1st timers headed for Snowmass

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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1st timers headed for Snowmass

Postby ripple_bc » Sat May 19, 2007 7:45 pm

Me and a buddy are coming out to climb Snowmass over Labor Day. This will be the first 14er for both of us. The plan is to hike the standard route up Snowmass Creek to Snomass lake, then hang out at the lake for a day or two to get acclimated. I have two qestions so far...

1. How much climbing gear if any is needed to reach the sumit?

2. Will we need crampons and ice axes that time of year?

I'm new to the site but think I'm going to be here alot from now on.

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Postby MtHurd » Sat May 19, 2007 8:08 pm

Snowmass is named Snowmass because of the huge permanent snowfield that I believe the standard route goes over. I am pretty sure you won't need crampons on it that late in the year but it would probably make the ascent faster if you did. I climbed Snowmass from the Lead King Basin side (opposite the standard route) and you will definitely not need any snow gear over there although it would probably be wise to take a helmet because of the loose rock. I highly recommend this side because of the beauty and the lack of crowds. You will need a 4x4 though to get to the trailhead on that side. Labor Day is usually a great time to climb 14ers with the least amount of snow to deal with unless you run into an early storm.
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Postby ripple_bc » Sat May 19, 2007 8:37 pm

Thanks for the info. How about climbing gear.
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Postby gdthomas » Sat May 19, 2007 9:11 pm

I climbed Snowmass from the Lead King Basin side. My recollection looking down on the snowfield from the summit was that an ice axe and helmet would be helpful. I know people who have climbed Snowmass from the Snowmass Lake side and none of them mentioned the need for crampons, certainly not in early September. To be sure, you might want to contact Ute Mountaineer in Aspen (970) 925-2849. One of the locals who work there should be able to answer your questions.
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Postby frozenfire075 » Sat May 19, 2007 9:28 pm

i would say you would definitely not need climbing gear for snowmass....just water and shoes and u'll be on top in a couple hours. beautiful area.
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Postby Timmy » Sun May 20, 2007 8:34 am

You should definitely take an ice ax and crampons in June. I would also take snow shoes but you may not need them. Read my trip report from July to get a sense of what you will expect. Have fun!
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Postby top pin » Sun May 20, 2007 8:44 am

For Labor Day (September), I agree with Frozenfire075. There is no need for any climbing gear, snowshoes, crampons, or ice axes. Depending on your final approach and climbers above you, you may need to watch for falling rocks. Welcome.
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Postby shanahan96 » Sun May 20, 2007 1:57 pm

the "permanent snowfield" on snowmass has melted out sometime in august the past two summers. once again, you shouldn't need your axe or crampons at that time but ice can still be a concern. any patches of snow/ice that hasn't melted by that time is completely consolidated(maybe too much?) and should be considered a runaway skating rink.

we had to dodge a few of this on the backside of the sleeping sexton last august. my buddy bloodied his knee fairly badly after a 10-foot slip, fall and crash into the rocks below.

you should be fine; just keep an eye on your surroundings. these are instances which you normally don't see coming until they're already in motion.


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