CT Conditions 2019 July 23

Tuesday Blog Post – CONDITIONS 2019 – July 23.

A little snow remains as of July 23, 2019. This 2018 photo thanks to Alex Mandrilla.

A little snow remains as of July 23, 2019. This 2018 photo thanks to Alex Mandrilla.

Closure info at the bottom; avalanche too.

SNOWPACK
Substantially melted but there’s still some remaining snowpack. It’s improving quickly. Informed guesswork continues below, thanks to user and volunteer reports including some with detail. “PASSABLE” indicates that, in our view, it has become easily snow-passable, that enough has melted to no longer be overly arduous or hazardous, and without snow-related navigation challenges.

  • Segs 1-6 passable (no snow left)
  • Seg 7 passable (~1 mile of trampled steep-hillside snow Breck side; travelers succeeding)
  • Seg 8 passable (~ 2 miles of patchy snow fields mostly on gentler hills)
  • Seg 9 passable (limited well-trampled snow in the shade of trees)
  • Segs 10-14 passable
  • Seg 15 passable (travelers bypassing short sections of cornice snow)
  • Segs 16-19 passable
  • Segs 20-21 mostly-passable (most snow filled chutes have shrunk and become easy)
  • Segs 22-23 impassable (snow sections getting easier; revisit your guide often to stay on course)
  • Seg 24 impassable (snow up high still, check your maps often; huge avalanche debris see below)
  • Segs 25-26 impassable (lingering snow patches possibly arduous & nav challenging; travelers pushing through)
  • Seg 27 mostly-passable (tiny patches of steep snow remain plus several downed trees)
  • Seg 28 passable
  • Seg CW01 passable (snow mostly gone)
  • Seg CW02 impassable (~1 mi snow remaining; experienced hikers succeeding with short steep snow on north face Lake Ann Pass)
  • Seg CW03 impassable (shrinking snow fields, some steep; revisit your guide often to follow Trail; some hikers getting through)
  • Seg CW04 passable (small patches of easy snow left)
  • Seg CW05 mostly-passable (one section of steep snow left)

Some CT travelers have pushed through all sections deemed impassable, succeeding by expending more energy than normal, drawing on snow skills, and sometimes using snow-related equipment. They’re reporting that some snowpack is hard and slippery while some is soft and results in post-holing. We’d want trekking poles for sure. We’d also consider knee-high waterproof gaiters for their abrasion protection in the soft, crystalline snow and (maybe) micro-spikes (or stiff-soled boots) for traction where the snow is hard, especially on steeper hills.

Guesses (does not cover every segment)
Guessing Segs 22-26 passable ~ late-July
Guessing Collegiate West CW02-CW03 passable ~ late-July

Snow-line is irregular, probably around 12,200 feet elevation, lower on north- and northeast-facing slopes that melt more slowly, especially in the shade of trees, and higher on south- and southwest-facing slopes that melt more quickly. Using 12,200 feet, you can use the CT Databook or Guidebook and guess how lengthy the snowy sections might still be.

CREEKS AND BRIDGES
Seg 8 Cataract Creek ford, flow has diminished
Seg CW02 Texas Creek ford, flow has diminished
Seg 19 Cochetopa Creek ford, flow has diminished
https://coloradotrail.org/snowpack-2019-and-segment-19-creek-ford/
Seg 24 tributary of Elk Creek ford, flow has diminished
Seg 24 Elk Creek wade along the side where creek is still above the trail, flow has diminished

AVALANCHE RELATED
Seg 7 avalanche debris zones cleared or improved (okay for foot travel; still maybe challenging for stock)
Seg 13 avalanche debris sections cleared (okay for all including stock animals)
Seg 21 avalanche debris pile (not cleared yet; okay for foot travel; challenging for stock)
Seg 24 four huge avalanche debris piles, shifting as snow melts beneath (challenging for careful hikers; not doable for stock animals)
Seg CW02 avalanche debris sections easy for hikers and bicyclists (maybe hard for stock)

CLOSURES
Copper Mountain area: two-mile, trail-season detour affecting parts of CT Segments 7 and 8
https://coloradotrail.org/ct-detour-at-copper-mountain/