Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  06/21/2013
Date Climbed:   06/16/2013
Author:  cambo
 Sneffels - South Slopes  

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Left the lower trailhead at 5:30, and strolled up the road admiring the landforms. The San Juans are so freaking volcanic! Geologists make great hiking partners, and Jon (as always) really helped me envision the cataclysms involved in building these mountains. We saw deposits of everything from pyroclastic flows, ash flow tufts, debris flows, falling ash deposits, lava flows, the throats of the volcanoes themselves, and the mineral-rich hydrothermal intrusions which are so eagerly mined throughout the basin. Several cool rock glaciers too. We took our time and passed the upper trailhead about 7 AM.

After ascending the aptly-named Scree Col, which was totally dry, we reached the base of the upper couloir about 8 AM where it was time to put on the crampons. The snow was steep but delightfully firm up to the notch - super fun! Crampons off through the V-notch, cramp back on for another short snow section, a few rocks and Boom! We were on top about 9 AM.

The weather was perfect, so we hung out on the summit for 45 mins. I've never met a 14er I didn't like, but the views from this one are especially cool. We were back on top of the upper col about 10 AM for the descent, which now had sun on parts of it. It was becoming slush on top of firm snow, which isn't nearly as much fun. This was when I discovered that my Kahtoola crampons (smaller teeth) were inferior to Jon's Black Diamonds (I'm switching). It was fine, but extra care (face-in with the axe) in places was called for. Subsequently, about 2/3 of the way down I decided to "cramp-out" for the available rocks. It was a good call as I outpaced Jon the rest of the way down the upper col.

Descending Scree Col was frankly quite miserable even for experienced descenders, and we busted-ass pretty solidly at least once apiece. The only consolation was that the rocks sliding beneath our feet were quite interesting. We rock-hounded most of the way back (my friend is about to take a Volcanology class, so I wanted to bring her a small sample of each rock), and reached the truck (and the Crazy Mountain Amber Ales) about 12:30. A perfect trip.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Thank you!
06/23/2013 18:37
Doing this on July 4. Your report is incredibly helpful. Thanks a million.

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