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Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

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Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby theuglybear » Mon May 20, 2013 2:56 am

A friend and I are thinking about climbing the Grand and Gannett during the first couple weeks of June, and are wondering what sort of snow conditions to expect. Obviously, it will be early in the season, and we expect a lot of snow, but is it still feasible?

On Gannett, with the route proper being primarily a snow climb, it seems like conditions should be nearly optimal, with the snow fully consolidated and 'schrund covered. Is this assumption correct? I expect the approach (Glacier Trail) to be more difficult, however, with plenty of afternoon postholing likely and some potentially tricky stream crossings. Any idea how much snow to expect? Will snowshoes be recommended/necessary?

Similar questions regarding the Grand, but I'm also specifically wondering if the nature and difficulty of the routes will be different than in normal summer conditions. Will we need snow or ice pro, or will it still be a primarily rock route with a little mixed climbing or easy to moderate snow thrown in? Ice tools? We would probably climb either Owen-Spaulding or Exum.

Also, avy danger should be minimal by then, correct?

Thanks.
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby reboyles » Mon May 20, 2013 12:52 pm

I've been watching the SNOTEL site near Hobbs Lake and the current snowpack is equal to what we had on June 21, 2010 when we climbed Gannett. In other words, the Winds are melting out a month earlier than 2010 but it's still too early to call the snow season over there yet. We saw similar conditions in May in 2010 and then it dumped another few feet in early June before we got there. We had to use snowshoes from Photographers Point to Gannett and back, some 30 miles. Having been in there a couple of times, having snow on both sides of Bonney Pass was preferable to hiking over on scree and rubble when it's dry. On our June trip all of the crevasses and the bergshrund were filled in which is good for crossing the berg but maybe not so good for the crevasses because you can't see them. The absolute best thing about our June trip was the total lack of mosquitoes. We saw one on our entire trip. On a previous trip in late July the mosquitoes were so bad I swear they could kill a person if you gave them enough time.

As for the Grand, I've done it both in the early and late season and as long as the route isn't iced up having snow actually made the trip a bit easier because we were able to glissade most of the way down from the Saddle to the mouth of Garnet Canyon. The Exum gets a fair amount of sun so the route should be in good shape by June. The Tetons are also low on snow this year but can still pick up a lot of snow before summer sets in but it sure doesn't look like it's going to happen this year. The NOAA 90 day outlook is for above normal temps and below normal precip for most of the west. You will most likely need crampons and an ax to get to the Lower Saddle in the early season.

Bob
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby theuglybear » Mon May 20, 2013 6:09 pm

Wow, that's actually quite encouraging. I think we'll watch how conditions change and make the call right before the trip, with CO as our backup plan.

Thanks for the reply, Bob.
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby reboyles » Mon May 20, 2013 11:46 pm

I've been on the Exum during the early season and we never needed ice gear even when there was some ice in the cracks here and there. A single ax and a pair of crampons is all we ever carried in the early season. You might find a patch of ice near the top of the Owen-Spaulding and West Face but we always seemed to find a way past it without climbing on ice. When we did go with ice gear the ice wasn't there (the Black Ice Couloir had melted out).

Here's a link to our Gannett TRs.

http://www.summitpost.org/gannett-peak-2010/838830
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby WyomingSummits » Tue May 21, 2013 1:39 am

Yeah, the mountains can melt out faster than people realize. They can also hold snow longer......it's all about keeping a close eye on the weather and being flexible with your planning. The upper elevations in the Tetons had 6-8ft just 2 weeks ago. Now, those same locations are recording 3-5ft. Looks like a dry warm period is headed this way. Barring any additional systems or cold fronts, and looking at the extended forecast, I'd say most of the approach to Gannett should be 80% clear by the 3rd or 4th week of June. Again, all of that can change on a dime. I'm headed there the first weekend in July and plan on bringing my bug netting. First 2 weeks of June should be bug free.
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby WyomingSummits » Fri May 24, 2013 2:13 am

As of right now, most reporting stations in the Winds are showing little to no snow below 9,000ft. Many systems missed them this year. In the Bighorns, we have locations at 9700ft that are showing nearly 40" of current snow depth.
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Re: Gannett and Grand conditions in early June

Postby mfox79 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:27 am

i'm going up Gannett Peak in two weeks. does anyone have any beta on the glacier trail or the snow bridge? I'd love to not carry glacier gear plus it would be nice to know. if I need to should I carry a 60 m rope or a 30M rope
Thanks in advance,

mike
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