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Henry Mountains Snow Levels

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Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby McCannster » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:47 pm

I'll be chilling on a houseboat on Lake Powell after finals in a little over a week...I've got a few days to kill after we disembark from the house boat before I'm meeting up with my partner in Moab for climbing in Canyonlands. Thinking about hiking Mt Ellen on one of those days, I'm wondering if anybody's been in the area and has insight on snow levels in the Henry Mountains. I'm suspecting that the road to Bull Creek Pass will be snowed over. Anybody prediction of how far I'll be able to drive up the road, from the east approach?
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby Alex Wood » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:51 am

I am going up there the end of May. Let me know how it is!
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby Castlereagh » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:05 am

I was looking at the Henrys for Mid-May as a long shot prospect. Obviously everything depends on this year's snowpack, among other factors, but Kelsey's book says

After a long dry spell in the dead of winter, you can get close to Bull Peak, then you'll have to walk up the road. The easiest way is to road-walk all the way to the Pass, then ridge-walk north; but it's a long walk. Going through Sawmill Basin will likely have lots of deep powder snow, but it's a shorter climb...Going up on a south-facing slope will give you less snow and harder snow. Most of the time you can get close enough to Mt. Ellen to do it on a one-day climb. You'll probably never need an ice ax or crampons.


Obviously Mike Kelsey is a controversial character, so you can take it or leave it with his advice. From everything I've read though the southern Henry's (Pennell and Hillers) melt out much faster than the Ellen area.

I'll probably start calling the forest service and BLM for conditions in this and other areas once it gets closer to Mid-May.


Edit: Kelsey's book is definitely referencing the eastern approach to Bull Creek Pass
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby KirtDavis » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:20 am

What I would be worried about is the roads getting there. They were pretty rough when I was there a few years ago. Not really a place one would want to be stuck.
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby ericwillhite » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:00 am

In 2008 I tried to drive up that road on May 5th. It was a similar snow year. I was stopped by snow 200 feet past Lonesome Beaver campground. The area there is heavy forest and shades the snowpack quite well.
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby Castlereagh » Thu May 05, 2011 11:38 pm

Just called the BLM today. They said the road is snowed in still past Lonesome Beaver. Still snow on the peaks too.
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Re: Henry Mountains Snow Levels

Postby McCannster » Mon May 16, 2011 4:48 am

I ended up in the area on May 10/11. Drove up from the west to Nasty Flat. You could probably drive another 3/4 mile further towards the pass before the snow drifts. Still lots of snow above 10k feet. Mount Ellen was totally doable though, took me 5 hours car to car from Nasty Flat.
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