Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  06/13/2011
Date Climbed:   06/08/2011
Author:  ilium
 Sneffels steps up.  

This is my first trip report, and I know some of the photos are tough to see. My camera was being its normal self. Anyway, I set off for Ouray with my pickup and two dogs. I drove up the shelf road long after dark and made a wrong turn somewhere. So I just packed up and slept on some nearby road. As soon as the sun started to come up, I quickly found the trailhead. It was late, something like 10:30 a.m. by the time I started. I hate to start that late, but I had a week on my hands, so if I didn't hit the summit today, I would just chalk it up as getting acclimated. The weather was supposed to be sky blue all day, and luckily it was. As I was leaving the trailhead another guy came in from skiing. I don't know if he made the summit or not. I was too embarrassed by leaving when he was returning to ask how he had done. Anyway, after I got over myself I started the hike with snowshoes on. Looking back at the trailhead Image
Looking back to the trailhead from 12,800'
from 12,800'. I used snowshoes the whole way, and was glad to have them. The snow is becoming rotten everywhere now. I've read so many trip reports about Yale claiming victims, and people "slogging" through waist deep snow that won't support show shoes. No doubt. That was my first hike of the year and it was so deep, and so rotten. Comparably, the snow at Sneffels was much better, but it is still rotting out. Shoes are going to be necessary for a while. View of South Ridge Image
This is the view as you approach 12,800'
Once I turned toward Lavender Col Image
A look up Lavender Col.
I changed to crampons just in case. I've made an early spring attempt on the Loft and a solo attempt on the Bell Cord without success. Those are the only two snow climbs I have attempted, so my confidence on "snow climbs" or culoir routes is a bit low. Surprisingly, I made it up to the Col. The snow was soft all of the way. Somebody had postholed downhill, and in the steeper parts their tracks became helpful. The culoir was clean though. Tracks that had been there were mostly erased. The snow was still soft, which made for an easier climb. The culoir from the top Image
Looking down the upper culoir.
Andre and Hannah had made it this far, but they could make it no further. They rested in a room with a view while I summited. Image
Two mountain dogs waited here.
Me. Image
Obligatory summit shot.
The Panorama Image
Panoramic from the top.
4 hours to the summit. 1 hour to the trailhead. I love glissading.

Sneffels was an awesome challenge, but a manageable one. As a snow climb, I definitely consider it a classic.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Thanks for the report
06/14/2011 16:34
Planning on taking my brother up this route next week. Did you find the crampons necessary or would microspikes have worked? I'm guessing you had an Ice Axe? Were you able to get to the Yankee Boy Basin Trailhead or did you have to start from farther away. Thanks again, Dr. Dave


No Problem
06/14/2011 16:51
I've never used spikes, so it is hard for me to say. If the snow conditions are the same as they were, you could get by without crampons. The snow was soft in the steep sections, so boot kicking would probably do it. Underneath there was some firmness that my crampons locked into to stop potential sliding. I had an axe for the glissade. Didn't really need it on the ascent. And yes, Yankee Boy Basin is accessible to vehicles with 4wd and probably a low range. Good luck!


great report
06/14/2011 21:34
My wife and I had been planning on climbing Sneffels either the last weekend in June or the first in July. The rub is that we'll be carrying our 6 month old daughter and obviously don't want to put her in harm's way. I reckon there's no chance for a snowfree route anywhere on the Lavender Col by then? I'm attending a meeting in Telluride during that time and we'd like to climb something. If anyone has any thoughts/suggestions, I'm all ears.


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