Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  05/19/2007
Modified:  05/20/2007
Date Climbed:   05/19/2007
Author:  willygoat
 Sneffels Climb and Ski of the Birthday Chutes   

I climbed and skied the Birthday Chutes on Sneffels with 3 friends (and two dogs) today (5.19.2007). We were able to drive to the solar powered outhouse at 11,400'. We began skinning up to the peak at about 5:30 am. The snow was firm and we were in the shade all the way up the route until about 13,800'.

Looking up the South Face of Sneffels- Our Route went up the couloir in the center and then angled right.

We climbed the chute that is slightly climber's left of the summit. There was a goodly amount of snow on the route, but it choked at the crux and we opted to ski the skier's leftmost of the chutes which was more open. The climb was steep and enjoyable, topping out around 50 degrees. Our whole group was on the summit around 8:30 am. The snow was still firm so we killed some time on what has to be one of the best summits in the state. It was a sunny day with almost no wind and see forever views.

Looking Towards Telluride

Looking Down Yankee Boy Basin from the Summit. The Saddle is the top of the Lavender Col.

Maggie checks out the Summit.

We started skiing around 9:30 am. A group of about 7 from Telluride was just beginning to reach the summit, they had left a car on the Dallas Divide side and were planning on skiing the Snake. The top section, which had gotten early sun was nice and soft. After about 500' of vertical the conditions went south on us. The lower slopes, which were in the shade longer, had not softened up enough for decent turns.

Luckily the crux was well behind us at this point. We struggled with solid death cookies mixed with some frozen tracks from a skier who was there a day or two earlier all the way down to Yankee Boy Basin. We probably could have had better conditions if we waited another 30 minutes, but the ski out of Yankee Boy would have been unpleasantly soft. As seems the case most of the time the best part of skiing this 14er was not the skiing. If you are looking for quality turns you are probably better off staying lower and picking a more skier friendly line.

About 2/3 the way down there is a fork in the couloir with the left line going back towards the Lavender Col and the right into Yankee Boy Basin. 2 of us went one way and the other two went the other. The conditions were better going left, but the right hand route keeps you on the south face and was more aesthetic.

Mmmmm, Yummy Death Cookies.

Pete Getting it Done in the Couloir. The Skier Below is Standing Where the Couloir Forks.

We had some fun turns on corn out Yankee Boy and back to the car. Although temperatures have been warm in the San Juans we have been getting afternoon clouds almost every day and there is still a bunch of snow up high and it is in nice shape for skiing.

Fun Turns on Easier Ground in Yankee Boy.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

great info, thanks!
05/21/2007 23:25
Could you skin right from where you parked your car?


Skinned From Car
05/22/2007 00:38
Yes. We never had to take off our skis, except for the climb. There will probably be some bare spots over the next couple of weeks, but the coverage is good.

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