With all this warm weather, the lower-elevation ice is coming down. Again in the Park yesterday, we witnessed a number of “pitches” that were there at the beginning of the week but are gone now. On the other hand, the snow that was so punishingly deep for climbers/hikers has now settled and makes for easier off-trail travel. If you’re planning on going far from the normal trails, however, I’d still recommend snowshoes. And this higher-elevation ice may be improving as a result of these temps. Yesterday on the NE Face of Notchtop, there was fat, wet ice that wasn’t there last weekend. With freezing temps each night, hopefully we’re seeing more ice form up than melts out each day. Much of the alpine ice is still a little thin to climb with adequate protection. Many of the lower-angle smears, like All Mixed Up, are barely protectable with stubbies and water can be seen running between the ice and rock. Yesterday we could hear the water running and the ice creaking and groaning under our weight…not very confidence-inspiring. If the weather stays this nice, I’d recommend going rock climbing in the Front Range and give these routes another week.
AMGA Certified Rock Guide