| Quick Report for East Slope
Snowmass Mountain from Snowmass Lake
As we were hiking the Four Pass Loop, we built in a “down” day. I figured an attempt of Snowmass was in order. I had a failed attempt of the East Slopes last year and wanted to see what the standard route was like.
Overall I was surprised at how easy the area above the gully up to the ridge was. Very easy rock/snow and much fun. Also surprising at how difficult the west side of the ridge was (relative to expectations). It was a fun hike overall.
Depart camp: 6:00am
Summit: 9:00 am
Return camp: 12:15pm
Here is an overall view of the mountain coming down from Trail Rider the day before. I was surprised at the difficulty of the willows going around the lake. Very challenging and not a fun start to the hike. Several groups got lost and took the upper trail toward Trail Rider, and had to bushwack down to the lake
Finally around the lake, heading up the gully. A lot of rock hopping down low, turning into scree before long.
Looking back from about half way up the scree. At near this point, I crossed the stream and went into the Willows where there was a good dirt trail
Looking across the gully from the willows, at some fellow climbers
Topping out above the gully, still on the grass, looking back toward the lake
Still on the grass looking up. From this point, there were a lot of big angled slabs to cross, very easy walking across this section to about the snowfields
Farther up, still plenty of rock and not much snow
A short level snowfield, then back to rock. Looking back from the rock
Finally on the snow, looking up toward the snow exit to the left of the cliffs. I had microspikes and poles; I was scraping steps but never felt uncomfortable.
From the same area, showing the ridgeline and the snow conditions
Looking back down the snowmass, a bit steeper than it looks
From the rocks, looking back at some fellow climbers
Looking up at the scramble to the ridge
The climbers are about to catch me
Once to the ridge, I was surprised at how long, loose, and below the ridge the backside was. At times, I tried to stay up top, but didn’t feel comfortable.
After a bit more work than I was expecting, I topped out at the summit. I didn’t hang around long, as I didn’t want the snow to soften up too much. Made much quicker time back down along the back side of the ridge.
Back on the east face, coming down the snow. It was soft enough for some good heel stepping. This shows a few climbers topping out near the summit proper. Word was that it was a good exit.
And farther down, with some climbers on the diagonal snow exit under the cliffs
I made quick time back into the gully, but came down the dirt trail among the grass/willows. I tried to get a shot showing the trail entrance/exit as well as the falls. The trail across the scree gully is on the right
Coming back through the willows was miserable; it seems that they were patterned to make easy passage toward the summit, and every branch wanting to poke you on the way back.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):