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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-07-25||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: We climbed Sneffels via the Southwest Ridge and descended via the standard route on Saturday. The Southwest Ridge is entirely snow free, however there is still a large patch of snow in the gully on the descent down the standard route. The snow was soft enough to sink into and walk down (we used microspikes to help), but you can also avoid it by staying to the climber‘s left and hugging the rocks.
|2015-07-22||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Hey, lots of Sneffels updates recently, but I wanted to provide some better information about the "alternate" route to avoid the snow in the trough. For starters, if you arrive near the top of the trough in the morning, the snow is firm and the steps are great. You can get up without any traction/poles. However, coming down can be a little iffy. The past few Sneffels CTs mention a route on the left of the trough, but don‘t really explain where it is. I had some trouble locating it from the bottom because you can‘t really see a good line to the top. But, eventually i did find it. As you head into the trough look to your left about a 100 yards in before the main snow area. You‘ll see a small snow trench. If you look up you‘ll see a cairn. Head across the snow trench and head up the rocks. Once up on the rib, it‘s kind of choose your own adventure to the summit, but keep the trough to your right. Nothing tricky (Class 2 +). See picture.
|2015-07-20||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Just an FYI that the secind gully is still snow filled. We were able to just skirt up the left side on the edge of the snow but you might want your axe, I forgot mine.
|2015-07-16||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The road driving up to Yankee Boy Basin was in great shape. Once you see the sign for 4 Wheel Drive only you should take heed. There are 3 - 4 places in the road that require 4WD and a high clearance. We stopped at the lower trailhead at about 11,350 feet and hiked from there. (Toyota Rav 4 driven) The loose rock and dirt in the gully was a bit of a challenge since the ground kept sliding out from under me. At times if felt like I would lose half a step for each step. Stay to the left side on your way up. It‘s much easier to walk in the loose rocks than in the dirt. Once you reach the saddle and turn to the left and head up the steeper gully you‘ll encounter quite a bit of packed ice and snow after less than 100 feet into this gully. Do not take this route unless you have crampons and an ice axe. It‘s too dangerous. Instead climb up over the rocks to your left once you reach the snow. There‘s little to no exposure there and the sunshine has melted all of the snow on this section. It‘s dry and easy to walk on and made mostly of large rocks that don‘t move much. Pick your own path towards the summit and don‘t venture too far away from the trough. You‘ll eventually pass by the V notch that was the exit from the trough. It will be on your right. Ascend normally at that point. The route is clear of ice and snow. Descend the same way you came up and DO NOT enter the V notch without crampons and an ice axe. You could slip and slide down several hundred feet to your doom. Descend, keeping the trough to your left until you come to an outcropping of rock that looks too steep to descend. It is. Climb back into the trough. You should be at the bottom which is clear of snow and ice. Several people that had the proper equipment lamented that they didn‘t take the route we took even though they had the gear. Personally I think I would take this route and climb the rocks to the left of the upper trough even if it were free of snow. I was nearly hit by a rock someone knocked loose above in the trough. Rolling rocks isn‘t a big issue on the path above the trough.
|2015-07-14||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Cloudy day, weather window was perfect for us with a 5am start about 0.7 miles below the bathroom trailhead. We planned on doing the SW Ridge route, but the questionable weather convinced us to go up the standard route. Several other climbers we ran into made the same descision. Summitted at 8am, rain showers in the vicinity. Some snow in the coulier to the summit. First 2 fields rather short and slushy, highest snow field was harder and sustained for about 80 yds. Ice axe definitely helpful on the ascent, and allowed for some fun glissades on the way down. Crampons of questionable advantage, not worth it. Encountered thunderstorms at the upper trailhead on our way down. Quite a few people were still pretty high up - not the place to be then.
|2015-07-11||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Final Gully is snow filled for second half. Doable without micro spikes or axe, but if one would have been laying there I would have used it. Easier to cut up where snow starts and climb over ridge. No harder than the notch imo but it‘s easy cruising after the first Couple moves.
|2015-07-05||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Just climbed it on Sunday morning. The road to lower TH is in good condition. Route is mainly dry up to and past the upper TH. There are a few patches of melting snow up towards saddle. The Col still retains snow...but it was soft at 6am. The notch is clear and the final pitch to summit is dry. You will have no problem getting up or down as long as you are comfortable on soft snow. Bring an ice axe and some sort of traction for your feet. I used microspikes. I did have to self arrest 2x in couloir but I was descending fast and not being super careful or thoughtful with each step. My partners descended slower, more methodical and never lost control. Have fun...wild flowers up there are great and the waterfalls on the way up are all full flowing cascades.
|2015-06-22||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The road up Yankee Boy is closed about 1/2 mile up from the bathroom. From there it is no longer necessary to have snowshoes to get to the summit. I started hiking at 10:30 and was back to the truck at 2:30 p.m. While there was some annoying post holing, I would not have bothered putting snowshoes on and off if I had them. It occurred only in short sections and not very deep. SNOW WAS PERFECT TO BUTT SLIDE THE ENTIRE WAY FROM ABOVE THE COL TO THE 14ER INITIATIVE TRAIL. Get there while it lasts! The SW Ridge from Blue Lakes pass has lots of snow. An ax is advised. No crampons or spikes of any sort used today, but use good boots and gaiters for sure. I exited through the V notch on the traditional route. Probably easier and safer to descend the rock just to the south of the gully. Notch was snowy and a little sketch. See photo.
|2015-06-15||Route: Snake Couloir
Info: A runnel has formed on the right side of the couloir, filled mostly with snice. Some steps are well over 60 degrees. The direct 5th class exit to the summit is 70 degree snow with rock ledges. TR to follow.
|2015-06-07||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Snow-free up to the outhouse. Still plenty of snow past that. Conditions were a bit icy all around, but some pockets of softer snow can be found
|2015-05-30||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Absolutely amazing day on Mt. Sneffels. Right now a 4 wheel drive vehicle can make it all the way to the lower trailhead. In the morning the snow was perfect for microspikes on the approach and crampons above the upper trailhead. I didnt sink in past my heels until the couloir. Conditions up the couloir were pretty decent only punching through a few times. We stashed our snowshoes near the upper trailhead which was perfect because from that point on during the descent we needed them the rest of the way down back to the road.
|2015-05-20||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The road was in good condition up to 6.9 from the milage start. Snow drifts from 6.9 to the summer TH. Solid coverage from the TH. Crews are working on CR 26 right now. Construction delays were not significant. Slide indicators covered most aspects. Roller ball and loose slides above most terrain traps with cornice intact. Consolidating very soon!
|2015-05-10||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The winter gate is now open (opens on May 1st) and the road is passable up to the bathroom and summer trailhead. With close to 12 inches of fresh snow, avalanche conditions were a bit sketchy (lots of shallow storm and wind slabs on north aspects that were pretty reactive). It will be winter on Sneffels for some time to come! I would recommend flotation if you are planning on travelling in Yankee Boy Basin anytime in the near future.
|2015-04-12||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Road is closed at a gate about 4 miles prior to the junction for Governor‘s Basin. The road past the gate however, is dry until the junction. We rode mountain bikes from the gate to the junction. We started at 3am to get to the bottom of the Lavender Couloir early enough before the snow softened. The snow at 8am was still icy, and semi-bullet proof in sections. It was not so bad that it couldn‘t be climbed, but it was certainly not "good" snow. From the saddle at 13,600‘ up to the V-notch is better snow. Both are pretty light in snow coverage though. I suspect in about 4-6 weeks it will all be gone. There is a couple in interesting moves from the top of the notch to the summit, which were made interesting by some snow/ice on the route. Nothing too bad, but you do not want a lapse in your attention here. Coming down in the afternoon the snow was better, but still not great. The first gully was still icy in spots. Snowshoes were a necessity hiking back out in the soft afternoon snow. We had them on from the bottom of the gully all the way back to our bikes at Governor‘s junction. Image 1 (Map) below: Point 1 = Gate closure (sign says it will open May 1st) Point 2 = The junction to Governor‘s Basin (where we parked bicycles) Point 3 = Sneffels
|2015-03-29||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: We ended up having to park at the winter road closure and walk an extra 3.3 miles on a perfectly dry road to the Governor Basin split off. Both Sat and Sun there were cars that got through the gate early. I am not sure when it is open and when they close it. It is probably determined by the mine schedule. Both parties got locked in. I am guessing they had to grab someone from the mine to let them out. Simply put, expect to walk an extra 6.6 miles or have the gate locked behind you. Snowshoes are a must from the Governor Basin Junction. There is still several feet of snow on the road from there. Lavender Col has consolidated nicely and was very firm and stable. Crampons and ax are a must. Even with a warm sunny day, conditions were decent around 10 am for the descent.
|2015-02-15||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Climbed Sneffels Saturday and Sunday. Current snow conditions are the best you can ask for in February. If you have the chance get out there! Road closure is at senator falls roughly 5 miles(?) To revenue mine. It‘s a long way but the road is snow free after you‘re off the road and heading to the basin snow shoes are necessary. Snow in the lav col/couloir was crampon hard. A bit too hard for a nice glissade but definitely nothing to worry too much about. Any questions feel free to pm me
|2014-12-07||Route: Visual from afar
Info: Views of Yankee Boy peaks from the S. I don‘t have info on conditions in the basin, or about how far on the road one can drive. Snow conditions in the Red Mtn Pass area on S/SE/E aspects at and above treeline were supportable/firm with a few inches of slough on top. Didn‘t feel instabilities on slopes up to ~30ish*. Pix: #1 -- Gilpin & Sneffels (l. to r.) #2 -- Cirque, Teakettle, Potosi (highpoints l. to r.) #3 -- T0 (far left) & Dallas (center)
|2014-10-04||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: I was really looking forward to a snow climb, but as we made our way up the basin it became pretty apparent that it was unlikely. The SW facing slopes only have patchy snow, while the northern facing slopes still have a thick blanket. The difference in snow coverage on the varying slope aspects was really pretty astonishing. Lavender Col is still a miserable scree slog with ribbons of breakable crust snow. The gully heading toward the V notch was knee to thigh deep slush. The notch itself was choked with snow. We had a motivational crisis at that juncture and bailed. We parked at the lower TH where the toilet is, and hiked the road up which was snow free for the first half. Then it is mostly snow covered (it looked like a few jeeps had attempted to get up but obviously failed). The trail from the upper TH is patchy snow. Snow shoes/skis would be useless since you‘d have to take them off frequently.
|2014-09-30||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Made an attempt on Sneffels today despite the heavy snowfall on Monday. No trouble getting to the lower TH but definitely used the 4WD feature on my truck to get up there. The mountains are pure white and you would think its the middle of January not the end of September. Deep drifts and post holing up the couloirs. The ‘V‘ notch (pictures 26/27 in the route description) was the crux of the route and we had to turn back at that point. The rock was covered in rime and snow and there is serious exposure below the notch. Without a rope to protect the move we decided it was just too dicey and not worth it to continue. Met a couple all-mountain badasses at the TH and we ended up being the only ones brave enough to attempt the mountain. All previous groups either wandered around off trail aimlessly or turned back at the apron of the ascent gulley. Fun day, but be prepared for full on winter conditions up there!
|2014-08-10||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The route is completely dry and clear except for a stretch of about twenty yards in the col below the V-notch, which remains covered with snow/slush/ice. I didn‘t see many people with shoe spikes, but I had mine and was glad I did, made things much easier. Couldn‘t believe how many people didn‘t have helmets, though, particularly given that I heard at least three "rock!" calls. Wear a helment on Sneffels, people. ‘nuff said! --BF