Peak(s):  Snowmass Mountain  -  14,092 feet
Date Posted:  06/04/2008
Date Climbed:   06/01/2008
Author:  rewovenate

 The Empire of Snow  

Rather than give you a long narrative, here are a link to some pictures and a few important points if you're considering climbing Snowmass Mountain via Snowmass Creek in the near future:

1. The famous logjam is impassable. Too much water flowing over it and through it. And the ford 150 yards downstream isn't passable either. And none of that's gonna change very soon, as Snowmass Creek continues to rise. Here's a link to the gauge, which is miles downstream from the logjam but seems to roughly correspond to conditions upstream:

2. There was a rock-solid snow bridge over Snowmass Creek a mile downstream from the logjam, in the narrowest part of the valley just below the lowest beaver pond. Crossing the snow bridge, which was 200 yards long and probably 20 feet deep, leaves you a bit of tedious bushwhacking on the west side of the creek until you rejoin the route. But with the creek rising and the snow melting, I couldn't tell you if the snow bridge is safe today, or will be so in two days or two weeks.

3. The valley is full of avalanche debris, but I don't think that means everything that could have let go has already let go.

4. Above 9,500 or so, the trail is buried under many feet of snow. In the trees, this snow is drifted, making routefinding a challenge. Allow extra time.

5. Once you get to the lake, you'll find that those annoying willows on the southern shore are buried under snow. And the headwall above the lake is easier when snow-covered.

6. A lot of the class 3 scramble on the west side of the ridge is covered with snow, leaving you to choose between staying on the ridge (some class 4) or kicking steps in the steep snow on the west side(which might still be class 3 but is quite airy).

7. The glissade from the ridge to the lake is heavenly.

OK, here's a link to the pictures:

If you go, please think safety first!


 Comments or Questions

The Elusive Snowmass
11/30/2010 17:20
finally let you guys in, eh? Caleb, Monique, Dean, Uwe -- congrats on getting a safe summit. I've never done that route (only the S Ridge) - will have to try it one of these days. The big snow and high temps are wreaking havoc all over right now... glad to see you guys were able to work around that. See ya all on the trail maybe this summer!

EDIT: And NATE! Nice job, guys :-)

Ridge runner

great pictures
02/01/2011 00:24
Those are some really nice pictures! That ridge looks like a cool route. I‘d be interested in trying this out, but with the creeks as high as they are, I‘m not so sure. How long did this trip take you? And about how high above the log jam was the water? Great job guys!


Nice Job!
06/05/2008 12:56
Great pictures and congrats to all for getting to the summit and back out safely. Nice job guys!!


06/05/2008 15:38
Any chance you have a waypoint for that snow-bridge down low? Or have an estimated elevation for it‘s location?


questions answered
06/05/2008 15:57
in answer to slynn‘s questions: our group spent 8 hours going up to camp, 10 hours to the summit and back, and 6 hours back down to the trailhead. we spent 2 nites at snowmass lake. and the logjam is not really a jam right now--it‘s loose. some of the logs are floating, many more are submerged. until the creek goes down again (which may well be in july!) the logjam is not an option. bill, according to google earth, the snow bridge is at 39.08‘32.41N and 107.00‘45.62W, at 10,065 feet. cheers. dean


Log Jam .....
06/06/2008 19:20
Most of the log jam was under some serious snow when he hiked in on Saturday ... there was significant melt-off between then and Monday .... I would guess that conditions in there will be VERY dicey over the next few weeks!! But some sweeeeeet climbing it was!!!

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