Peak(s):  Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2020
Date Climbed:   06/28/2020
Author:  SpringsDuke
 #53 Snowmass Mountain   

#53 Snowmass Mountain

Starting Saturday afternoon to do the 8 mile hike to camp at Snowmass Lake. This is Pierre Mountain which comes into view first from the Snowmass Trail.

Beaver ponds always look so cool to me. Such an amazing animal that is under appreciated in my opinion. This is getting close to the log jam 6 miles in the well maintained Snowmass Trail.

Log jam. No biggie its easy and no one got wet.

Views from camp of Snowmass Lake.

Calling it evening day 1 on Saturday looking at Snowmass Mountain and whats to come tomorrow morning.

Sunday morning view. Time to go!

The largest alpine lake I've ever seen. It kept catching my eye with its beauty!

Hiking along the lake in the willows. There are two trails here the bottom one which we took in the am and a upper trail which we took on the way back later. Upper trail is better to use and has less mud and moss.

The loose gully after the lake.


In the middle of the gully

Looking back at that awesome lake

Again there are two trails here. No need to go up to the top of the gully as we are in this photo. It is very loose and no fun at all. There is a trail that crosses the water fall much lower and that trail is defined and not lose at all. I recommend that one.

Time to put crampons on as we can stay on continuous snow from here.

Looking back down the trail while attaching crampons.

Only one person took the standard route to the left and they did not like it at all. They took the direct route down. All other climbers today did the direct route variation as the snow was better and made for much faster climbing.

The direct route we all took today.

Pondering if we should take the standard route. You can see the two climbers that did decide to take this route struggle. So was easy choice not to join them and go direct.


Heading towards the direct route. Snow was hard and we had to kick in steps to help each other. My friend and I and 8 other climbers who meet from the Colorado Mountain Club. They were all very strong climbers and it was fun helping each other this day!

Boy does this snow climb get steep. Be confident in your snow skills. You can see a cornice at the top of the direct route variation. We all used our ice axes to reach over the cornice and jam your ice ax in to pull yourself up and over. It was solid and felt comfortable doing so for all of us today.

Looking back down from the steepest section.


Crampons came off right after the cornice and then we gained the other side of the ridge. This is looking back as the climber in this photo exited the direct route gully we just went over.

Looking at the summit which takes me less than 10 minutes to gain from the direct route exit.

Summit with Capitol in the background

Summit views

Going back down I was very careful down climbing the cornice. After that though it was time to SLIDE!!!!!

Glisading made quick work of what took forever to climb up.



One last look at the lake from up high. Camp is on the other end. We made it back in good time. Dried our feet out, ate a ton of food mostly so we didn't have to carry the weight out as now we were back to heavy bags with tents and sleeping bags to haul the 8 miles back down the Snowmass Trail to the cars.

Log jam on the way back.

On the trail we saw a Ram and then these two Mooses


Long weekend in a beautiful part of our great State!! Hikes 4 hours to camp the first day. Then climbed for 6 hours the next day, broke down camp, and then did another 5 hours out. Feet were pounding the last 4 miles and was brutal. Resting would only make it worse so we just kept it moving. Maybe it was the heavy pack, the long mileage, the kicking steps with crampons on, all of the above but my feet will take some time to heal after this one.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Awesome job!
06/29/2020 08:48
Nice work & great TR, did you happen to get the total mileage? Looked like a great time!

06/29/2020 14:34
For sure its 8 miles to Snowmass Lake. From there to summit I would imagine we did between 3.5 and 4 miles from lake to summit. That summit mileage is hard so takes just as long to complete as the 8 miles to the lake. Hope that helps!


Congrats and thanks...
06/29/2020 19:22
For the pointer on the direct variation. I€„¢m now itching to try this again on Wednesday, and I probably would€„¢ve gone the less steep but apparently suckier way without it!

Reservations Needed?
06/29/2020 22:16
Hello, I wanted to ask if you needed reservations for parking. I know it's needed for maroon bells but unsure if that extends to the snowmass Creek trailhead. Thanks in advance.


Sweet report!
06/30/2020 08:03
I really like this one! Thanks for taking the time to put it up.

RE: Reservations Needed?
06/30/2020 22:50
No reservation is needed for the trailhead.

Excellent report
06/30/2020 23:52
Thanks for the wonderful pictures.
That place is one of my top 3 or 4 places in Colorado.


Very timely report
07/08/2020 12:04
we are heading up there July 18. My question is crampons vs micro-spikes?

crampons vs micro-spikes
07/15/2020 20:31
Crampons for sure. It gets steep. Could be less snow when your climbing but I would bring both and expect to use crampons.

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