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Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

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Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby Charles2 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:31 am

I am planning to cross Alpine and Lamarck Cols in late July. I will be solo. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has crossed either or both recently regarding snow and the advisability of taking an ice axe with me. Thanks.



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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby MooseTracks » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:12 am

Probably headed over Alpine at the end of this weekend. Stay tuned for my TR. But if the weather we're having continues, I would bet it'll be down to the nice boulder slof it's purported to be by the time you get there!

-L :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby Charles2 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:03 am

Thanks, I'll stay tuned for your report.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby CSF » Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:32 am

My friend and I just day hiked to just below Lamarck Col yesterday. There were three large snow fields to cross which we easily did up and down w/out axe or crampons. A little soft in some places and didn't see any ice. The snow extends from the lake to notch of the Col. We didn't go up to the notch at the col proper, but did see one backpacker coming down w/out axe. Many foot prints coming down the col from two notches. The snow is melting fast so at the end of July wouldn't think it would be much of a problem unless it's icy.
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Glad to see this.

Postby gregw822 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:39 am

I'll cross Lamarck myself for the first time on 7-29. I'm going solo and have been a bit concerned about the snow field below the col. Thanks!
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby Charles2 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:33 am

I'm bumping this to see if there is anything more recent.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby quentinc » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:00 pm

I just did it this weekend. It looked daunting to me -

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- so daunting that, I'm embarrassed to admit, I spent over an hour trying to scope out a Class 3 route that avoided the snow.

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I gave up on that and just decided to try it and it turned out to be incredibly easy.

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I was up in under 20 minutes. The snow is just the right texture -- soft but not so soft that you have to posthole. All you need are gaiters and hiking poles.

Image
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby Charles2 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:33 am

Thanks for the photos; they really help. I think I'll take my light ice axe along for self-arrest just in case the snow is harder when I get there. I'll be going downhill and it looks like a straightforward down-plunge with a run-out into a cold lake if you get loose. Again, thanks for taking the trouble to post the photos.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby quentinc » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:59 pm

Sure thing.
By the way, downhill was really easy too -- you couldn't glissade anywhere if you wanted. I crossed at about 11am, but I can't imagine it was icy even in the early a.m.

By the way, and you may already know this, but it seems someone has built a trail near the top of the south side. I only discovered this in the last 50 feet of my ascent, but the trail looked a lot longer.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:05 pm

That nps trail does good by concentrating foot traffic on a firmer surface for the top few hundred feet where sliding granite sand otherwise fills everywhere. The snowfield has enough pitch that if one falls outside areas of large suncups during early mornings before it softens up, they are likely to accelerate all the way to the bottom and get mangled on talus. Like all glaciers, conditions may are certain to be more difficult after the previous winter's seasonal snow melts off leaving the hard glacial ice at the surface. However by then, a foot path has usually been ground deeply into the slippery route. Even by afternoon the glacial snow is likely to be impossible without ice axe and crampons.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:37 pm

I don't think there are any areas outside of large suncups.
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Re: Snow on Alpine and Lamarck Cols

Postby Charles2 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:19 am

Thanks everyone. I am leaving tomorrow. I'll let you know how it all worked out when I get back.
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