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Snowmass Mountain  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-06-25  East Slope  Snowfield melting fast. Snow is hard but penetrable in the early a.m. before sun exposure. Softening quickly with some Sun...all to be expected. Axe and cramps obviously are buddies. Nice, cold, and relatively snow free on the opposite side. First image with some morning alpine-glow, taken at 5:45. joe21louis   2013-06-26 4     Edit Delete 
2013-06-23  West Slope  I went up the west slope route Sunday. There is still plenty of snow in the gully/couloir, which is bullet proof both on ascent and descent, crampons and an axe are a must. The S-route clear of snow, except on the entry point. I included a few pictures of the west face/slope and on the slope. Glissading the slope on descent is not currently possible and frankly it would seem pretty crazy! Pic one:about a third of the way up the slope looking up on descent Pic two: looking down from towards the top of the slope ~13,900 ft Pic three: looking at the west face from across the valley at ~11,800 ft in the AM Pic four: slope in the afternoon jmanner   2013-06-25 4  1    Edit Delete 
2013-06-22  East Slope  Compared to pictures from a week ago, a ton of snow has melted. We hit the snow about 6:15 AM, and it made for some good snow climbing conditions. Firm and enjoyable all the way up to the ridge. After crossing the ridge, there were a couple snow patches which could easily be avoided by staying high on the ridge. The rock high on the ridge was surprisingly solid (for Elks standards). On our return, we hit the snow again about 10 AM and it had already heated up and was slick as snot toward the top (even with crampons). My partner took a slip on the top 20 feet of snow (at it‘s steepest point) and began a FAST slide. Snow was the consistency of a slurpee. He was lucky enough to self arrest before hitting a rocky outcropping (with the melting snow, rocks are beginning to surface). Although I did see one girl with only microspikes, I would highly recommend and ice axe and crampons. If you‘re looking to get a snow climb in, hit it quick. Water could be heard running under the snow and runnels were beginning to form with lots of suncups. Here are a couple conditions pictures. mtgirl   2013-06-23 2     Edit Delete 
2013-06-02  East Slope  The Snowmass Creek trail is dry until about a mile from Snowmass Lake (after the switchbacks up the slope where it reenters the forest). Bring snowshoes or be prepared for a lot of postholing here. The trail beyond the lake is completely snow-covered. We started around 4:30am and had great firm snow the whole way up. It is possible to get very close to the summit on steep snow and avoid traversing most of the ridge. Emily   2013-06-03 4  4 3  Edit Delete 
2013-06-01  East Slope  Here‘s a pic of Snowmass from Thunder Pyramid. BobbyFinn   2013-06-03 1     Edit Delete 
2013-01-19  West Slope  Put in trench from Marble to the base of the west slope. Followed FR 315 to the Lead King Basin trailhead. The first third of the road had seen snowmobile traffic, while the remainder was fresh snow. (Photo 1) Followed the summer trail fairly closely to Geneva Lake. (Photo 2) Above Geneva Lake, kept to the right of the stream to climb to the base of the west slope. This proved to be more convenient than the summer route because it avoided both the steep traverse leading to Little Gem Lake and the descent from Little Gem Lake to the base of the west slope. (Photo 3) The west slope was relatively dry, but what snow there was consisted of slabs that were so hard as to required toe-pointing or step chopping, alternating with knee deep decaying powder that offered little support. Predominantly the latter, which resulted in my quickly running out of time once I reached the steep stuff. (Photo 4) RWSchaffer   2013-01-21 4  3 1  Edit Delete 
2012-07-22    We tackled the "S" Ridge on Sunday, 7/22. It had rained quite heavily the days before the outing, which made for an interesting climb. The gulley used to reach the ridge was horrendously loose. Loose to the point that the climbing became much more difficult and dangerous in the gulley itself. Despite all efforts to be careful, we loosed many large rocks which got sent down the steep gulley. It would have been very dangerous for any climbers below. The ridge itself is clear and in fine condition. With some exceptions, the ridge crest was usually the most stable and best option. More exposed sections can always be passed on the West side of the ridge. We descended the West Slopes route, which was also terribly loose, due in part to the rains. The quality of rock slowly improved during the descent, but the first 500 - 1,000 feet down was an absolute nightmare of shaky slabs and untrustworthy rocks. Zambo   2012-07-23  0     Edit Delete 
2012-07-15  East Slope  I gave the East Slope a try today from the trailhead, not sure if Id have enough time before the rain came. I was was up near 12,500 and ran into another climber coming down, only one I saw today on this route. We chatted briefly (he did the "notch" variation mentioned in Bills reports) and I kept heading up another few hundred feet, but thought the weather looked sour and turned around, around 9:30. On my way down, I heard a tremendous boom, then a huge roar filled the amphitheater. I turned to watch a significant rockslide start left of the summit (as I was facing it) and cross the path of the "notch" variation of this route. It was hard to get a sense of scale but it looked like several house-sized boulders crossed the path, and the slide sustained for 30-60 seconds. At this point I continued down, but just wanted everyone to be aware of the rockfall danger on this part of the route. Image 1 is the tail end of the slide, mostly just dust. Image 2 is a rough estimate of the slide path. fox_inthesnow   2012-07-15 2     Edit Delete 
2012-07-07  East Slope  No snow, but plenty of rain this weekend. Some hail too. Mudslides and big puddles are common on the way to Snowmass lake. We hiked in Saturday morning and bagged it after about 3 hours of hiking because we were soaked to the bone. Trail is clear, but I suspect it‘ll be muddy for a few days at least. Somebody in Aspen said there were flash flood warnings up that canyon, but I really don‘t know for sure. Fletch   2012-07-08  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-17  East Slope  No significant snow below 12,600. Some in our party used crampons from there, others put them on higher up, and others went without crampons by traveling between rock outcrops. Started from lake about 5:15 am, reached top at 10 am without much postholing. On ascent, stayed on snow and gained the ridge according to gpx track (south of peak and notch), then followed some cairns on rock to descend. Still some good glissades on the way down but snow is melting rapidly. Backpack in from TH took 5 hours, log jam easy to cross. In camp - deer and porcupine sightings. rockymountaindiva   2012-06-19 3     Edit Delete 
2012-06-10  East Slope  The trail is virtually snow free to approx. 12,500. Conditions are very close to the photos shown in the standard route description. I highly recommend gaining the ridge as shown in that route description - gaining it further north was difficult. No snow on the west side from the ridge to the summit. We were able to stay on top of the snow on the way up and had a great glissade down. sjhiker   2012-06-11  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-09    S-ridge is completely clear of snow, but the gullies accessing it are not. We managed to avoid the snow in the gully to the climber‘s right, but ran into Class 4 climbing. The west face is still holding snow and we did not feel comfortable trying to downclimb it, so we descended the S-ridge. Descending the gully proved to be a challenge, though. Anyone looking to climb the west face might try sticking to one of the ribs rather than on the face itself. The trail is clear up to Little Gem Lake, but there are a couple of snow fields to cross en route to the gullies accessing the S-ridge. tmathews   2012-06-09  0     Edit Delete 
2012-05-27  East Slope  Log jam is as easy as I assume it gets. Snowshoes not necessary up to lake. Snowshoes would be helpful getting to and from the far end of the lake. We had a good hard freeze so it was crampon-able both ways for us. We found a decent line of snow down the top of the scree field (but missed it in the dark on the way up). Continuous snow to the ridge on excellent snow. No recent slide activity. Mixed conditions up the ridge to the summit - tricky in places, crampons were necessary but we were probably too low down the ridge. If you have the option stay high. About 2000 feet worth of glissades on the return, almost made us forget the wicked hike out. Long story short - go now and hope for a good freeze. PM for more info or pics of nearby peaks. Good luck. jeremy27   2012-05-28 4  2    Edit Delete 
2012-05-19  Eastern route  The trail was all clear of snow right up until after the couple of switchbacks after the beaver pond. Then some lovely snow to post hole through. Also there are quite a few trees over the trail in different areas but especially after the beaver pond. Sometimes there were trees on top of other trees. At the lake there were patches of snow but clear where you can camp on the right hand side of the lake. The lake is completely open. As you go around the lake it is all snow and was all right to cross when we did at 4:00am. The snow isn‘t great after the rocks. We were up there at 8:00am and it had all ready turned into garbage. We went up the left side of the snowmass and made it to the rocks under the ridge to the summit but by then (around 10:00am) we were sinking up to our waists and farther sometimes in snow in places. We would have fairly solid sections then start sinking for other sections. Another climber who was up at the ridge around 7:00am said he was post holing badly then. The log jam is easily managed with low water currently. _NW_   2012-05-25 2       
2011-10-23  East Slope  Conditions to the lake were good. The trail was easy to follow and there was a few small minor ice and snow areas to cross more so as you got to the lake but nothing deeper than an inch or two. Getting around the lake was a little interesting because it was mostly snow covered about 6+ inches in spots which wasnt a problem until you crossed over a few frozen streams in your way that emptied into the lake. As you got around the lake the boulder field was dry and somewhat easy to navigate. However once over the main ridge when you enter the snow field that is when conditions started to suck. I should have checked the GPS but I am guessing around 12,500 to the summit and back conditions were really bad. Snow was really weak and dusty. We tried to rock hop as much as we could because when we didnt we were post holing which drastically slowed us down. Round trip from the lake to the summit and back was 8 hours for only 6 miles. kushrocks   2011-10-25  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-25  West Slope  Mostly clear with very small patches of snow at summit. No special equipment needed. BrentManDo   2011-09-26  0       
2011-09-10  West Slope  We climbed Snowmass from the Western face. The 4 wheel drive road in was clear and we had no issues. The route was clear and we didn‘t encounter any new snow on the route all the way up. The rocks are loose and we stayed far to the left side and the rock was fairly stable. The cairns are hard to spot but are placed on the route all the way to the summit. 14er Climber   2011-09-12 4     Edit Delete 
2011-09-09  East Slope  With all the rain recently, the trail is extremely wet and muddy (extremely slippery as well). Horses have also torn up the trail and left quite a bit dung all over it. Once you get to Snowmass lake, plan on getting your feet wet as you cross from the shore of the lake to the scree field/beginning ascent as it is a swamp. We could not find a dry route to get across. Also, the route around the lake is overgrown and very difficult to find and maintain. We followed the GPX way points on this site towards the summit and they took us up a more difficult route with more boulder hopping and scree. I would recommend going further to the hikers right. Head up right next to the exposed waterfall and follow the really small cairns. It is all hard rock fields. You definitely want to head for the notch just to the left of the summit as described in the route guidance on this site. It is a very easy climb and very little exposure. The scree towards the top is wet and very slippery. I slipped more on this than all my other 14ers combined. We did this as a day hike in 10+45 but are in very good shape. The fall colors are just starting to come in. It is a really beautiful hike. mrschaible   2011-09-10  0     Edit Delete 
2011-07-25    Approach to Geneva is snow-free. Plenty of easy snow up higher in the basin. Mosquitos. Trail is slightly overgrown but easy to follow. I would recommend taking the Little Gem approach and cutting right down low-angle drainage from the lake to the stream crossing. No real bushwack required. The 2nd gully holds snow - the c3 ledges to the right are dry. The ridge itself is dry and relatively stable. If you‘re a route-finding sort, the entire thing could probably be kept at exposed c3. A glissade of the W. Slopes is not in. Careful straying from the ridge as frequent rock failures are occurring. Monster5   2011-07-25  0  1    Edit Delete 
2011-07-17  East Slope  The East Slopes of Snowmass Mtn. are in great shape. Only issues on trail up to Lake Snowmass is some mud.......oh, and the piles of horse s++t. Log jam crossing is solid with plenty of logs to use. The willows around the lake are overgrown, but the route is easily seen when you are on it. No snow on the boulder/scree field up the gully. At 12,000‘ ft, the snowmass starts, and you can go all the way to the middle of the ridge on snow using crampons/ice axe. If you want to angle to the left of the hump (the "standard route"), you can, but you can also aim for a couple of spots to the right of the hump in the ridge, which will allow you to cross from snow to rock right on the ridge. West side of the ridge is total devoid of snow. Grover   2011-07-18 4     Edit Delete 

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