| West Face. Stay Left?
I got up at 5:00 am in beautiful downtown Redstone, Colorado, to get an early start up Snowmass Mountain. The road from Marble up to the Lead King trailhead seemed to be getting pretty rough. I was going a little fast because it was longer than I thought. I heard a wshhhh... flat tire.
I drove up on the rim until I found a reasonable place to change the tire. Then I broke out the owner‘s manual to see how to get the spare off. I‘ve had the car almost two years, but never changed a flat on it. I didn‘t even know whether I had a "real" spare tire. I was happy to see that I did. But it wouldn‘t fit out from under the car until I jacked up the "good" side. Then I jacked the other side up. All the way up. It wasn‘t enough. The jack was sinking in the mud. I unjacked, but a rock under the jack, rejacked, and got the tire changed. After that, I slowed down.
I also looked at the GPS and noticed the map must be wrong, because it showed me going where there was no road. Then the road ended. Oops. I guess the map was correct after all. Once again.
When I eventually found the right road, which was left, I noticed that it was in much better shape. "Stay left" I remembered reading, which would have kept me on the proper road and saved my tires. 2.5 hours after my intended take-off, I met Kirt (StewBe) when I was getting ready to head up. I met him again on top, and we came down most of the way together.
The hike from the trailhead to Geneva Lake was uneventful. At Geneva Lake, I turned right at the "Camp 4" sign instead of left, even though I remembered reading "stay left." I meandered up the valley with the creek, along animal trails, until I got to Siberia Lake, about .3 miles past the standard "turnoff" up the west face.
(The snow in this image is from the Google Earth aerial photos. The mountain was clear of snow.)
At Geneva Lake I turned right and climbed up a ridge to the top of the mountain. There was a steep section near the beginning, but I think could have avoided it without too much difficulty. The rocks on the ridge were reasonably stable, and it was a pretty enjoyable climb. I missed the loose scree, but went an extra quarter mile or so.
I came down the standard route, except for a small detour I enjoyed when I saw my camera rolling down the grassy hillside. I reclaimed it and made sure my shorts pocket was velcroed closed particularly well. A few minutes later, I noticed the camera was gone. I had a hole in the bottom of my pocket. I hunted for a while, but ended up leaving the camera as an offering for the Mountain King. Then I went to the car and lived happily ever after.
Here‘s a Google Earth file of the GPS track: