Sayres Benchmark  
Condition Updates  
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2022-06-02, By: wfinley19
Info: No snow on the approach, has a small apron and pretty bare in some spots in the couloir. It's probably seen it's last ski, this season, unless you hit it after a new storm rolls through. X-rated is definitely out for the season. It was 12.5miles round trip due to not having snow to skin. Some serious bushwhacking is required and you gatta choose between staying high in the talus, scrambling, or along the creek going through some very very thick willow shrubbery. Super super fun and rewarding line, definitely recommend! Climbed about 4500 total vert. The ski down it about 2k. Get out there! 
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2022-05-14, By: LetsGoMets
Info: A freeze Friday night (and some previous days freeze/thaw) had Grand Central in excellent climbing conditions. Booted down GC around 9am, was still in good shape but warming quickly. Couloir is still full and in top to bottom. Approach was good on the way in, and turned pretty sloppy on the way back. Go Team C.W.A.D. 
Route: X-Rated
Posted On: 2022-05-08, By: stomblin7
Info: Started a bit later than desired around 4:15 am. Opted to put on snowshoes around 2 mi into the approach. Beginning was semi dry but snow become quite punchy in treeline across the last major creek crossing. Took 3 hrs to reach base of couloir where we dropped snowshoes. Couloir was pretty soft throughout but snow was very soft in upper sections making kicking steps difficult. Couloir took us about 1.5 hrs. Descended Grand Central and chose not to glissade due to snow and length. 3 hrs back to car with breaks starting 11:30 am and messy sloppy post-holing snow to enjoy  
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2022-05-01, By: cottonmountaineering
Info: snow is in great shape top to bottom, it appears someone glissaded down the entire route which created a bit of a pit/runnel, if you're on skis its a little annoying in a few areas near the top but then it opens up afterwards. approach was mostly snow, some postholing here and there but nothing crazy. 
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Route: X-rated
Posted On: 2022-05-01, By: bangerth
Info: We took the X-rated couloir up and Grand Central back down glissading. Conditions in the couloirs were fantastic, with everything nicely covered in snow and no rock bands melted out yet. This might be the best couloir I've climbed in my life (which, however, still only covers two springs of climbing couloirs :-) ). We met two parties of skiers at the top, both having come up via Grand Central -- for a 13er, it was outright crowded. The relatively flat area from treeline to the base of the mountain was without trouble, but both on the way up and down, the stretch below treeline was on par with the worst postholing I've experienced in my life. The snow is soft, even in the early morning, and was just mashed potatos on the way down. Even with snowshoes it was tough, and the last two or three hours getting back from the high basin were spent in "death march mode". 
Route: South Fork Lake Creek
Posted On: 2021-10-24, By: angry
Info: Alpine start of 10:30am. Ascended via ridge and descended road. Snow is not continuous from th. Long dry stretches and where snow is present, averages around 3 inches and never more than 6 in wind drifted areas. 
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Route: FS 392
Posted On: 2021-10-16, By: gcook33
Info: Probs the most beautfiul day I've had hiking since May. Bluebird and perfect temps. Snow from TH to Summit. First 3 miles of the road there's now a nice bootpack from two hunters and myself. I ascended using the road but descended using the ridge. Would absolutely recommend taking the ridge at the 3.1 mile point, very little snow and very mellow terrain. You can then exit the ridge and hit the road again, walking on the 1' shoulder of dry road. Didn't use any traction, but be mindful as you ascend from the saddle on the last push to Sayres, slippery and loose rock. 
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2021-05-01, By: spoony
Info: Skied Grand Central today. With no freeze overnight, the road at the trailhead was a series of deep puddles, one of which I managed to step in after just 2 minutes of walking in the dark. At least it was warm, so my wet sock wasn't an issue. The trail is mostly snow-packed and icy in the trees after the footbridge, so microspikes might be useful. I was in ski boots and didn't need traction until I put on crampons in the couloir. Today was so warm that even before sunrise, if you got off the beaten path, it was posthole city and it was worse on the way down. Above tree line, the snow firmed up, but I still broke through a few times if I took my skis off, so flotation is recommended. Snow in the Grand was firm and springlike down low on the apron but still holding on to some winter characteristics up higher. I topped out at 9:45 and clicked in for the ski pretty much immediately. I maybe could have waited another 15 minutes for perfect couloir conditions. You could ski from the summit right into the couloir. The trip out required some adventure skiing to avoid postholing in the soft snow for as long as possible. Also, for those who are interested, I was intending to get X Rated, but coverage looked real thin so I went with the Grand. 
Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2021-04-17, By: climbingcue
Info: Good snow up X-Rated and a nice snowboard down Grand Central Couloir. We put a great boot pack in. 
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Route: from Sayres Gulch road
Posted On: 2020-08-03, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: If you're a biker, bring your bike! This road is in great shape, and would be driveable in a sedan if it weren't for the trees starting to grow in the center of it (and the gate). This road goes almost all the way to the summit of UN13,460, and is impressively not rocky, just a bit gravelly, and overall pretty pleasant. I'm not a biker, but I kept thinking to myself the whole way up and down how bikeable it is. You'd probably have to dismount a total of 5 times one way due to a couple downed trees and some thicker willows, but that's it. I'm really surprised someone hasn't put up a report of biking this one. It's not on private property, it's not in a wilderness area, it's yours for the taking. Please do it! I took the road to the summit of UN13,460 (there are two 13ers listed on this site with an elevation of 13,460, but they have no accompanying letters, and their elevations on the topo map differ), took the ridge over to Sayres, then descended to the road and sidehilled on a faint use trail to avoid elevation gain. When not on the road or grass, everything is chossy. Not terribly fun, but he views are spectacular. Definitely coming back for this one in winter because the views are worth it, and its North face looks spectacular. Worth doing in summer though, I'm surprised more people don't. edit: I am, a day later, realising that I did not summit 13,460 and I am quite upset about it. Didn't do my research well enough I guess. The top of the road is 13,430, and 13,460 is the peak just north of that. Don't make my mistake inaccidentally orphaning this tricentennial... 
Route: North face east couloir
Posted On: 2020-06-16, By: HikerGuy
Info: Grand Central looks like it has been out for a couple of weeks. X-Rated could probably still be climbed, but it has melted out in two short sections about halfway up. I decided on the east couloir which was still continuous from its apron to the ridge. Turned out to be a nice climb, approximately 930 feet. On the approach, follow the WEST side of the creek up La Plata gulch, stay just high enough to remain out of the willows. There is a good log to cross the creek right after leaving the La Plata Peak trail. A bit of avalanche debris to navigate at the start, but not that bad, much easier than I expected. Ridge over neighboring 13ers is clear and the descent from 13,300 is not bad either. 
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Route: Road up, ridge down
Posted On: 2020-06-12, By: WildWanderer
Info: Mostly snow free. No traction needed early in the morning just below summit, but spikes would most likely be helpful in the afternoon. The water in the creek crossing never went past my knees. Took the ridge to 13,460. All clear. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-26, By: soybean56
Info: Grand Central and X-rated both are in good condition for climbing. Great snow on the edges of each. The middle of Grand Central did get a little soft, but nothing bad. Go get 'em! Image 1 shows X-rated on left and Grand Central on right about 1/3 way up coulior. Image 4 is an image of the finish of Grand Central. Also, the GTX file and some of the reports discuss crossing to the west side of the creek on the way up. There are remnants of a trail along the east side of the creek the entire length up the valley. I found that easier to descend than my ascent up the east side of the creek. 
Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-25, By: Grover
Info: A view of Sayres Benchmark from the summit of Bull Hill. 
Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-22, By: supranihilest
Info: X-Rated is IN, go get it! La Plata Trail is mostly dry with some patchy snow, should be frozen in the morning. I left the trail at almost exactly 11,000 feet and bushwhacked up La Plata Gulch. It was not as bad as expected. Sayres stares you down for a long while. As I got close I could simply walk on the snow in the drainage instead of willowbash. Crampons and at least one axe are 100% mandatory, this thing is steep and unrelenting. Snow was super firm and a bit icy on the surface today, which sometimes meant a few kicks to make a step, sometimes it just took one. There's a semi-exposed rock band about a third of the way up that was pretty hair-raising though fortunately the rock was pretty good quality. A second easier rock band comes shortly after. I dodged the large boulder near the top by going right, then left to the summit ridge where the angle finally drops off after about 1,800 solid feet of climbing! Awesome! There's a cornice but it seemed small and stable. I would say skiing is possibly out already with the exposed rock, but perhaps not. I did not descend the couloir, instead going to Point 13,460, so I cannot speak to down climbing conditions, but you'd probably be facing in most of the time. Grand Central looked great as well. 
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Route: X-Rated Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-17, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: We climbed Grand Central Couloir and skied X-Rated Couloir. Snow was continuous from the top by skiing 100' east off the summit before dropping left from the edge of a cornice to enter the top of the couloir. The top was powder then it turned to corn and creamy at the bottom. The choke in the steep section was getting thin but we were able to ski between the rocks. Skied all the way back to the La Plata trail at 11,100' and post-holed back to our shoes at 10,900'. A painful ending but worth it. 
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2020-05-17, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Grand Central still has a lot of snow and now it has a good boot staircase to the top. Snow on the La Plata trail starts at about 10,500' and is soft in the afternoon. Once to 11,100', where the you leave the La Plata trail for Sayres, the snow is continuous to the to of Grand Central. Then it's 100' of rock/dirt to reach the summit. 
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-25, By: Tim A
Info: Come prepared for a long day on this one. The willow-bashing was for miles on the approach. Stay on the La Plata trail as long as possible, leaving to parallel the stream only when the trail turns climbers left (east). Even doing that, don't expect to find many game trails through the willows on the approach. Carried snowshoes to the apron of the couloirs but never wore them all day. There were some unavoidable snow fields but even on the exit at 1130am-ish postholing wasn't terrible (overnight low was listed at 30, TH temp was 35 at 245am) Grand Central and X-rated are both still in and full. Top of grand central, exit far left side of the couloir to get around the big cornice. Snow conditions varied from bulletproof near the top to styrafoam on the lower half (from 8-10am). At 1030, the upper 50 feet of the couloir was still very hard, but after downclimbing that it made for a stellar glissade to the apron. 
Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-24, By: Cereal
Info: Ascended Grand Central and descended Grand Central. Coverage was still very good and continuous on both Grand Central and X-Rated! (More snow than in Photo #8 of the Route Description…) Between departure from the La Plata Trail and the base of the couloir, snowshoes were essential for traversing through/across/atop the snow-covered willows. This took a long time.... Today (temps ~20F and very cloudy), the last ~100 feet of the couloir was very hard and required a solid effort to kick steps in with the crampons. The far left of the couloir is certainly passable, after which I removed crampons for (what I didn't realize was) a very short walk up to the summit. I wish I'd left the crampons on, because I had to put them back on in order to downclimb the top 100 feet of the couloir, before transitioning to a safe glissade the rest of the way. The approach/return through La Plata Gulch, despite its willowyness, is very pretty and pleasant, particularly during today's return when the sun finally appeared and treated me to excellent views of the high peaks north of 82. Edit: Added one photo. You may see why I decided to go Grand Central rather than X-Rated.... I wanted a safer quick bailout in case the weather turned from just gross to actually bad. 
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Route: Grand Central Couloir
Posted On: 2019-06-03, By: Tornadoman
Info: Grand Central Couloir in good shape with a nice boot track most of the way. A large cornice remains at the top, which we snuck under to the left (this was the toughest part of the couloir as the snow was hard packed/no booter). We ran the ridge to UN 13,460 and 13,300 which required off and on crampons/axe and also some dry rock work. Snow was an unsupportive mess below treeline on the descent. 

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