Front Range Conditions May 15, 2015

I haven’t found a lot of time this spring to be able to get into the high peaks when the sun is out. The consistent storms every weekend have provided ample snow, but the non-stormy days during the week have not aligned to my schedule. This Wednesday, there was a brief break in the thunderstorms and the opportunity for me to get up early and climb a peak before work.

I chose to explore Woods Mountain (12,940’) and Watrous Gulch off of Interstate 70. The access to the valley was quick as the trailhead is right of the Interstate, and the wide trail was dry and accommodating for carrying skis on my pack. I reached the snowline at 10,630’. I walked on the snow for only about 100 yards before I was able to convert to skins and enjoy the wide and flat valley to the base of the South Face of Woods Mountain. The coverage on Woods Mountain is impressive right now, and I was able to skin all the way to the summit!

The last time I got up high in the I-70 corridor was closing day, May 3, at Loveland Ski Area. On May 3, I was impressed with how much snow coverage there was in this part of the Front Range. On that day I noted to myself how well covered the Shakespeare slopes on Bard Peak and the Ribbon on Grays Peak were! Fast-forward to yesterday and there is even more coverage!

The challenge for the day was the light. I was hoping that there would be clear skies since the forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms. This was not so, and it remained a gray morning. It was hard to see on the descent of the South Face, and the pictures were dark.

Bottom line: The coverage in the I-70 region is impressive. If there is a line you have been thinking about for some time, it is most likely filled in!  Here are some pictures to help with your Herman Gulch, Stevens Gulch, and Mount Sniktau planning!

Herman Gulch looks great!  From left to right: UN 12,671, The Citadel, Pettingell Peak.

It looks like you can ski Bierstadt from the summit right now.

The Emperor Couloir and Tuning Forks on Torreys will be skiable for quite some time.

The Northeast Face and North Bowl of Mount Sniktau

The North Gully of Kelso Mountain and the North Face of Mount Edwards in the background.

The South Bowls on Woods Mountain.