Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  07/12/2009
Date Climbed:   07/10/2009
Author:  stoehnercd

 Sneffels Lavender Col  

Last year when I attempted Sneffels I called a Forest Service station in Montrose and was informed that I would not need Piolet or Crampon. Of course when my party approached Lavender Col the couloir informed us otherwise. First attempt down the drain...
So being the OCD person I am unfinished business rubs me the wrong way. Fast Forward to April this year. Snow conditions were great for a solid approach and overnight at Wright Lake. A nice cold night to stabilize snow pack and when I woke up in the morning...white out! Hanging out at camp to see if it will dice. Start up about nine am and make it two thirds of the way up to the col, when the wind stops blowing and the snow stops falling the slope reveals just how avalanche strewn the mountain has become...scary snow pack test informs us it is time to turn around most ricky tick! Second attempt...
So this July it is time to get this mountain done. I am not one of those guys who has to climb all of them I just want to enjoy each experience, but this was starting to rub me wrong.
Strangely enough there is far less snow than expected in Yankee Boy. In fact the first bunch of snow approached was almost at the top of the four wheel drive road at Wright Lake.
The four wheel drive road rapidly deteriorates and will make wives squeeze the cheeks!
The approach and climb is very straight forward. Climbing buddy Drew recommended we take the SW ridge, but I was obsessed with Lavender Col so we went for it. Though there was far less snow than last year the couloir was still packed with ice and snow. After kicking some steps and coaxing my wife up the couloir we made our way across the ‘scary‘ rock section that leads up to the summit pitch. FINALLY
With hopes that the snow would soften for plunging down the couloir we took our time on the summit.
Back to the couloir the snow had not softened at all and in fact seemed more icy. To add confidence to those in our party who were not comfortable with glissading, self arresting, and flirting with death, we fixed ropes to aid in the descent. Three belays on a 60m half rope to the bottom. This is where the evil pikas stole off with my ice ax...well actually I jammed it into a crack a third of the way up the couloir and when the clouds thickened and thunder rolled we split and I didnt realize I left it until I was at Wright if anybody finds a 65cm BD Raven Pro with a green rack tag sticker on the shaft I would love to get it back.
Sorry there are no pictures I havent uploaded them yet, but I will try to get them on here!


 Comments or Questions

07/12/2009 17:35
Hey, not to sound superior or anything, but we front-pointed down that couloir 9 days earlier with no problem. All the same, congrats (I know how that ”unfinished business” can chafe...), and please do post those pictures! Hope someone retrieves your axe.


Lavender Couloir
07/12/2009 18:31
Would have gladly front pointed down, however, we did not have crampons. I am working on the photo thing...


I‘ll look for your axe...
07/15/2009 16:49
Ok, so it sounds like I should take crampons and ice axe. I will keep my eyes peeled for yours. I will be there this weekend. How hard was the ice in the couloir?


re: ice ax
07/16/2009 07:59
CoulCat, the ice was still pretty firm, into the afternoon. Chopping steps was effective for us as more experienced climbers, but was uncomfortable for the less experienced. Crampons will make you more secure...
PS the piolet was on the left hand side of the coiloir wedged in a rock crack just at the start of the snow line. Thanks so much for looking!


Your Ice Axe
07/16/2009 14:09
I too was up there last Friday and I did see your axe stuck in the rocks to the left of the gully. Sorry, man I would have grabbed it but I figured someone was up ahead of us. We didn‘t come down that way so I forgot all about it. Somebody will get it back to you, lots of people going up there now.


07/16/2009 17:57
Cool! I am now very hopeful! No worries for not grabbing it. If anybody does find it let me know and I will get my info out to you! Thanks guys!


ice axe
08/05/2009 23:09

Have you gotten your axe back yet? I‘m planning on going Saturday and can look for it.

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