Monday, November 7, 2011

Conditions Report 11-4-11

Well it's that time of year again where the snow starts flying and little dribbles of ice start forming. These shoulder seasons are always tough. There's usually not enough ice to go climbing and there are fewer days that are good for rock climbing. Although there are some areas and days where climbing in the Front Range is very pleasant.
After climbing a little ice and hearing some encouraging words from others around the state about some ice climbs forming another guide and I decided to take our tools for a drive. To sum it up for you we didn't see much. There's plenty of moisture and snow but temperatures below 11,000 feet are simply too warm for anything to be in good condition.
Climbing Blind Assumption on Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak Area
Although nothing in Colorado Springs is close to forming things up on The Peak are looking good. Temps above 11,000 ft. have been cold enough for ice to form. and stay formed up.
Blind Assumption: The first pitch is in well. There are a few mixed bits to about M4
Total Abandon: I've been told this has ice on all pitches.
Colorado Springs Ice: Wet, but not cold enough to form anything.

Direct North Face-Not In
Silverton Area
Much like the rest of Colorado this area hasn't received cold enough temps to have the ice be in. It's forming though. As long as people leave the fragile pillars and curtains alone things will continue to develop and form in the next couple of weeks.
South Mineral Creek: Despite an internet post suggesting otherwise their is nothing "in". There's ice and things can be climbed but they are not in good enough condition to climb. We climbed the first two pitches of Campground Coulior and it was wet and running. Daytime temperatures are too high for things to build. A week of daytime temps below freezing and things will start to fill in nicely.

Stairway-Not In
Eureka: Things like Stairway to Heaven and Whorehouse Hoses have ice on them but are nowhere near being ready. Anything South East will take a fair bit longer because of the lack of snow on the more sun receiving aspects.

Ouray Area
Same as everywhere else The Ice Park isn't scheduled to open till Mid-December and they've got the water going but things are just to warm. Camp Bird Road is looking good but not quite there yet.

Camp Bird Road-Not In

Ice Park: Wait till December
Camp Bird: The Ribbon is coming in but the bottom pitch didn't appear to be formed. My parter who has climbed it said it was much thinner than when he climbed it in thin conditions. We did a little drytooling in the Skylight Area and by the time we were leaving in the afternoon there was plenty of water running and ice falling down.
Red Mountain Pass: I feel like I'm repeating myself. Saw lots of ice forming but the climbs aren't in yet Gravity's Rainbow was just a glaze of verglas on the rocks and Horsetail Falls was still running. Just have to wait for it to get cold still.

Lincoln Falls
Finally something different. Thanks to it's higher altitude there's quite a bit of ice here. The main gullies have sufficient ice for climbing but it may be best to let the pillars and curtains alone till temperatures are more consistently cold.

Based on what I've seen in my nice drive around the state there is not much going on in the way of ice. At higher elevations (above 11,000 feet or so) things look better but a few more weeks of cold temperatures may be best for everything. Stay away from thin, wet pillars and curtains which may collapse without warning. Even if it doesn't collapse you may set it's development back for a few weeks or even the rest of the season. Now's a good time to do some tool hangs and get your arms conditioned for when the ice actually is in.

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