Ascent of Mount Sneffels on 2019-08-24

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, August 24, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Sneffels
    Elevation:14150 ft / 4312 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove up to the Lower TH with the bathroom. This road is not a 2 wheel drive road especially at night. It is rough. I used a Nissan truck Frontier 4x4 and never needed more than 4 high. Lots of jeeps but I saw many AWD SUVs making it and a cross trek that went even part way up to the upper trailhead. AN SUV AWD will not make the upper TH. It was mostly jeeps at the upper end. I was confused by the difference in description of the lower trail head in Roach's book and I surmise that lower trailhead and bathroom may be higher upslope than it used to be. My GPS showed only 3 miles from the lower TH to the summit. Despite the quick round trip it is a difficult climb because the gully is in horrible condition.

I planned to do the class 3 ridge behind the pinnacle towers but I had not partner and I saw nobody today heading up that route and I did not want to solo around the towers in case of injury. Looking at the towers is extremely imposing but the books say it is not too bad if you stay on the backside of the towers. So with no-one to partner up with I did the slog. The scree and dirt is miserable. I would say this reminded me of the Challenger Point scree-dirt slog. Finding a good line is hard. At times the small talus is locked and good at other times the larger boulders. At one point I headed up the right side talus trying to stay out of the line of people going up the left gully and knocking rock down below.

I had a helmet and everyone should. I would say only half did. The right side of the gully was horrible. The talus is not locked and slides around you and it is exhausting fighting the downslides. I learned later that the left side is far better locked rock. The col is worn out and slippery too. The final gully has some better rock and large locked stone but the worn dirt and scree paths are miserable.

The crux move is no class 2+. Certainly the vast majority 95% of the rock climbing is scampering with hands down for balance more than pulling but the crux notch is an upclimb of steep rock with strong hand holds and you are pulling up hard. It is a fun crux, short but interesting with exposure on one side.

With views in all directions and over 3000 feet of prominence the top of this climb is one of the best! But the actual climb up the gullies is tedious. My boots slid constantly even on very shallow slopes which made the steeper sections a bit unnerving - thus I spent a lot of time shifting weight to rocks that were low the ground so to keep my balance I got an upper body work out that would not needed if the scree and dirt conditions were not so slippery.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3040 ft / 926 m
    Total Elevation Loss:170 ft / 51 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.1 mi / 9.8 km
    Grade/Class:1,2,2+, 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
45 Start 80F end
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2960 ft / 902 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2870 ft / 874 m; Extra: 90 ft / 27m
    Loss on way in:90 ft / 27 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:4 wheel drive road to gully
    Start Trailhead:Lower Trail Head Standard Yankee Boy  11280 ft / 3438 m
    Time:2 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:80 ft / 24 m
    Gain on way out:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:same but used Blue Lake Trail
    End Trailhead:parking  
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by William Musser
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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