we did the right gully finish, today we did the far left. Both were fun, left was more mixed. The center looks to have the largest cornice still hanging over it.
It should be good for another week or so, but go early. It catches the first sun of the range, and the descent was already sloppy at 0900. Overall it seems quiet in the Sneffels Range this year.Have Fun! CC

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dallas Peak South Face Couloir

Dallas Peak Climb Sunday June 22, 2008Kevin and I took four guys over to climb the South Face Couloir on Dallas Peak on Sunday.
This seldom climbed couloir offers a direct line straight up to the summit block. It involved a 2.5 hour hike, a couple thousand feet of snow, ice, and rock up to M3, and the steep final summit block. All the lads did well, and were psyched on having completed one of the more technical alpine routes of their careers.

I also guided the North Face Couloir on Gilpin, and it too is in good condition. The south facing couloirs should have another week of good snow and ice, and the north facing aspects 3 weeks or so.

Cheers, CC

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teakettle South Couloir Climb

I climbed the beautiful South Couloir on Teakettle today with some guys from the Front Range. It was in great condition and we made good time. We followed the direct line up through all the narrow sections to the small summit block. It is mainly nice neve with a bit of hard ice in spots right now.

I've also been up Dallas Peak and Gilpin Peak by their steep couloir routes, and they are equally fantastic right now. Get it while you can.

Cheers, CC

Monday, June 2, 2008

Snake Couloir and Yankee Boy conditions

Hello! I went up to climb the Snake Couloir on Sneffels this past weekend with a gentleman from New Mexico. He had done a couple good snow routes already this year, and was ready to sample one of the San Juan's finest.

Photo: North Face of Gilpin Peak May 31, 08
There is still a ton of snow up high, and climbing conditions were more like early May than June. We snowshoed in from the toilet to Lavender Col, passing a number of skiers and climbers enjoying the bluebird day. We set a comfortable camp on the snow, and took in the fantastic lenticular clouds ripping by in all directions.

Photo: Looking East to Kismet, Cirque, and Teakettle.Upper Lavender Col

We descended the north side of Lavender at 0500 and wrapped around the base of the North Face around 12,000ft. A few hundred flat foots, frontpoints, and ax plunges later we stood on the exposed snow arete poised below the summit block.

Photos: On the North Face.
Keith waited on the ledge while I led up the sweet, easy mixed finish. A quick belay and we both shared in the breezy summit solitude.
We cruised back down the normal route to camp, glissaded into Yankee Boy Basin, and snowshoed back to the truck.
Snow conditions are great for skiing or climbing right now. It has been an adequate freeze most nights. Good corn is easy to find most days, and steep couloirs offer the best access of the season to the area's coolest peaks. Sneffels, Teakettle, Potosi, Gilpin, Dallas, Mt Wilson, and El Diente all have excellent northern couloirs of different difficulties. Should be a couple more weeks of excellent skiing. Alpine climbing conditions should only improve thru June.

Onwards and Upwards! CC