Hoping to climb Telescope Peak for the first time in a couple of weeks--does anyone know what the snow/ice conditions are usually like in early March? Temps seem to be well above freezing during the day, but I've heard that it can get icy.
I was up there weekend before last (Feb 19), there was patchy snow on the northern aspects from about 8500 ft, getting deeper and more consistent up to the summit with some drifted areas up to waist deep, but mostly a lot less than that. Windswept parts of the ridge, and southern aspects, were very patchy with a lot of dry ground. I summitted at sunset, and the snow was mostly pretty soft by that point. I didn't bother taking an axe knowing the temps would be moderate (just had poles) and I'd be summiting late, although I did take some microspikes which were useless in the soft snow everywhere except along the summit ridge where some of the snow was icy. But even there you could pretty easily dodge the icy areas, and that part is basically level so you don't even need traction really.
I only did the last mile or so of the normal trail as I hiked up from Shorty's well down in the valley, and I've never done the rest of the regular trail so can't speak to how it would be with snow/ice, but the final several hundred feet up to the summit is fairly steep. On my trip because it was soft it was no problem, other than being really tiring at the end of a long climb, but if it were really cold and that part firm/icy, crampons and maybe an axe could be nice. But as soft as it was when I was up there, I'd think the only way you'd hit really firm/icy conditions would be if it was a particularly cold day and/or you summit very early in the day.
It's been pretty warm and no new snow since then, going to continue that way until later this week when maybe it'll get a dusting. So in general it seems you'll probably have some patchy snow on your trip if it's in the next week or two, and depending on the temps and time of day it may be icy in places or mostly soft, seems more likely to be mostly soft.
I've attached some photos from the weekend before last when I climbed it, and from last weekend from across the valley. Sorry, no good photos of the snowiest parts of the trail, I was too busy trying to get my tired self up to the top at that point.
I'm not sure when you are going, but after weeks and weeks of warm weather with just one storm a couple of weeks ago, SoCal is supposed to get a significant storm this weekend, and possibly another in a week. Snow levels will probably be 7000+ for any significant snow, but there is a good chance the conditions will not be the same after this weekend as they were on March 1. Just an FYI as I've never been to Telescope Peak (though would love to go sometime!).
Looking at the point forecast for the peak area, doesn't look like too much snow is expected from the weekend storms, maybe a few inches. Of course forecasts aren't perfect, but should be in the right ballpark so doubtful there will be a ton of new snow. Hopefully you can get up there soon and let us know for sure though!