| Snowmass Mountain - West Slope
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2006
Team: TalusMonkey, Wyo_MtnMan, Greg
TH: Improvised Lead King Basin Road Bushwack
I arrived in Marble several hours before Wyo_MtnMan and Greg were supposed to meet me. So I took the Enterprise Chevy Colorado up to recon the Lead King Basin road (FDR 315). I was surprised to find the road in such good condition. I drove to the top of the road and determined that it was entirely passable in most stock 4x4 vehicles. However, be advised that there are few places where you may drag a center crossmember.
While performing road reconnaissance I spoke to a local man on a 4-wheeler. He advised me AGAINST camping at Lead King Basin. He said that the road drops a thousand feet and I would just have to climb up from the Basin to Geneva Lake. The gentleman advised me of a good camping spot high on the road and advised me to bushwack a meadow and traverse under an unnamed 12er to arrive at Geneva Lake with little elevation loss. I was all about this idea!
I returned to Marble to pick up Wyo_MtnMan and Greg and we transferred their gear to my truck. We returned to our chosen campsite on the Lead King Basin road at about 1800. We made camp, ate and went to bed.
We awoke at 0400 and quickly rigged up for our Jihad on Snowmass. With a waning 3/4 moon we had good light to supplement our headlamps when we started out at about 0435. We bushwacked the meadow (easy grass and wildflowers – no willows) and hit a trail below the 12er. We traversed and hit another lower trail that joined the Lake Geneva trail just below the lake.
A photo of the crew immediately below Geneva Lake (from left - Wyo_MtnMan, Greg, TalusMonkey), view south:
From the lake we followed the standard trail up to Little Gem Lake at 11,700. Following the trail just beyond the lake, we found our attack point for Snowmass's West Slope.
A view of the West Slope, showing current snow conditions:
We generally followed the route described by Bill and had no difficulties. The entire gully is entirely do-able as class 2-3 and exact route is not critical. After the steep 2,500 climb we arrived on the summit at about 0935. It was sunny (and hot) and calm, so we lounged around and took our time.
The crew on Snowmass with Capitol in the background:
I was daydreaming about a girl…and couldn't help but take this photo for her:
We worked our way back down the west slope and I found a decent glissade opportunity in the main snow patch. The top two inches of snow were soft and the glissade was quite safe (with an ice axe). I was happy to "expedite" the descent… Back at Little Gem Lake we stopped for a short break. Wyo_MtnMan dressed a small gash from the talus field while I took a refreshing dip in the lake.
TalusMonkey cooling off in Little Gem Lake (11,700) after descending the west slope:
We returned to the truck, packed up, and returned to Marble to transfer vehicles. We then stopped in Carbondale for a Domino's Pizza picnic. Wyo_MtnMan and Greg continued to Aspen to camp for the night and I returned to Lakewood via Vail, where I visited with Skasgaard for awhile.
This was Greg's FIRST 14er. So he's off to a good start with Snowmass under his belt!
What an excellent weekend for knocking off some of the Elk Range peaks!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):