May 5, 2018. We started at the Atmospheric Research Center - just my 12 years old son and me, with snowshoes on our packs. Trail was dry and beautiful -- misty morning with some spitting rain. A few muddy spots. After the Marble Mountain summit where the ski lift used to end, we saw more ice. The ice started to accumulate and it was hard to walk, sometime we had to pull ourselves up by the trees on the edge of the trail and thinking "how will I come down this." People with microspikes passed us. Then snow started to replace the ice at upper elevations. We put on our snowshoes, which have metal teeth beneath, and things got much better. The bootpack right now is very narrow, and if we stepped on either side one leg would slide off and twist you while your other leg still had purchase -- tough walking... keep one foot in front of the other and be careful where the bootpack is crumbling. We post-holed in more then 3' - 4' of snow. My got one leg in so deep we had to dig it out -- even with my help, we couldn't pull him out of the compacted snow. I post-holed to my waist several times. Snowshoes were helpful, but very awkward if you slid off the boot pack. I wrenched one knee near the top. The arete is magnificent right now -- some snow still around, but many rocks exposed and the weather turned clear just as we were getting up there. We reached the summit, but I was unable to go back down the trail because of the pain in my knee and we had to give up on Esther, which we were saving for the descent. At that point I could only take small linear steps, so we walked down the road, 5.5 miles (I think) of steep downhill pavement back to our car (which is nearly harder on your legs than taking a trail!). The road is mostly clear of snow but not yet open to cars, and the amazing Iron People were already riding up it on their road bikes.
We recommend you take microspikes and snowshoes at this point. Snowshoes alone might be enough given how much snow is still on top and if it doesn't freeze again. They bite nicely into the icy spots. Given the forecast, we think there will be some snow for at least another couple of weeks, particularly in the shaded trails on upper elevations.