Longs Peak on May 19. Taken from the Boulderfield. Photo: National Park Service.

Longs Peak on May 19. Taken from the Boulderfield. Photo: National Park Service.

Many Coloradans are likely itching to start their warm weather climbing of the state's iconic fourteeners, but be warned – winter conditions still exist at the highest reaches of the state.

The presence of lingering snow and ice was highlighted in a recent report that Rocky Mountain National Park released regarding Longs Peak conditions. As detailed in their report, terrain that's located above treeline is largely covered in a few inches to a few feet of snow. Not only does snow exist, but its inconsistent coverage can create a scary scenario that makes it easy for hikers to step on uneven and hidden rocks lurking below dwindling powder. Conditions of this nature can also make it difficult to follow a route.

Expect conditions similar to those found on Longs Peak on other mountains around the state. As of May 24, Colorado's snowpack is at roughly the same level that it was at the start of January.

The winter-related hazards don't stop there, either.

A wet spring is underway and on peaks around the state, this precipitation can fall as ice or snow. This makes it crucial to be prepared for colder conditions and related complications. Extra layers, boot traction, and extensive knowledge of a given route will be needed for responsible travel in Colorado's high country.

Expect snowpack to stick around at least into June, possibly into July. If you're looking to hike Colorado's fourteeners without needing winter gear, wait until then.

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Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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