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 Peak(s):  Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
 Post Date:  09/28/2008
 Date Climbed:   09/27/2008
 Posted By:  Wentzl

 Snowmass - S Ridge   

We drove to Snowmass from Montrose on Saturday morning, getting a good alpine start at 7:00 a.m. There is lots of information about the road into Lead King Basin. We went in on the less rough road that avoids Crystal and came back on the other, through Crystal. Through Crystal is much rougher and either way, plan on about an hour from Marble. The route was totally snow free and the weather was perfect. Door to door from the trailhead 10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

We hit the trail at 10:30. Here is a tip that isn't in the guide. When you get up to the marked campsites around Geneva Lake and the trail splits at site 4, take the fork to the left and hike past site 4 to get on to Little Gem Lake.
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On the way up we found some ski poles. Marmots or other critters had eaten the straps and most of the grip, so I removed them like any other trash left behind, but if you recognize them and want them back, let me know!
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Here are a couple pics of the S ridge proper.
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The weather was exciting with storms building all around us. Here is a nice look at the Maroon Bells from the summit.
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We had a bit of snow, not much, and almost constant thunder from 1:00 till 3:00, which was the time we summitted.
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Descent was via the West Face.
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The descent was straighforward. We dropped straight down the main gulley till it leads into cliffs at the bottom and look for a cairned route exiting to the right (west). A little wet and slippery in spots, but several options for getting through.
I like the Roach guide for accurate information, but he says this is not a "classic climb" because of loose rock. That's crazy talk. The rock is solid, the route is beautiful and this is one of the nicest routes on any 14er you will ever do.
The fall colors were very nice. The east side of McClure Pass is one of the prettiest areas and I would say next weekend should be about the peak for color.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Matt


Definitely a classic climb     2011-01-18 20:38:48
Count me in with those who disagree with GR on this one.
The West Face descent isn't fun, but the S Ridge itself is superlative. Nice shots of fall color.


Wentzl


west face descent     2008-09-28 13:32:43
This is the second time I descended via the West Face. First time it seemed like a real grunt. This time there was a decent trail of sorts and good footing the whole way down. It actually was pretty fun! Summit to well below Lake Geneva under an hour.



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