Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  07/22/2010
Date Climbed:   07/19/2010
Author:  sjsw
 "Classic" Route With Snow (Class 3) Detour  

The key to Sneffels can be summed up in 3 words..."Scree", "Talus" and "Boulders". If you don't like any of these then Sneffels is probably not for you as you're going to be walking or climbing on one of the three from the time you take off from the upper trail-head until you summit the mountain. This is my sixth 14er (including Long's Peak) and while it's been a while since I did Long's I would have to say that this was equally as challenging in its own rite because of having to deal with so much scree and talus leading to a lot of unstable footing. I would not attempt this climb without a good set of (hiking) poles for improved stability and to test all the loose rock along the route.

Also there is still a lot of snow and ice in the upper gully so we had to take the detour around it which includes a class 3 to 3+ scramble to the summit inviting a lot more exposure than the classic notch route. My guesstimate would be that the full upper gully route will not be snow free for at least several more weeks and perhaps even longer so if exposure makes you nervous then wait until mid to late August to give the classic route a go. The snow (IMHO) is just too dangerous right now for a safe decent. One slip and you could plunge 100 feet into the rocks below that the snow has already melted from.

On the day we went up we saw quite a few people turn back after reaching the saddle at the top of the Lavender Col as the scree climb had taken it's toll. This part of the hike is the more difficult part to me than the rock scrambling to the summit because solid footing is very difficult to come by and thus creates dangers that just don't exist on some of the easier class 1 or 2 14ers where less steep slopes are more the rule. In other words take the class 2+ rating here with a grain of salt as I think it's really a little under-rated in that respect.

If I could give one piece if advice about this trip it's to remember that the decent (because of the loose rock) can be just as (if not more) dangerous than ascent which is not the case with some of the other 14ers I've done.

That being said, the views are some of the most spectacular in all of Colorado provided you understand what you're getting into, take the proper precautions, and respect all the loose scree and tallus.

 Comments or Questions
The Legend

So true
07/25/2010 02:07
Did this one two weeks ago, it was a wonderful test. Glad you had fun too.

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