Peak(s):  Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2010
Date Climbed:   09/04/2010
Author:  14erPeakBagger
 #58 - Mt Sneffels  

I started climbing fourteeners when I moved to Colorado 10 years ago. I had no intention of climbing every one of them but with every peak the fever grew. Ansel Adams described it best, "No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied - it speaks in silence to the very core of your being." For me, the silence grew louder every year as the peaks beckoned me to come back. Finally, On Sept. 4th, 2010 , I climbed my 58th fourteener in Colorado .

I chose Mt Sneffels as my finisher because it is not very technical, and besides that, my girlfriend, Adrienne, wanted to climb my celebratory peak with me. The day before, while driving into Ouray, we had a good look at the mountain from the north. The peak dominated everything in the area and looked a bit intimidating, but I reassured Adrienne that it won't be all that bad. On Saturday, we left Ouray at 6:00am and made our way up Yankee Boy Basin in my S40 Volvo. We parked the car about 1/2 mile below the lower parking lot (with restrooms) as the road got to steep and rough. My F150 would have easily made it. But since God blessed us with a perfect day, we didn't mind hiking the extra half a mile anyway. I loaded my precious cargo into my backpack, and we departed for the summit.

The first mile of the hike was basically walking on the jeep trail before the trail separated from the road. The 4x4 road continues up to 12,400 ft, but what's the fun in driving up that? The trail was in good shape and well maintained. Pretty soon we caught up with a couple of guys who thought Gilpin Peak (peak on the left as you're going up) was Mt Sneffels. We learned later that they (at least one of them) was "high" on something. But I pointed them in the right direction as we separated and they continued up the southwest ridge. We chose the standard route up the gully.

The gully was steep with loose scree. We found the climb a bit easier if we stayed to the left side of the scree, and zig-zagged our way up the small boulders. We didn't see anyone else on this route but could hear voices further up. We could see several parties of climbers below us heading for the southwest ridge. After a couple of breaks (maybe an hour), we reached the ridge at 13,400 ft and turned left up the couloir. The couloir wasn't as steep, and had more solid footing. We found this section a bit easier. Pretty soon we were at the notch as we caught up with several climbers. From here, it was a class 3 scramble to the top. We reached the summit around 9:45am . Pretty soon we saw several climbers, including our two friends who almost climbed Gilpin Peak , arrive from the southwest ridge.

Once on the summit, I bought out my bottle of champagne (precious cargo). I gave it a good shake and popped the top. About half of the content went up in a spray. We took a few sips and shared it with the other climbers. It really didn't have any effect on us since we all took a couple of sips each. With a perfect weather, there was no need to get off the mountain quickly. Finally after about an hour, we decided to descend back down the same route that we had come up. Secretly I was hoping to either climb or descend the southwest ridge but I had promised Adrienne that I'd take her on the safest route. I did just that. The descent was uneventful other than Adrienne might lose 1 or 2 of her toenails. We were surprised to see a lot of climbers still heading up by noon time. I guess it's that time of the year when the electrical storms are no longer a concern. We took our time hiking back down. Once back in town, we visited the vapor cave in Ouray. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

09/15/2010 03:56
Congratulations! Myself and Haybo1 were with you on the summit and took your pics! It was fun being there for your finisher!


Good job!
06/02/2011 14:57


Time to get your house painted now!
04/18/2014 19:27
Johnny feels great huh? It was fun meeting you in Chicago Basin glad you and your woman had a good time. Congrats!!!


09/16/2010 01:35
Thanks everyone. Hey Yalegirl - thanks for taking the pics. It was fun hanging out with you at the top.

Paul - It feels great to be ”done”. Now I can get my life back and actually finish painting my house that I started back in May. We had a great time in Chicago Basin. Thanks for pushing me to bag all 4 peaks at the basin.

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