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Elevation Gain: 6,511'
Time: 11.5 hrs
Beta: Kevin Baker & benners TR (on summit of Snow)
I had wanted to get up Snow Peak last weekend, but the Elvira snowstorm foiled my plans. So I put it off a week, and hoped that enough melting would happen. I watched the Vail webcams and noticed a marked improvement. So this weekend I decided to go see what I would find. I honestly thought I would turn around at the saddle with Snow, if there was too much snow to continue. Little did I know that Valhalla would be mostly bare and get put into the mix as well.
The snow starts fairly early on the trail once in the trees, but isn't anything to worry about right now. There are tracks all the way up to the lake, and now 2 sets beyond that. The North ridge to Snow has a bit of snow which makes certain moves a bit spicy, if you stick to the ridge proper. I was able to avoid some of the more exposed class 3 moves by taking the snow, as the snow is as of yet unconsolidated. Worst problem to encounter is snow in between large boulders on the summit ridge.
On the summit of Snow, as I looked over to Valhalla, I knew I could get there. I just had to decide how. I didn't want to automatically punt and drop down and around to the west. So I did a bit of interweb research on the summit (just like benners did on Valhalla in reverse ), re-reading both benners and Kevin Baker's TR's on the traverse. But alas, as I got up to the high point on the ridge (Pt 12,835), I took one look at the towers and all that snow, and said No! So down and around I went, up a grassy gully, around a tower to the east, and on to the summit. From there even Palomino Point was looking dry, so on I went. Made for a long day, but that's why you carry a headlamp, right?
Since I had Immigrant Song in my head all day long, enjoy the photos (which are not necessarily in order). As always, per the Gore Pledge, please pm or visit my website for more specific info on the route and conditions.
Sounds like a great day! I can imagine why you decided against the towers en route to Valhalla in the snow--we didn't like the looks of the traverse when it was dry in September. I still need to go back for Valhalla...
Mindy & Jay521 - The solo part wasn't all that bad. It's like meditation to be in an area so beautiful and challenging.
gdthomas & jeremy27 - The song does fit well. Though I didn't plan on ”stopping” the traverse until I saw it.
Floyd - If ”Sleet Peak” is that 12,835' point at the start of the traverse, then yes, I stood apon it. Great views!
B(3) - Well, you can still go up Valhalla for a few more days, till the next storm
lordhelmut - Immigrant song is one of my Top 5 songs, so I was glad to find a trip worthy of it! I typically don't get songs in my head, but that one was on repeat all day. Palomino Pt was a treat. It was like a class 4 puzzle to be solved. Glad there wasn't much snow!
Sweet eye candy, Otina! I especially like the one you got from Valhalla of the Grand Traverse. That's one heck of a view. How far did you drop heading over to Valhalla? I think I dropped at least 800 feet to get by the lower cliffs. You'll have to go back and do the s.w. ridge of Snow. That's a cool little ridge run.
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