9 May 2003 - by Gary Hellenga

I asked for info on conditions around the Crestones a couple weeks ago, and some of you asked me to relay any info I got, so here's what we found on our trip:

South Colony Lakes road was in pretty good condition for about 1.5 miles past 2WD parking, then had some fairly deep snow coverage on parts of the road. From where we parked to our camp just SW of Lower South Colony Lake, it was about 4-4.5 miles of hiking.

Hiking in on 3 May, snow was solid enough in the morning to hike w/o snowshoes. After passing Rainbow Trail junction, road was pretty much continually snow-covered. I suspect we'd have been postholing if we'd traveled in the afternoon.

No tracks from the first trailhead, so we headed up the road continuation toward the switchback below Broken Hand Peak. We cut up thru the woods just east of the bend, though, due to slide conditions on the SE side of Broken Hand.

Found a good bench with wind sheltering in trees just SW of the lake. This was a good camp - although we heard the wind wailing all night, we hardly ever felt it move the tents. Were visited at nightfall by a pesky snowshoe hare.

Had high winds and snow Sunday morning, so we didn't get far. E slopes of Broken Hand on route to Broken Hand Pass showed evidence of wet snow slides on Sat afternoon, but were nicely set up Sunday morning (low dropped into high 20's overnight, I'd guess). Slopes heading up to W saddle on Humboldt across the way looked slide-prone.

Would have been a great weekend, if it weren't for the ground blizzard Sunday morning.

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