Independence Pass Conditions & TR - Mountain Buzz
 



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-06-2010   #1
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
Independence Pass Conditions & TR

I headed up Independence Pass in search of snow yesterday with trusty snowshoeing snowboarders Tom and Jeff. After mediocre recent trips on Monarch and Freemont Passes, we weren't holding out much hope. However, the choice to head up Graham Gulch was a good one, snow coverage was actually decent.

Heading up the glades on Mountain Boy Peak's east ridge:



The conditions were fantastic! It was a mix of sun and clouds, with a few flurries, but virtually no wind and mild temperatures! There were a few false summits on the ridge we had to negotiate:



Looking back down the ridge:



There was some nice looking terrain on the other side of the basin as well:



Tom nearing the point where we dropped in. Mountain Boy Peak, 13,198' behind him:



The snow had a relatively solid base (the mild weather has been helping), but there was a 4-6" soft slab on the surface which we could get to shear cleanly in spots. The mild weather was quickly helping settle this layer as well...and allowed us to get some of our best turns of the season so far!





Have fun and stay safe out there this winter!

lmyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-06-2010   #2
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,736
Awesome images of a beautiful area.

I have been up that road before from the BV side and there are places that are pretty darn "airish" and no guard rail drop offs.

How far up did you guys have to go to reach the snow fields?
okieboater is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2010   #3
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
Thanks okieboater. The Graham Gulch trailhead is at the eastern portal of Twin Lakes Tunnel #1 (also known as the put-in for upper Lake Creek). We climbed up an old road aproximately 1.5-2 miles (about an hour) to treeline.

Yeah, the road can get pretty sketchy...especially when people are driving like jack-asses
lmyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-06-2010   #4
 
cadster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
CAIC mentioned a skier triggered avalanche east of Mtn Boy Peak last week.
cadster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2010   #5
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadster View Post
CAIC mentioned a skier triggered avalanche east of Mtn Boy Peak last week.
Conditions have changed significantly since last week. There was evidence of a cornice break and slide (short aprox. 300' vertical) in the gully directly east of the one we dropped into, but it had been partially covered with new snow and looked to be around 1-2 weeks old.

We dug 2 test pits, 1 near treeline and 1 at 12,900'. There was a significant difference between the 2.

The lower of the 2 pits showed a totally faceted and weak base from ground to 2'. Then there was a 1' thick hardslab and a few inches of powder. We had reactive shears and whoomphing/collapsing in the 11,400-11,800' vicinity.

The upper pit showed that there was still a 2-4" faceted layer near the base, but the pack above it was a solid settled mass about 3.5' deep. As stated there was a 4-6" softslab on top of this that was trying to break lose in the most sheltered aspects...but it was not enough to cause us concern, plus we were not producing any shearing reaction from our second pit.

It is snowing in the high country now though, and the conditions are surely changing again. To be safe always evaluate each slope yourself.
lmyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010   #6
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
The conditions on Independence have changed dramatically in just 1 week. Tom and I went back up Graham Gulch yesterday, and there was 12-24" of new snow. This is definitely a good thing, but the snow was very "talkative" giving us good warning to stay out of danger zones.
Our mission was point 12,542' or Brumely Peak (?). The alpine zone was near whiteout conditions with snow still falling Sunday afternoon, and wind gusts strong enough to knock you off ridgelines....





There were some nice east facing trees dropping us back to the trailhead.





Watch out for the Bighorn Sheep hanging out in the road...they don't like to move.

lmyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010   #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 137
thanks for the reports! Keep on gettin the goods and stay safe
tony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010   #8
 
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
Good work! You are right I was down at Monarch yesterday and they are in need of snow down that way right now.

If ya get board pokin around up at Indy there is even more snow as you get up toward the top of fremont pass ....

Keep up the great tr's and lets hope one of these storms to hits a bit further to the south.
__________________
"I feel better than any other time when I am in the mountains and uh I cant explain it ya know...." - Shawn Farmer..........
Jahve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010   #9
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDNEK View Post
Good work! You are right I was down at Monarch yesterday and they are in need of snow down that way right now.
Thanks JV. Yeah, I was at Monarch first thing Saturday morning and it was the best day of the season so far...but that isn't saying much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDNEK View Post
If ya get board pokin around up at Indy there is even more snow as you get up toward the top of fremont pass .....
I went up on Fremont last Saturday and did a tour at Mayflower Gulch. The snow pretty much sucked that day though. It was deeper than Monarch Pass, but it mostly consisted of super hard wind crusts at and above treeline. Regardless we did 4-5 laps in the east facing bowl off Gold Hill. I was interested in doing some touring on the north and west faces of Mt. Arkansas soon, but last weekend the snow was still lacking on that side of the pass. I would like to just park and do laps on the east face of Chalk Mtn. from the summit, but apparantly it's Climax property and they will call the sheriff: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...t=fremont+pass

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDNEK View Post
Keep up the great tr's and lets hope one of these storms to hits a bit further to the south.
I've got my fingers crossed. Sounds like Wednesday through this weekend could be promising...
lmyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Tags
backcountry indy pass

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Independence Pass May 30 whip Winter Buzz 6 05-29-2010 01:17 PM
Independence Pass TakemetotheRiver The Eddy 8 04-20-2009 11:02 AM
Gillman and Independence Pass Arn Whitewater Kayaking 2 05-17-2006 01:10 PM
Independence Pass Withdrawn 1 Winter Buzz 6 05-14-2006 08:50 PM
Independence Pass snowpack . . . latenightjoneser Whitewater Kayaking 1 04-13-2004 02:04 PM

» Classified Ads
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.