East Ridge, New Years Eve...No Summit (but we made a darned nice packed trail :)Ok so, 2 major storms came through the area... we got that, but you never know what conditions are going to be like on a specific peak until you get there, correct?
I will write more later, but for now, I wanted to let everyone know the conditions. The South Colony Lakes road was not plowed (nor driveable for my Jeep Liberty with decent tires) beyond the intersection of So Colony Lakes Rd (CO 120) and Colony Ln (CO 125) so, you may need to add another 0.8 mi. RT to your hike from the lower 2WD parking area.
The snow was very unstable (felt 2 hard layers with my poles), but we felt relatively safe in our route getting up to the ridge. We sank to our knees much of the time, even with snowshoes on and there was quite a bit of "whumping" and small trees shook 15-20' from our steps. I was glad to not be on (or below) an open slope. Once on the ridge, the fun did not cease. I was hoping for a flat, windswept ridge, not so. The uphill continued, the snow was just as deep, and progress continued to be slow.
Long story short, it was a gorgeous hike, but we did not make the summit. Breaking trail took too long and I'd lost my mittens along the way, but we broke a wonderful trail along Rainbow Trail and up the ridge to treeline, should anyone wish to attempt this route or just want to snowshoe around that area before the next snowfall.
...although you may not wish to follow our exact route as we tried to gain the ridge too high up. Next time, I would opt to gain the ridge lower.