Peak(s):  Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
Post Date:  09/06/2011
Date Climbed:   09/05/2011
Posted By:  gpeoples

 West Slope - Solo; Solitude; Loose rock...     

Snowmass – West Slope – 4,500 Elev. Gain:
RT: 9.00 miles (Garmin Oregon)
Cell reception: AT&T was perfect on summit:

The Road to Lead King Basin as Bill describes, “Rough.” He isn't kidding!
I decided to Car camp in the parking area, which was nice and level.
Started at 5:30am. Made it to Geneva Lake in about an hour.

View South toward Geneva Lake:

The climbing above the grassy area, very wet with small streams, is tedious because
of all the loose rock.

West Slope on Snowmass Mtn.

So I would say between 12,700 and 13,800, as Bill’s trip report
mentions, there is a lot of loose and large tippy boulders.

Looking down at West slope gully:

One point I would make on route finding, between 13,800-13,900 move to climbers right
in order to gain the summit. I "thought" the best line was to stay in the gully and
keep slight left all the way to the summit ridge.
But, if you stay left to the the summit ridge you will find exposure on both left(East) and right sides at about 14,000; I had to down climb slightly back towards the gully and then cross under some of the summit ridge boulders to finally reach the summit. Look at the Garmin GPX file I uploaded, I actually think staying RIGHT on the down-climb was much easier and would be a good line to gain the summit.

The views were magnificent and weather couldn’t have been better.

Summit Boulder

Standing on True Summit Boulder:

The down climb was tiring because of the loose slope and rock. I found my-self doing some high-stepping a few times as large boulders moved behind me.
Other than that, the hike from below the grass at the base of the slope is uneventful.

The 4X4 road out of Lead King basin was again jaw jarring and many ATV’s and jeeps to contend with.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Road to Lead King Basin     09/06/2011 22:06
Just an's a tad longer but instead of taking the Lead King Basin 4wd road to get to the trail head, take the Crystal River road. It goes to the same place but is WAY easier. Great TR.


Road to Lead King Basin:     09/07/2011 14:35
So basically, it looks like you would have to come from Crested Butte and stay on FR 317, is that what you are talking about? Was trying to look it up on the Topo Map.


Crystal Rd:     09/07/2011 14:52
Oldschool, just read the entry on this road in Roach's book. Thanks for the info.


Staying Left     09/08/2011 13:54
Great trip report makes me want to do this route again. We Stayed Left to the the summit ridge and found some nice class III exposure that you mentioned.


Staying Left:     09/08/2011 16:05
I hear you @TheSteege, since I was Solo, I was more cautious. Looking up from my vantage point at that ridge, it looked to me like it was going to be more than Class 3 moves. I did get on top of the ridge and saw the exposed side and thought that there had to be a better way around it. That is when I made the slight down-climb and traverse to the right. That said, those huge old boulders looked very stable for a ridge traverse to the summit. I was in the mind-set of taking the path of least resistance mode at the time as well.


Great report. Need some more info     09/22/2011 18:32
I am considering this route for the coming weekend. You say
”I actually think staying RIGHT on the down-climb was much easier and would be a good line to gain the summit.” Can you describe that better. Saying right on the downclimb from the summit, or down the ridge, or in the gulley? Will download the .gpx. Thanks for that. If you figure out how to get to Crystal Road give me a pointer. Thanks. Rick Taylor


Info:     09/22/2011 19:11
Your right, that wasn't clear. So from the summit, you would stay ”Left”, climbers left on the down climb, in my opinion was easier, then enter the gulley and start the slip & slide decent. Again the rock is loose.
About the road, from what I could find on the Crystal Rd. it looked like it stopped before it meets up with the Lead King Basin Rd. What I would do is possibly get some beta from the locals. There is a nice BBQ place right before you get to the Beaver Lake on your right. People were friendly and seemed to know the area very well. No cell phone service there in Marble by the way.

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