Ice Climbing Conditions Report from 12/6/11

On Tuesday, December 6, I had the opportunity to head out to Rocky Mountain National Park with CMS Senior Guide Steve Johnson.  We were skiing around to check out ice conditions in the Glacier Gorge and Loch Vale areas in RMNP and then headed to Hidden Falls.  The temps were cold on Tuesday, but there was no wind, making for a great day out in the park.  Check out the photos below!
CMS Senior Guide prepared for the cold day.  Layers were shed 15 minutes from the trailhead.
Dragontail Couloirs.
2.2 miles to this point. We decided to go to Mills Lake first, then Loch Vale.
Skinning in on the well packed trail.
There are a few thin spots with rocks on the trail, so heads up on the ski down!
Mills Lake- all alpine lakes are completely frozen over.
All Mixed Up is IN!
Loch Vale:  Mixed Feelings and Mo “Flo” Than Go.
Loch Vale- Chrystal Meth.
Steve skinning in on Loch Vale, with the Cathederal Spires in the background.
South Face of Otis.
Crypt is IN.
Passing over the creek on the way to Hidden Falls.
Hidden Falls. Heads up- conditions changed within 24 hours and it doesn’t look like this anymore.
Thursday afternoon I recieved a phone call in the office for updated Hidden Falls ice conditions.  The ice changed within 24 hours and climbers on Wednesday said that most of the ice was gone.  Pillars had fallen and it is now a cold, wet, gushing waterfall, with nothing much left to climb.  We advise to let Hidden Falls build up again before you head out to climb.
We have ice courses heading out this weekend, so give me a call and I can get you all set up!  We also offer custom guiding any day of the week.  Steve Johnson, along with all our guides, would be stoked to take you out for a day of ice climbing!
-Katy Pfannenstein
Colorado Mountain School
Sales and Marketing Associate
Expedition Manager
1-800-836-4008 ext 3