Current RMNP Conditions

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Snow, Ice, and Avalanche Conditions Reports for Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado described by IFMGA Guide Eli Helmuth; an AIARE L1 and L2 Instructor, Avalanche Forecaster, AMGA Guide Trainer and Estes Park resident since 1999.

March 15th Photo of the Week

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Jim Sogi, Perry Dickerson, and Dave Burns crest the ridge above the amazing Hobbit Hop Couloir, above the Pika Glacier with the massive Kahiltna Glacier in the distance.  This is one of our favorite runs off the Pika as gaining the top of this 1000' powder stash is relatively easy and mostly downhill from our typical glacier campsite.  

We'll be returning to the Alaska Range from April 13-20th if you'd like to join the fun on this week-long "ski-plane camping" adventure where we ski the best snow every day for a week of Alaskan bliss.  Beautiful snow conditions, warm daytime temperatures, great food and companionship, comfortable camping, and a mountain ski experience without comparison are what we have to offer.  This has been one of Eli's favorite trips for the last 20 years of adventures in the Alaska Range and there's a great reason for why he keeps returning:  Because it's amazing up north!

Join Eli this year to experience and celebrate 20 years of successful  journey's through one of the world's greatest mountain landscapes.  We have space available for a few more capable skiers or split-boarders.  Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to register for this experience of a lifetime.

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Feb. 2nd Photo of the Week

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This view  from the east ridge of Mount Meeker (13,911') gives a great perspective of the Ships Prow which is the distinct and featured rock ridge that is the remnant of the medial moraine which once divided the large glaciers in the cirque.  It currently divides the valley that contains Chasm Lake from the one that we travelled up below Mt. Meeker that connects with the Loft, Flying Buttress, and Iron Gates features on the north face of Mount Meeker. 

There are numerous rock routes on the Ship's Prow (11,800') including a few of the hardest in RMNP including the Sarchasm (14a), Baloney Poney (12c), and the newest three, all 3-pitch trad routes put up by Topher Donahue and Tommy Caldwell that rank in the 5.13R range.

The small snowslope below the east face of Longs Peak is the remnant of the Mills Glacier, named after one of Longs Peak's first mountain guides,  a naturalist, and founding father of RMNP;  Enos Mills.  His historic log cabin still sits in the meadows across the valley from this, his favorite mountain and one of ours.

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Jan. 23rd Conditions Report

Alpine climbing and backcountry skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park.   Snowpack, ice,  and alpine climbing conditions are forecast by Eli Helmuth, an AMGA certified rock, alpine, and ski mountaineering guide and owner of ClimbingLife Guides.

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Hallett Crimping

Eli Helmuth on the crux pitch of  "Jackin' the Johnson" 5.11  with Michael Arnold of ClimbingLife Guides on a photo shoot for Rab Gear.  This Second Buttress of Hallett is home to many classics including this newer addition, established by Eli in 2007.  Check-out Fredrik Marsater's fantastic action photography at http://fredrikmarmsater.com/

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Dec. 9th Photo of the Week

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Ypsilon Mountain and the close to town Sundance Buttress are both in the Mummy Range of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The Mummy Range is the northern most part of the park and the park boundary lies just north of these big peaks. 

Sundance is the name of the highest point along the western end of the ridge known affectionately as "Lumpy".  It is also the name given to this cliff which is the largest and furthest west of the dozens of rock buttresses that are scattered along this south-facing ridge, just a three minute drive from downtown Estes Park, Colorado.

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Jan. 1st Photo of the Week

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The "Otis Gendarme" on the east end of Otis Peak (12,486') above Lake Haiyaha.  Otis Peak seperates the Chaos Canyon with Lake Haiyaha on it's north side from the Loch Vale and Andrews Glacier to it's south. 

Perhaps the most non-descript peak in this area of Rocky Mountain National Park, Otis contains a few hidden jewels on it's south face including the famed Zowie and Wowie towers which are the smaller and sharper cousins of their upstream relatives: the Petit Grepon and the Saber.  This photo was taken  as the new snow was just starting to be picked up by the wind as it was simultaneously hit by the sunrise light below a setting moon. 

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December 1st Photo of the Week

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The south ridge on Huandoy Sur (6160m) is one of the largest massifs in the Cordillera Blanca with four summits above 6,000m.  We'll be returning to this view in May of 2013 on our scheduled Pisco-Chopicalqui Expedition that is for sure happening and qualified climbers are welcome to join.   Check-out the trip information here or contact us:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The original name of the mountain was Tullparaju, which comes from the Quechua words tullpa ("stone fireplace") and raju ("ice"), so Tullparaja means "ice capped mountain in shape of a fireplace."

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Sept. 27th Photo of the Week

 

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The north face of Ranrapalca (20,217') shines under a mid-day tropical sun nearby Huaraz, Peru.

Viewed from nearby high camp on the adjacent Vulunaraju , the north face of Ranrapalca (Quechua language meaning stoney ground branching in several places) is an appropriate description for this solid  granite and ice escarpment, threatened on much of this north aspect by a massive serac barrier.  The west ridge (right) is one of the more striking of the Cordillera Blanca if only because of its visibility from downtown Huaraz.

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September 14th Photo of the Week

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Framed by the rock walls of the Llaca Valley, the west face of Ocshapalca (5888m) is an alpine ice climber's dream face with numerous routes up this 600 meter ice and granite escarpment.

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Aug. 18th Photo of the Week

 

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One of the more spectacular mountain sunsets I've viewed in more than 25 years of alpine travel made for a dramatic conclusion to a great day in the Glacier Gorge of Rocky Mountain National Park.  

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