Wednesday, July 14, 2010
RMNP Conditions Report - July 14th, 2010
“Flowery action words can’t hide a lack of accomplishment in life. I like it when someone lists things like ‘mountain climbing’ in their resume, because it means he’s geeky enough to feel it’s necessary to prove that he’s not a geek, yet not so geeky that he’s anal retentive.”
Given the relatively high unemployment rate around the country, this seemed like an appropriate quote to start off with on this report. See? Climbing can serve many purposes. So if you want to add “mountain climbing” to your resume (and want to do so safely) why not hire a CMS guide to help you on your way? Aside from helping you get that job, climbing is fun, healthy, and takes you to the world’s most beautiful places. This year in Rocky Mountain National Park is no exception; we are really having an excellent climbing season so far so get out there and accomplish something!
I’ve had many days of climbing in the Park since the last update and the thing that has stood out to me the most has been the lack of climbers. There are lots of people, to be sure: hikers, fishermen, young and old, but not that many climbers. As the Front Range continues to heat up, I’m sure this will change. Early starts are the best way to beat the potential afternoon weather and the hordes escaping the heat. No, I’m kidding…there are never really hordes of climbers in the Park; the hikes are too far for many. The busiest areas are always the same: the Diamond, the Petit, Hallet’s N. Face, and the Book at Lumpy. If you branch out to other places or even less-travelled routes in those places, you’re sure to have to formation or the route to yourself.
“There is no snow on the entire approach to Lambslide, where the snow was already quite soft by 6am. We experienced a bit of balling up but mostly good cramponing. Broadway was functionally snow free; some patches but very easy to avoid (including crossing the base of the Notch Couloir). Upper Kieners was also snow-free though wet in a few places. Warm temps, mostly light winds on route. Rain finally got us between the Boulderfield and Chasm Junction with strong winds and very cold rain. A few booms in the distance but not a very violent storm, passed fairly quickly. On the N. Face it was wet (read: wet rope) and there was one significant snow patch that we plunge-stepped down after the rappels but we probably could have avoided it by veering over by Chasm View. We did not see any massive rockfalls. There was one other party on the route and no one on the summit.”
CMS Guide Mark Kelly was climbing on Hallet’s N. Face, specifically on “Better Than Love” to “Love,” and reports overall dry conditions with a few wet spots to negotiate. Mark also replaced the tat on the second rappel with some new material and two steel quicklinks. Thanks Mark! CMS Guide Steve Johnson was climbing the “Great Dihedral,” also on Hallet and reported that the rock was a little more damp in some areas but overall dry as well. Both guides reported cool temps on the wall, anywhere from the 40s to the 60s…much cooler than anything you’ll find along the Front Range. In fact, this week while on a couple of alpine objectives, I was nestled deep within the comfortable confines of my puffy jacket more than once. During the day.
Andrew Councell is a year-round CMS Guide and Estes Park resident