Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conditions Report 12-7-11, Colorado Springs Area

Well it took some time but temperatures have finally dropped around the state. Since I haven't gotten a chance to take another drive with the tools I can't personally comment on ice climbs in other areas but from what I hear most climbs in the Eureka, Rocky, and Vail areas have come in with a few exceptions. It sounds like The Ribbon and The Fang are still not formed but this is a more local conditions report for the Colorado Springs Area.

The snow started flying and I took a hike to see if The Springs' favorite climb had come in. When I went though Hully Gully was still just a smear of ice with many parts not formed. With the recent cold weather in the area though I decided to hike up today and grab another look. Things are looking a fair bit better now. The bottom pitch has not formed yet, just some ice smears. The top pitch is in pretty good shape with the very top coming in nicely without the mixed bit that usually occurs. The bottom of the top pitch is pretty thin though and I would suggest people give it more time because if the usual toprope hackfest starts now it'll come in all steppy and sketchy to lead.
Old Stage Rd. has quite a bit of snow on it though so if you're going to go and look for yourself bring your 4WD or some chains. The snow should melt off pretty quickly though.

Silver Cascade Slab is thin but in. There is a good amount of plastic ice with some running water on the surface. The nice thing about this climb is that it heals pretty quickly because of it's lower elevation and constant supply of water so I'd say go for it, just don't go crazy. The upper tier is in more thickly than the lower. Another note, please don't take the trail that leads up left from the bottom of the falls. A lot of people take this trail to get to the bottom tier and because the dirt is loose it is being constantly eroded into a gully. It's better to just go right up the creek. The road is slick as well but easy in a 2WD car, just go slow, and yes, that's my dog. He goes ice climbing with me.

The ice on Pikes is theoretically still there and while I can't provide an accurate avalanche report I can venture to guess what's likely. With the recent snow and direction of wind loading it's likely the Hero Traverse and the climbs themselves have some avalanche hazards with a lot of snow steps that are in the way of the actual climbs. Probably not worth it anymore. Probably going to be most difficult getting up the road anyways.

Conditions are also better now for other Front Range areas to form up, it'll have to get cold again though which the weather forecast doesn't bear out so I'm going to say no. But it's not outside my front door so it's going to be the people who live there who are close enough to make the trip and catch it while it's in. Good luck.

I also took a nice trip up to Lincoln Falls where things are formed up pretty nicely. The main gulley's and the right column are formed up and things are pretty hacked up. Probably better for practicing your rope work and hooking skills than actually swinging the tools.
Now that there's finally some ice in Colorado Springs I've added our class schedule to our website. So if you've never gone ice climbing or want to learn some new ice climbing skills check out our classes for the end of December.

1 comment:

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