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DreamWeaver Rte on Mt. Meeker Conditions
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By Beth Davis
May 29, 2008

I am looking for information on the DreamWeaver Route of Mt. Meeker, I am with a group of 5 planning to climb on Saturday, May 31.
We are particularly interested in the slabs and if they are covered in snow. We are also interested in the condition of the snowpack on the Loft for the descent.
Any current information on the climb would be hugely helpful!

Thanks!


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By James Beissel
From Boulder, CO
May 29, 2008
Ghostride da whip!

Dreamweaver is probably getting close, but was still looking pretty snowy when I was up there about 5 days ago. Martha, however, is in prime condition with lots of bomber ice.


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By kirra
May 29, 2008

John Langston wrote:
I was going to do it this morning, but I slept in and ate bacon instead. More than likely, I'll sleep in and eat bacon again tomorrow but if I climb instead, I'll post the conditions.

your piggin'out slacker

:)


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
May 29, 2008
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

We climbed Dreamweaver this morning and it was in great shape. Ankle deep step-kicking for the approach couloir. Firm neve and some ice in the lower narrows with a M1 crux. Middle section had good snow coverage and again, ankle deep step-kicking. Two more pitches of WI-1 and M1 made for an enjoyable finish and the upper slopes were solid snow. Photos are now on www.climbinglife.com - 5/29 conditions report.
The Loft traverse descent had enough snow to be thought provoking and we took our time on this potentially dangerous descent path.
Enjoy!


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By James Beissel
From Boulder, CO
May 30, 2008
Ghostride da whip!

I'm contemplating a Dreamweaver/Martha double header tommorrow morning - would anyone be interested?


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By Buster Jesik
May 30, 2008
me climbing

Just got home from climbing DW this morning. Its a little lean compared to this time last year, but its still in good shape. The snow was nice and hard all morning, including the loft decent. My partner and I were off of the mountain by 9:30, so catch it early for best (safest) conditions.


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By J. Thompson
From denver, co
May 30, 2008
Trundling a death block. Photo by Dan Gambino.

Hey James...good drinking with you last night.

I'd be down for the link up...but it would have to be monday, tuesday or wednesday.

josh


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By James Beissel
From Boulder, CO
May 30, 2008
Ghostride da whip!

Cool - PM Sent.


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By Kevin Craig
Jun 1, 2008
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

Eli Helmuth wrote:
Two more pitches of WI-1 and M1 made for an enjoyable finish and the upper slopes were solid snow.


WI-1? So Dreamweaver has sprouted a flat lake somewhere along it's length??? While I agree that the standard description of WI-1, and to a lesser extent WI-2, render them essentially meaningless/useless, that's no reason to unilaterally re-define them on your own. Standard grade descriptions/definitions are and should be used consistently or they're useless. Making up new grades/definitions because something is easy for you (or me or anyone else) does no one any good and could be seen as a form of spray or as condescending. Though not likely in this case, it could also be dangerous if some noob actually thought that Dreamweaver was in a condition so easy that it is as trivial as walking in crampons on a flat lake (the definition of WI-1).

You're a good guy, an accomplished climber, and provide lots of valuable information to all of us; I'm sure none of this was your honest intention.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jun 2, 2008
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the feedback and I certainly wasn't trying to sandbag anyone on the route grading here. I've never seen a definition for WI that would describe WI-1 as a flat lake bed? All of the WI-1 descriptions I found in Jeff Lowe's Book, etc. would indicate that WI-1 is ice up to 35-40 degrees in angle- I believe that is close to the angle of the Dreamweaver ice at the moment? If it's a bit steeper then it would be WI-2 but certainly no harder. Hopefully the difference between a 1 and 2 is no big deal for a climber?
Ice changes form and angle all of the time and so ratings for an ice route are anything but fixed and could fluctuate easily in a day or week.

The M2-3 rating for Dreamweaver given on MP is anything close to realistic unless there is no snow in the Couloir. The research I've done would indicate that M1 starts around 5.6 and Dreamweaver doesn't feel anywhere close to Wind Ridge or Calypso (5.6) at Eldo or even as hard as Breezy (5.4) so maybe it is in the 5.1-3 range? I likely overrated the mixed in my review and underrated the ice a little?

I believe that many of the guidebook ratings for alpine routes in RMNP are very wrong- a great example is in the Rossitter High Peaks book where Dragontail couloir is given an M2+ AI3 rating. Most folks I believe would call this a 50 degree snow, 3rd/4th class climb (or ski)- not even the same ballpark as 5.7+ and 80 degree ice... AI is an ice rating and this route is never an ice climb and likely has never been one as it goes from snow to bare ground in the summer. Snow does not receive an AI rating, even when it is neve- AI and WI are the same substance, they just form from different processes.

So maybe the ratings for many of these routes should be redefined if they are very incorrect and misleading? Guidebooks or a website rating should not be the final say in this regard?

Also thanks very much for the compliments and all of your contributions as well to this site. Much appreciated.
cheers,
Eli


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By Not So Famous Old Dude
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2008

Dreamweaver is an easy climb, but long, and adventurous, which makes it worthy. I've done it three times and I have yet to actually find any ice. It's either been snow, snow and rock, and one time nothing but rock the entire way.


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By Diego Rivera
From Boulder, CO
Jun 3, 2008

Eli has in the past referred to Martha as nothing harder than 4th class (edit: wrong about this one) and once to All Mixed Up as in WI2 condition (stand by this one).

Neither of those makes any sense to me, and I was on the routes within a couple of days of his comments.

I personally find descriptions like '50degree snow up to a short bit of thin 70degree ice, rock pro available' a lot simplier and without the upgrading or downgrading commentary.


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By Not So Famous Old Dude
From Denver, CO
Jun 3, 2008

Brandon Lampley wrote:
Eli has in the past referred to Martha as nothing harder than 4th class and once to All Mixed Up as in WI2 condition. Neither of those makes any sense to me, and I was on the routes within a couple of days of his comments. I personally find descriptions like '50degree snow up to a short bit of thin 70degree ice, rock pro available' a lot simplier and without the upgrading or downgrading commentary.


WI2 for AMU? Yeah, that's just a sandbag. I've done AMU six times and with the exception of the first slab pitch, it's always been WI3 with the last pitch probably weighing in at WI3+. WI2 is right for the first slab pitch, but considering that you often have little or no reliable pro and thin ice on it, it feels more serious than that oftentimes. But the climbing is quite easy.

Never done Martha.


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By SAL
From broomdigiddy
Jun 3, 2008
good times. <br />

They are both 5.6 until you fall...


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jun 3, 2008
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey Brandon-
That's B.S.
Never thought or written of AMU less than WI3 and only referred to the few rock sections on Martha as 4th class, as I've only touched rock for a few easy moves in more than a dozen ascents of that one and they weren't much harder than the Keyhole route on Longs.
If you can show me something otherwise that I've written, I'll swallow these words happily...and definitely nothing close to 5.6 on either of those routes? Come on - grades aren't different just because you're wearing boots and crampons. Think of climbing the first pitch of the Bulge in Eldo or the first pitch of Calypso in crampons- would probably feel like 5.11 if you weren't used to it, but that doesn't make it so...
Cheers,
Eli


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By kirra
Jun 3, 2008

Eli..! ! ! !

'You Rock' ~ Hope all is going well with the new family unit. Take care out there & hope to see ya out this summer in RMNP..!

Best wishes ~ Kirra


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By Diego Rivera
From Boulder, CO
Jun 3, 2008

Hey Eli,

I reckon it was fall of 2006 when your conditions report referred to AMU as super fat, pretty much WI2. or nearly, or almost WI2, something along those lines. I could be wrong, but my memory is good.

I just re-read your Martha comments. Your rating. 5.3 WI2+ M1 In the comments you say WI2 4th class typical midwinter conditions (Dec-April). Others call it as high a 5.6 WI3 M3

Guess these 3 we could call Typical, Ideal, and Worst conditons ratings, respectively. I put forth that Typical conditions are present the majority of Dec-April rather than Ideal.

I think you have a habit of putting a grade out there for routes that describe their Ideal condition.

Are you saying the first pitch of the Bulge would only be M2 or 5.6 if it were in the middle of a big mixed route in the mtns? Or that if you onsighted the first pitch of Calypso in boots, wet from snow melt, at 12,000 ft you'd call it 5.6? Those ratings would be ridiculous in my opinion.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jun 3, 2008
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Hey Kirra-
You are the "rocker" for sure; family life is awesome here and definitely hope to see you you in the peaks sometime soon(and not just on MP!).

Jed,
I think you underestimate the abilities of Canadian Rockies climbers, and the Bulge is probably a bad example of a 5.6 mountain route- bit slopey to be much fun with snow on it? Not sure how true that is about the "alpine scale" for difficulty ratings...how does that one work?

Brandon,
Your memory is either too good to be an alpine climber(a poor memory is one of the more important attributes) or you are a skilled alpine climber who is remembering what I wrote incorrectly... maybe more likely?

Seems that all alpine routes are rated in "ideal conditions"- why climb them otherwise? Joking there, but ideal is kinda how routes are rated - The Squid is WI5 but when "IN" could be WI4+ when fat or thin could be WI-6 M5? We just refer to it in it's ideal shape and then see what's there when we show up.

It also seems that 5.6 (M-1)is the standard rating given on this site to anything that involves touching rock in the mountains? Dragontail-yeah right!) Dreamweaver-(not even ballpark unless dry) Martha-(only with one hand tied behind the back or when the ice and snow are gone).

I think of the classics in the Gunks for example (High Exposure for one)or in Eldo (Rewritten) that are in that difficulty range and compared to them, Martha and Dreamweaver feel much closer to the Keyhole in terms of rock difficulty? Those moves at the top of the Loft to join the narrows are harder, I swear!

Maybe a more consensus rating system for alpine routes could be put together on this site - so that M1 doesn't span the range from 5.1 to 5.7 as there is a big difference between those grades...maybe we're all to young to remember when that was the case?

It's all good- numbers are just that and nothing more- and experiences are what we're looking for of course...hate to sum up my climbing experiences with a bunch of worthless numbers?

Peace on -E

And what's with that douchebag title on the other forum? Very offensive word in my book...where are the PC police when we need them? Or maybe as John Sherman has said many times, PC is the worst form of fascism.


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By Jim Amidon
Jun 3, 2008
J TREE

"Never write anything, you'll only regret it"

Don Whillians.....


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By Kevin Craig
Jun 4, 2008
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

OK, first I didn't intend this for everyone to pile on. Eli does us all a great service - but of course no good deed ever goes unpunished either. :^/

Although in my defense I will quote the following definitions of WI-1:

"A walk, basically. You only need crampons" - Cam Burns' Colorado Ice Climbers Guide

"A frozen lake or stream bed" - JoJo in "Waterfall Ice" (Canadian guidebook)

"Walking up ice in crampons - frozen lake or streambed" - Jack Roberts' Colorado Ice

To be fair, Gillette in the RMNP High Peaks guide says WI1 is ice up to 30 degrees too, but that's the only place I've ever seen that definition.


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By Tom Halicki
From Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2008

To beat a dead horse a bit more, if Roberts says WI2 is 55-60 degrees, I think you have to take as poetic license his comment that walking on a stream bed is WI1. There's obviously a bit of difference between flat and 55 degrees. Whether it's AI, WI or NEI, I'm with Eli on this.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 4, 2008
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

It really makes no sense to start out ice ratings with a flat surface. You can walk on a frozen lake without crampons if you are careful. It should start as some aspect of vertical, and 30 degrees seems a good place to begin.


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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jun 4, 2008
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking also, that it doesn't make sense to have a climbing grade difficulty rating for flat terrain? I'll go with Jeff Lowe's definition of WI-1 up to the 35-40 degree range (maybe up to 55 degrees) and figure the other authors were just copying off each other's work like many guidebook authors do...perpetuating the myth?
I usually ski across frozen lakes- no crampons necessary.


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By James Beissel
From Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2008
Ghostride da whip!

I think that it started with Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Interestingly, it also describes the WI scale up to WI8. Most of the time I consider MTFOTH to be the gold standard, but not in this case.


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By Avery N
From Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2008
Canadian Rockies Ice 2008.

Seems like if you're debating and concerned about WI1 vs WI2 and 5.3 vs 5.5, then it might be best to stay clear of Dreamweaver. On the other hand, you could just go judge for yourself!

Have we lost all adventure with advent of the web and Google Earth?


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Jun 4, 2008

FWIW, this route can be super easy or quite sketchy depending on the exact conditions. The cruxes can be totally covered with snow or funky, mixed, grovel fests...especially sans rope with average abilities.


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