Bergschrund is open, but there was a good snowbridge on the right hand side. The ice now stretches all the way across the couloir, but less so on the left. Beautiful textured ice, clear as glass in some places.
Took several North Peak couloir pics on Sunday-9/26/10 while hiking the N Ridge on N Peak.
The ice in the right couloir looks very nice.
Left couloir has lots of exposed rock and debris in its upper 3rd -- wouldn't go there if i were you.
Middle couloir is much less appealing than on 9/8/10 when it held no appeal whatsoever...
Went to climb Left Mendel Couloir (Ice 9) this weekend. Didn't get close enough to really see the condition of the ice but there was lots of it. Got hit with what I assume is the first significant snowfall of the season when we woke up Sunday morning so we had to turn back.
Mt Mendel (Ice 9 ) from across the col on Sunday October 3rd, 2010.
Simul-soloed with a couple of guys from socal (John and Sean) who happened to get there at the same time. ~6 inches of snow in the couloir from the last storm, so you need a partner just to help break trail :)
But there was still some ice & neve exposed, making for a fun climb. The left turn about 3/4 of the way up led to three sub-chutes with some fun & easy mixed. Top out is literally yards from the summit.
Great photo of Red Slate! That makes a fine solo. I've done most of the classic couloirs in the Sierras, and for my taste, when the angle isn't that steep, I prefer doing them in early season, snowy conditions. I've done the right Mendel three times, always somewhat early season. This means the easy angled stuff is solid neve/step kicking, and the steep narrow part is nice ice. I've also seen some spectacular rock fall down the N. face of Mendel, too. I'm not kidding--HOUSE-sized boulders roaring into the basin, clouds of dust. We could easily make out the different facets of the monster chunk as it spun down the wall. We were camped on the opposite side of the valley below Lemark Col. On that trip, we climbed Darwin instead!
With the impending opening of Tioga Pass I am curious what some of these routes look like this time of year. I know the alpine ice conditions wouldn't be present but, for example, would the Dana couloir be an enjoyable snow climb in May? Or will it just be too warm wet snow?