Boulder Mail Trail in winter

Nick

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I'm thinking about hiking the full Boulder Mail Trail in January or February this year. I've done it a few times from the air strip to Death Hollow, but never from Death Hollow to the town trailhead across Antone Flat. From the parts I've done, I'm thinking it should be pretty doable assuming there isn't a ton of snow cover at the time. I've been in the area in January and March and either would have been good in those visits. I'd plan on bringing microspikes just in case there were sketchy spots. What I'm not sure about is the climb out to Antone Flat from DH and beyond. Has anyone here done it? Any thoughts on what kind of potential for ice/snow problems it would have in the middle of winter? Anyone feel crazy enough to join me? @intuitive cat
 

mattvogt7

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Hey Nick - I'm of utterly no assistance in your trip planning but I'd 100% be down to join you if the dates work out. Keep me in mind, sounds like an awesome adventure!
 

steve

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I might be interested in that. We were in Boulder for thanksgiving and there was a lot more snow than I was expecting. Assuming it can be safely crossed without falling off a cliff, sounds like fun.
 

Nick

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I might be interested in that. We were in Boulder for thanksgiving and there was a lot more snow than I was expecting. Assuming it can be safely crossed without falling off a cliff, sounds like fun.


Yeah, it's been a good snow year thus far and that area is pretty high in elevation. At the very least the section through the river in Death Hollow is going to be really cold and uncomfortable. I'm thinking the ice conditions on the descent/ascent are going to end up being a bit of a wild card, maybe even forcing a backtrack to the start.
 

Nick

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Yep. It's unavoidable in Death Hollow. Fortunately it's only about 1 mile of canyon between the two points where the BMT enters and exits.
 

Nick

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Haha! Yeah, I suppose I should have mentioned that. The part I'm most worried about is getting up and down the 700-foot entrance and exit. The east side is literally a chiseled out path on the edge of a cliff, but it's out in the open, so if the sun has had a good chance to bake off the snow, it could be fine for the most part.

This shot is out at the beginning of the chiseled path:


And this is looking back up at it, top left in the photo. Follow the line of little bushes.



More photos in the trail guide I just posted for Death Hollow here:

http://backcountrypost.com/forum/trail-guides/death-hollow.78/
 

Nick

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Well let's do it then! Honestly, my schedule is about as flexible as they come with my self employment. I've been hitting it hard on a project writing trail guides the last two months but that wraps up this week and then my load is much lighter. My only criteria would be to shoot for a weekend with a little sunshine. I don't care much if it's freezing cold but I do love that low angle winter sun on sandstone.
 

Cody

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Mar 4, 2012
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In January, I could do MLK weekend or the weekend after. In February, I could do the weekend prior to Presidents Day weekend or the weekend after Presidents Day weekend (but not Presidents Day Weekend).

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mattvogt7

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Sweet! Looks (at the moment) like I am free the first and third weekend -which I believe is MLK weekend - of the month if that helps at all. It is also looking like I'm a go for President's weekend if that would work better (ie warmer temps : )!
 

intuitive cat

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Mar 9, 2012
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oooh. hmmm. i might be up for this though i am not really equipped for winter excursions like this.
looking at the path down, should be good. the color and form of the sandstone means that it gets enough light that it should be melted off.
if it was more northern exposure and not enough light, it would be that darker color with more lichen that you see on north facing cliffs.
if i hear any reports of the trail conditions i will let you know.
 

Artemus

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I've done the whole enchilada east to west. The descent to Death is harder/steeper/more exposed than the west side ascent. No wading required. Water avail. from death west was problematic, in the shoulder season when we went. Marm's creek is to die for. This hike is in my top 5!
 

Bob

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Haven,t done the old mail trail across. Been down Death Hollow from the top road to the Esclante and out to town. Marm's creek / pool is way neat...actually the entire canyon is way neat but you get really wet most of the way. I'd think about it.............
 

Cody

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How is this looking? I'm still open for MLK weekend and a few weekends beyond.

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intuitive cat

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in terms of weather, we have been pretty warm for late december/january and have had no new precipitation. temps are averaging around 40-50 during the day currently and it has been sunny for the most part. still snow on shadowed areas but it is slowly disappearing in most places.
if i get a chance to get out on a walk this weekend maybe i will do a scouting mission out the mail trail to the rim of death hollow and have a look.
still not sure if i can do the trip but really want to.
 

intuitive cat

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Mar 9, 2012
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and on a side note; in terms of supplies in the area, while most businesses are shut down for the off season, i've been able to keep Hills and Hollows in Boulder open 9-5 7 days a week still and should be able to do so through January with limited hours to follow after. we're not fully stocked but have a lot of stuff still, trail bars, some camping supplies, etc. and even have a decent produce and perishables order coming next week (a big deal down here this time of year). So if any of you need to stock up on any supplies when you come to the area, stop in, or even let me know before you come if there is something in particular you may need and i can se what i can do. maybe i can even give you a little BCP member discount ;)
i live right behind the store too, so even if we are not open i am happy to come down and open up to help anyone in need. just so ya know.
 
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