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The 2012-13 Colorado Ice Conditions Thread
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By richardd
From Loveland, CO
Jan 4, 2013
Not much climbing in FL.
I didn't see any ice as I was driving up the Big Thompson 12/29, and the upper and lower flows are absolutely bone dry.

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By John lewis
Jan 4, 2013
Climbed again at Lincoln falls today, did bowling alley. At the top of the 2nd pitch a giant slab broke loose and rained suitcase size ice and a lot of water down onto the trees below. The very top to the right of the anchors is very hollow and water is rushing under it. Stay to the left on the 2nd pitch and the ice is good but don't go right.

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By Rick McL
From Arvada CO
Jan 4, 2013
Long day on the ice.
Darren & Nina,
Hi.
I was in Lake City Ice Park last week and we were only able to lead one route. It was thin.....everywhere.
I would wait a couple of weeks before deciding to make it a "destination". They will probably have it in good shape for their Ice Fest the weekend of February 9th. There are sposors this year so it should be a grade above past years. Though I must say that the party at the Packer Bar after last years comp was unrivaled. I couldn't get my crampons on the next day.

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By clay meier
Jan 5, 2013
Thats Me
Not that anybody cares but cottonballs, cuba gulch, and cataract is awesome climbing and I would imagine all in (climbed Sherman Oct 31). The stuff in the black canyon mountainproject.com/v/blue-mes... is looking really good. Blue Mesa smear is in, chipeta is in, blue balls is probably in, Curecanti Monster is shaping up fat but could use a few weeks.

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By tom bohanon
Jan 5, 2013
Glenwood falls and Hidden falls in Glenwood Canyon are fat right now. Cold temps in the morning and sunny afternoons are good for the former to a point..... The sun hits the top of Glenwood Falls a bit before 10 AM.
Hidden Falls early January, 2013.
Hidden Falls early January, 2013.


Glenwood Falls, early January, 2013.
Glenwood Falls, early January, 2013.

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By Rick McL
From Arvada CO
Jan 5, 2013
Long day on the ice.
clay meier wrote:
Not that anybody cares but cottonballs, cuba gulch, and cataract is awesome climbing and I would imagine all in (climbed Sherman Oct 31). The stuff in the black canyon mountainproject.com/v/blue-mes... is looking really good. Blue Mesa smear is in, chipeta is in, blue balls is probably in, Curecanti Monster is shaping up fat but could use a few weeks.


Clay,
I care. Thanks for the beta on the Curecanti Monster. I want that.

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By eric kramak
From Denver, Colorado
Jan 5, 2013
Standin' on top of the world.  NEWS, WA Pass.
Climbed Silk Road this morning. Still in. Snow & "ice" were less than amazing - a fair amount of failing under body weight. Lots of hot hot crampon (and palm) on slab action.

What we though to be the upper crux - pulling onto the East Face proper by a small tree - appeared to have very little ice. I lost sack and continued up the gulley, finishing the last pitch and a bit along the gulley's far right hand side.

Double rack to #2 worked pretty well. Used 2 small nuts. Didn't need the #4. Little pro on the 1st pitch, used most of the rack on the 2nd,not much needed (but its there if you want it) on the 3rd/3.25th

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By Frank Konsella
Jan 5, 2013
Darren D. wrote:
Speaking of Lake City, does the ice park have climable ice yet? Is it open? Thanks.


Lots of hoses were turned on as of 1/2/13, so some routes were wet but we still climbed several routes. I thought it was well worth a day and there's plenty of other ice in the area.



Climbed Chipeta today- great shape but my partner remarked that it was a little steeper than "normal" right now.

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By Bryan Gilmore
From Your Mama
Jan 5, 2013
Beagle
Phil Lauffen wrote:
Can the north face of longs hold enough snow to 'lanche? It is on the most dangerous aspect for the problem we have right now.

If you look at the N face of longs this time of year you'll probably notice that there is little if any snow at all. It will, on the other hand start loading with snow as spring moves in. Just look up there before you go.

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By Shameless Shaemus
Jan 6, 2013
Climbed The Crypt in RMNP yesterday. Not too bad of a hike in on the (climber's) right side rocks. Avy conditions very manageable/minimal. Climb is in decent enough shape for a few laps. A bit chandeliered/hard icicle runnels etc. Like so many ice routes in the Park...a lotta humpin' for so little thumpin'...as always though, it was nice to swing tools on a sunny day.

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By Erock
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 7, 2013
Aid soloing in sedona
Looking for an ice climbing partner for the next few days. Im hanging out in ridgeway and can climb anywhere around the area. Silverton wojld be best. If youre up for doing some long routes give me a call. 9288649325

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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jan 7, 2013
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.
Beagle wrote:
If you look at the N face of longs this time of year you'll probably notice that there is little if any snow at all. It will, on the other hand start loading with snow as spring moves in. Just look up there before you go.


Just about anytime there is snow on the north face that you are standing-on, there is high avalanche potential as the entire slope is unsupported and and perfect avalanche terrain.

Snowpack makes little difference with this perfect avalanche terrain, especially with the Diamond as a terrain trap (pack a parachute).

As Beagle said, just take a look up there and if your route above the rock/ice pitches involves snow travel, avi potential is high. Late spring/summer (May/June) is about the only time it will bond for a while, if we get the snow.

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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Jan 7, 2013
Dreamweaver
Eli Helmuth wrote:
Just about anytime there is snow on the north face that you are standing-on, there is high avalanche potential as the entire slope is unsupported and and perfect avalanche terrain. Snowpack makes little difference with this perfect avalanche terrain, especially with the Diamond as a terrain trap (pack a parachute). As Beagle said, just take a look up there and if your route above the rock/ice pitches involves snow travel, avi potential is high. Late spring/summer (May/June) is about the only time it will bond for a while, if we get the snow.


RMNP moved their Longs Peak cam and gives a pretty sweet view of the NF and Diamond now as well as clear views of Kieners and some lower east face routes.


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By Justin Deal
From Denver, CO
Jan 8, 2013
Just after pulling the roof on pitch two of Anthill Direct.
Heard the Des and Spiral are in good shape but steeper than normal as of yesterday. I want to go up to Vail Sunday and drop a TR on Spiral but I have only led 2+ and dont feel ready for"steeper than normal" 4-. I heard about a chimney that leads up to the top. Any info on how I can get up there without leading?

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By Brandon Groza
From Bend, OR
Jan 8, 2013
Chomp. Summer climbing in RMNP.
Justin Deal wrote:
Heard the Des and Spiral are in good shape but steeper than normal as of yesterday. I want to go up to Vail Sunday and drop a TR on Spiral but I have only led 2+ and dont feel ready for"steeper than normal" 4-. I heard about a chimney that leads up to the top. Any info on how I can get up there without leading?


Show up about 10am and there will already be a TR or 4 on it :) There is a walk/bushwack around climber right but the first option is more pleasant.

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By Kevin Craig
Jan 8, 2013
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd
That's climber's right of Spiral. Climber's right of the Dez is the Fang,hardly a scramble/bushwhack. :)
The chimney you've heard about is climber's left of the Dez near a prow of rock IIRC and often has a crappy line fixed in it.
Best option is to practice and put in miles until you can lead it rather than tying up the line with a TR. Let those who can, lead it. You'll appreciate it when you're in those shoes. Everywhere is not your ice park.

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By gravityneverrests
From Lakewood, CO
Jan 8, 2013
+1,000
Every third person should re-lead the climbs in Vail. There isn't enough ice to tie it up all day on TR. Practice elsewhere until you can lead the climbs. Thanks for the guidance Kevin...

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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 8, 2013
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan
Eli Helmuth wrote:
Just about anytime there is snow on the north face that you are standing-on, there is high avalanche potential as the entire slope is unsupported and and perfect avalanche terrain. Snowpack makes little difference with this perfect avalanche terrain, especially with the Diamond as a terrain trap (pack a parachute). As Beagle said, just take a look up there and if your route above the rock/ice pitches involves snow travel, avi potential is high. Late spring/summer (May/June) is about the only time it will bond for a while, if we get the snow.


Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

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By Bryan Gilmore
From Your Mama
Jan 8, 2013
Beagle
bridalveil is in nice right now.

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By Andrew Mayer
Jan 8, 2013
top of mt. lady washington - rmnp
Kevin Craig wrote:
Best option is to practice and put in miles until you can lead it rather than tying up the line with a TR.


I totally understand your frustration with people beating the piss out of routes on TR, but...to play devil's advocate, how do you expect people to "practice and put in miles" without doing so on TR? Drive all the way to Ouray?

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By Jim Amidon
Jan 8, 2013
J TREE
As Kevin said if you can lead it you will appreciate it......

I have logged hundreds of hours on the sharp end and really because of the crowds and the destruction of the ice in Colorado I just don't go out and climb ice here anymore.

Having been in Vail lots and lots of times it just amazed me actually baffled me to wonder first, why is there snow falling off The Fang then moments later a rope being lowered from above as a TR was set up.

Jewel Falls in RMNP watching a guy shoulder a rope and start to walk around........

I couldn't fathom where he was going till I realized he was walking around to set up a TR

Ice climbing in Colorado is just not what it used to be......

Maybe you'll all think hey great one less ice climber out there making a crowd, but what people are doing to ice and climbs in Colorado, I wouldn't call them ice climbers I'd call them gym climbers outdoors trying to be ice climbers......

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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Jan 9, 2013
How I Send
Yeah, good riddance Jim! One less lead climber hogging all those great TRs in the F'Range. I mean those leaders take forever on a climb, when you can just scramble around to set the TR. So lame.

Kidding aside. I have noticed a huge change in the ice community in the short time I have climbed here in CO.

I guess in the 80s when you moved to CO, you bought skis. Now you buy ice tools. A special thanks to all the top ropers for all those ropes tossed with no call down on my head while leading. I'm with Jim, the bs is getting annoying, but I won't stop climbing.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jan 9, 2013
Bocan
Not to get terribly off tangent, but it's a tough call on the whole TR / Leading ice conversation. There is a massive influx of ice climbers on the front range, and quite a bit of them are at the far end beginners, lacking in the basic ethic and skill sets. I'm not sure if it's crossing over from a sport climbing ethos, but as Tits said their is quite a bit of BS now. This obviously includes throwing ropes down on leaders, poor "ice management" aka dangerous behavior and a general sh*tty attitude by people that want to sleep in and still TR everything. Toss in "guides" that bring groups of 8-12 up to extremely limited resources (i.e. Hidden falls..really?) and it's a real sh*tshow. It just seems that across the board there is a real sense of ice entitlement, just to give it a name.

I'm not a great leader by any means so I do my far share of TRing, so my opinion isn't to call anyone out. I guess I'm lucky that the people I've climbed with in general had that wake up early and earn your climb mentality.

Of course this is just the interweb, but hopefully some of the the people leading beginners out to learn the ice game can pass down some of the more old school ethics. I think it's too late to stop the hoards and it's not up to us to say who can climb what; however it's not too late to show new climbers a better way to go about it.

IMHO...

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By MarcDurant
From Boulder, CO
Jan 9, 2013
Might be time to move the annual ethics discussion to another thread?

Was out at Overflow on Sunday (1/6). Plenty of ice, actively forming on the far left, getting old in the middle and right sides. The trail is boot-packed the whole way.

The big slabby flows way up on the slope of Thatchtop look good, but if you head up there DON'T follow the tracks I left - I went the wrong way and ended up thrashing up a big snow gully instead of finding the ice. You'll want to go farther left than my tracks in order to reach the ice.

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By Mike Krowka
Jan 9, 2013
Climbing at Rincon Wall.
I want to add that the shift to more newbies climbing ice is comparable to the new cohort of less-skilled backcountry skiers out there currently. They are a danger to everyone. They have little idea what they don't know, and are likely to cause issues with themselves, the people in their group and the people around them. In this way, we should thank our lucky stars very few of them are trying to lead ice, as more of our days would probably be taken up by evacuating injured climbers.

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