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Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby mountain hiker » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:30 pm

I am planning to do the SW ridge route from Blue Lakes TH this weekend. My concern is the several inches of snow that has fallen on the mountain. Is there anyone who has done the SW ridge route with autumn snow on it? How's it like? Will the snow increase the exposure and difficulty significantly? And any traction device needed?
Any information is appreciated!

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby fahixson » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:40 pm

Driving Alpine Loop on Monday last week, we ran into light snow falling above 11,000 ft or so. Hiked SW Ridge route the following afternoon with no snow on the route, but could see some down the north side of the mountain. I don't know how much snow has fallen recently, but is it possible it could melt before your climb?
I recall some Sept/Oct TRs from previous years that talked about avoiding snow or dealing with it. I know we would not have been comfortable with snow/ice on the final pitch to the summit. Good luck, we had a great time.

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby I Man » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:48 pm

fahixson wrote:Driving Alpine Loop on Monday last week, we ran into light snow falling above 11,000 ft or so. Hiked SW Ridge route the following afternoon with no snow on the route, but could see some down the north side of the mountain. I don't know how much snow has fallen recently, but is it possible it could melt before your climb?
I recall some Sept/Oct TRs from previous years that talked about avoiding snow or dealing with it. I know we would not have been comfortable with snow/ice on the final pitch to the summit. Good luck, we had a great time.


The final pitch shouldn't hold much snow or ice if you stay high on the ridge - it should be dry and solid, the trade-off (as usual) is increased exposure. Have fun and stay safe!
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

"I fly a starship across the universe divide....and when I reach the other side...I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a Mountain Man again.

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby mountain hiker » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:53 pm

Thanks for your replies!

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby Wentzl » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:27 pm

Hey I just got home from doing that route. Pucker factor WAY up today, but should ease up over the next couple days with the forecast although flurries were flying when I left this afternoon. I will post some pictures in a little while.

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby Wentzl » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:42 pm

Some photos from the SW Ridge of Sneffels taken Thursday, 9/27. I did not take an axe or crampons and wouldn't have used either if I had. Careful footwork in a few pretty exposed sections was necessary. The last 200 vertical feet, which I usually walk upright with no difficulty I crawled most of because of the ice. I have done this ridge in every winter month and have never seen this much snow and ice clinging to the route. But that is sure to change by Saturday, right?
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The last few hundred feet
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looking back at the crux
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From Blue Lakes Pass
DSC01555.JPG (145.52 KiB) Viewed 400 times

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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby Wentzl » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:53 pm

While we are on the subject I particularly like this photo of Wrights Lake. Shows the snow conditions well below the ridge in question. Drifts only to mid calf. Easy walking everywhere. Mostly only a couple inches all the way to the Pass.
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Re: Sneffels' SW ridge route with snow?

Postby mountain hiker » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:43 pm

Thanks Wentzl.

update- I climbed Sneffels yesterday. The final pitch was dry. There was snow in the small gullies of the SW Ridge route, not too bad.

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