South Slope from Yankee Boy Basin
8:30 a.m. Depart Upper Trailhead
11:15 a.m. Summit
2:30 p.m. Return to Upper Trailhead
On September 11, 2008 I attempted Mt. Sneffels on a solo trip. I had spent the night at the trailhead and headed up before sunrise after the first snow of the fall had hit the mountain. When I got to the notch (which is the crux of the Scree Col route and about 80 vertical feet from the summit) I found that it was ice covered and very slick—with significant exposure to the left. After an unsuccessful attempt to get through the notch I decided to turn around and live to climb this pile of rocks a different day.
This was the notch in 2008 when it was ice and snow covered.
So let's look at how it was to tackle Sneffels in mid July in some great weather.
This was the fourth of four 14ers to be climbed in a three day run so I kinda slept in and did not get away from the upper trailhead until about 8:30 a.m.
Nice morning at the lake near the upper trailhead. Photographer making use of the good weather. That's Stony Mountian in the background.
First look at the South Slope to the saddle. The summit is on the left.
From the saddle looking up the Scree Col. Note the group near the top of the snow. I'll be hanging a left about right here and climb out of the
Pretty straight forward until I reach the saddle at the bottom of the Scree Col. It looked like 100-125 feet of snow still on the top portion of the coloir. I left my ice axe in the vehicle so I opted to exit the col early on and climb out to the left.
Just climbed outside the col and looking up. I would not like to be on this route if it were wet.
In reading Roaches description, he says this is a viable route if it is dry and I would agree. It was a fun class 3 scramble to the left of the col but I would not want to do it if it were wet.
About halfway up this final stretch. You can see someone on the summit.
Made it to the summit with a fair number of folks (there must have been over 100 people on the mountain this beautiful day).
Gotta fly the flag on the top. I've misplaced my regular summit flag so I had to resort to this little one.
Looking back up Scree Col. To the left of the Col is the route that I took up--right in the middle of the picture..
On the way down I took the notch route down and likewise it was a piece of cake as it was dry. The 100 or so feet of snow in the col were easily negiciated as it had softened up by mid day. I am continually surprised that more people don't get hurt out there as I followed a teenager from Indiana down the snow packed col who had slick soled shoes, jeans, cotton t- shirt and a canteen slung around his neck. One slip and he would have rocketed a hundred feet into some substantial hurt. It's amazing what you see.
And on the subject of being amazed at what you see, as I negotiated my way down the scree face of the South slope, a gal in running shorts and a tank top passed me at a steady and quick pace. She said that she made it to the summit in 55 minutes. Amazing! Those trail runner types are truly amazing.
Back down and close to the vehicle. The flowers were looking great on this day. I believe that's Potosi Peak in the background.
All in all it was a great day and a great way to nab my 34th 14er.