Snow Danger 7-29-11

The High Camp team hiked up the Aspen Grove trail on 7/29. Even after hiking this trail for years now, I was really happy to arrive near the lake and make camp before dark to avoid hiking by headlamp. I was also glad I packed the ice axe and crampons. I used both, and some routefinding was required to avoid perils along the trail.

The trail is still in no condition for a casual night hike. After seeing the snow bridges and motes, and the steep snow with exposed rocks, I would not recommend making any plans to be on this trail except during daylight hours and with proper equipment, training, and an understanding of unique spring meltoff dangers. Also add 30% or more to normal hiking times for navigating and traversing snow.