Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2009
Date Climbed:   09/11/2009
Author:  MNflatlanders02

 Standard Route vs SW Ridge  

Well, sometimes the alternate route doesn't pan out. After reading other trip reports on Mt Sneffels about the miserable scree, and a bad experience on Mt Lindsey in July 2009 (made better by following the latter half of the NW ridge down), we had decided to try the SW ridge route on Mt Sneffels. We'd done several Class 3 climbs and thought we could handle it. Wrong. We got near the top of the first gulley on the SW ridge and felt it was too difficult and too exposed, so we bailed out. This would be the first time in 32 attempts we might not summit but there was no shame. Since it was still early in the day, we thought we'd try the standard route; thankfully, we ran into a couple of climber's coming up to the SW ridge who explained the standard route including the exit crack near the top of the couloir. All went well up and down, although the exit crack was a bit tricky. At an exposed location, you step up about 3' on a series of wedged stones, and slide up and through a narrow opening on to ledges on the other side. The descent through the crack was tricky for a petite woman - the ever faithful husband assisted on the jump down. We had the summit to ourselves on a Friday, although there was one other hiker on his way up plus the two SW ridge climber's still on their way.
Another benefit to the day we climbed was recent rains; they created a scree/mud mixture that was quite stable on the descent. We used the large talus ascending to the Lavender Col and the gulley - much better than the dirt alley's, in our opinion.

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