Peak(s):  Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
Post Date:  07/18/2005
Modified:  03/26/2006
Date Climbed:   07/17/2005
Posted By:  doumall

 Snowmass Snowfield   

On Saturday, 7/16, Debbie and I backpacked to within a quarter mile of snowmass lake and camped in a established camp spot next to snowmass creek. We left the trailhead at 5:15 pm after waiting out a hail storm and reached camp around 8:40. The views coming in were great, and there is a very healthy population of brook trout in the lower two snowmass creek lakes.

On Sunday, 7/17, we woke at 4:45, ate a hot breakfast at started hiking toward snowmass lake at 5:20 am. We briefly lost the trail going around the lake and ended up bushwacking toward the southern end. Accessing the snowfield from the lake wasnt as bad as I had heard from recent trip reports... Use the boulder field on the south side of the drainage until it turns to dirt and scree, then cross the drainage and use the grassy slopes the rest of the way up.

We witnessed a very large rock, volkswagon size, come off the peak to the north of us. Very impressive show as it split into half a dozen chunks rumbling down towards the lake. As of now, the snowfield starts around 12000 feet, extends to within 50 feet of the summit ridge and is in great climbing condition. We used Roachs suggestion and gained the ridge near the "rounded protrusion." From here to just below the summit, you can opt for 2+ terrain. We used the ridge more making some hard 3rd class moves. Just below the summit are some mandatory 3rd class moves. Great views of the Bells, Pyramid and Capitol. A very unique mountain. Another large rock fall came off of North Snowmass just as we we were about to leave the summit, rolling and sliding down the massive snowfield. As Roach says "geologic time is now."

On the descent we glissaded off the summit ridge just after the mandatory 3rd class section. You can walk between a cornice and a rock wall to access the snow here. This would also provide a quicker accent to the summit if you knew this passage existed on your way up. It is the second couloir to the south of the summit when looking from below. The glissading was a treat. We made our way to camp, ate lunch, packed up and were at the trailhead after a very long out at 4pm. Drove back to Boulder. This is a tiring trip to do in less than 24 hours, but is worth it.


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