Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Had a lovely day yesterday with Kathy H out on Red Mountain Pass. Kathy is working to hone her backcountry skiing skills so we headed out on the slopes of McMillon and Ohio Peaks. With very pleasant temperatures and soft faceted snow in at and below treeline we had a blast. Couldn't ask for nicer weather in the mountains - just a skiff of wind and sunny warmth. We are forecast to get a bit of snow over the next few days and into the weekend, let's hope it happens. Think today and tomorrow will be the last of the warm days for a bit - big cold front dropping in from Canada... Thanks for a great day in the mountains Kathy!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Went up to Skylight yesterday (11/27) for a fun introductory half day with Scott and Leah from Cheyenne. they were in Telluride on a short getaway and popped over for some frozen fun of a different nature. Conditions have melted-out a bit up at the skylight with the recent warm weather, but there was still plenty for us to work on.
Overall it was a beautiful morning, and these guys took right to it. General conditions are pretty lean up there, though it looks like everything would go with a cool head and soft hand.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Climbed Whorehouse Hose with Annie Q today. What a GREAT day! The first pitch is in fine shape, but getting wet by noon-ish. The top-out is thin ice over rock or thin ice over the tube, tread lightly! The second pitch is wild right now... rather than the typical cruise up a snow cone and a slight bit of ice, it's thin ice over a pretty voluminous cold flow of water with reasonable ice just on the edges. Watch out for the "wading pool" 2/3 the way up the pitch - you can't see it from the bottom. We tip-toed around on a thin margin of snow that may have come down with the party behind us. Ended up taking the gloves off for rock holds around the pool. Third pitch is wild right now too. It's pretty hollow for the first 40' or so (with another nice deep wading pool at the base) - each swing causing the whole thing to ring deeply. After that it's a mixture of cauliflowers, a bit of egg shells, some nice soft plastic ice and thin ice over the tube and rock. All the fixed anchors are in great shape and the snow between pitches very supportable except for the "trap doors" over the water course. Might get a bit lean with the warm temperatures forecast. Thanks for a wonderful day Annie!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
We just returned from a great fall road trip. Started out on ice in South Mineral Creek outside Silverton, then off to Zion and Red Rocks for a last bit of desert sun and rock. Here are photos from Gary Ryan and I climbing the Direct North Face on Nov. 9th. The first bit was pretty straight forward so we soloed up to the WI4 pitches. We opted to split the pitch up so we both could get a little time on the sharp end of the steeper ice. It was a tiny bit wet, but fun climbing! Enjoy the photos...
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Awesome! It is hard to believe it is only November. Fellow guides, Matt, Mark and I headed up into Commodore Basin on the hunt for early season powder skiing. What we found was snow that exceeded our expectations in both quality and quantity.
We cut several beautiful laps through the November fluff exclaiming to each other at the base of each run. We skied a bit off the shoulder of the alpine bowl that is Commodore Basin but the skiing in the pleasant open glades was probably the best. Tons of warm sun, cold powder, and phenomenal scenery made for a classic San Juan ski day.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
|1st pitch of Campground Couloir|
|2nd steep pillar on The Direct North Face (Fat!)|
|Stefan topping out the 1st steep pillar on the DNF|
All the climbs in South Mineral Creek are in and FAT even the rarely formed Sundance is looking pretty good. Up on Camp Bird Road, the first pitch of Skylight is in. The rest of the climbs up there look in from the road but they are still on the harder side. Have fun and be careful topping out!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Have you ever climbed Burns Gulch? Its further up the road and looks pretty good. There are lots of cool drips and pillars forming with the melting snow.
|Goldrush you can't see the bottom pitch which is usually the thin one.|
|Did I mention north facing powder skiing?|
Friday, November 11, 2011
Took a spin up the Camp Bird today, there is a bunch of ice on everything, though I wouldn't call any of it IN, yet. All the ice looked wet and fragile, I recommend giving it some more time to set up and fatten. Here are some pics of the main climbs up there.
|The Ribbon. Looks like it will be a good year for this once it stays colder.|
|Birdbrain. The first crux pillar is in, but looks sparse up higher. Try not to be the one who gets on it too early and knocks it down, its hard to live that down!|
|Skylight Pitch 1|
|Skylight Pitch 2|
|Chock up Another One|
|Slippery When Wet|
|Slip Slidin' Away|
|Choppo's and Killer Pillar|
Soon my friends, very soon...
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Andres and I went up Camp Bird Road, drill in hand to expand the dry tooling options up there. There are a number of routes that have gone up there in the past couple of years that are worth checking out if you like to pull on rock with ice tools or are looking for a safe way to get comfortable on real steep terrain.
I am headed out ice climbing tomorrow so check back soon to find out about local ice conditions.
Monday, November 7, 2011
|Direct North Face|
The light was flat which made scoping the ice hard but needless to say it was on the thin side. Campground Couloir had tons of snow in it and looked wet, DNF looked thin and steep, and Snowblind looked close. While they could all be climbed on marginal pro, continued freezing temps mean that these climbs will be good to go for climbers who think placing an ice screw is more than a symbolic gesture.