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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-06-27||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Ok, had to add my two cents here after Caleb. Even though just a day later, we have a bit of a different take. Don't go up here for the next few weeks without an axe and some good common sense. The snow conditions above Lavender Col are tricky and dangerous. If you don't like snow, do the variation on the south along the rock that avoids it. That said, the route from Blue Lake Pass up the SW Ridge is in great shape. Snow can be avoided for the most part, except the first couple hundred vertical feet from Blue Lakes Pass. An axe is comforting, traction is not necessary. Descending the standard route, the V-notch is finally snow free! Took a long time this year. As an alternative, hike to the very top of the gully and head straight up along the ridge. Looks hard, but nothing more than lower 4th class. oh yeah, just to be clear, bring an axe or stay out of the gully above Lavender Col for a couple weeks. No need for snowshoes anymore.
|2016-06-25||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The South West Ridge still had plenty of snow but was passable with micro-spikes. I personally did not have an ice axe but I wish that I did because there were moments on the ridge were you hug rock and snow and a fall would necessitate a self-arrest. Trekking poles sufficed to keep my balance, but I still would recommend an axe for the added confidence. Most of the snow was concentrated on the lower portions of the ridge and the gully. We opted to descend the standard route for time sake. It was also holding plenty of snow. Two cool guys from Arizona summited it in running shoes with no traction, but that is extremely impressive! We had to kick in steps on the way down. However the snow became very soft as we descended. It is possible to climb without any traction or axe but I would not recommend it. However, the steps are probably very kicked in at this point so the conditions could be much easier by now.
|2016-06-24||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Road to lower trail head is free of snow, and water crossings are no problem for 4WD vehicles. Saw two low clearance vehicles parked on the road on the side. Road is closed before the upper trail head by Forest Service. Trail still has lots of snow above the 12,600 trail sign and right turn towards Sneffles, but passable until the broad gully southeast of Sneffels. From there -- rock hopping and postholing were the theme of the day. Still pretty firm snow on the way up -- but postholed in spots coming down - even in snowshoes. Steep snow conditions exist up high -- used microspikes and axes going up and down Lavender Col for safety - but saw a newbie hiker in shorts, trial shoes, and no fear make the hike with minor shin cuts. Still a very wet hike with water melt and slush snow.
|2016-06-22||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Such a stunning hike. However, there's still a decent amount of snow at the top. The trail was clear until the upper trailhead and into the base of the area where it starts to get real steep (after the "Mt. Sneffels" sign that directs you to the right). The snow becomes consistent in the steep ascent toward the summit. We were sans snowshoes, so we miserably postholed our way to the first plateau. We had plans to head left up to the summit but figured with all the snow making the boulder field slippery it would take an hour+ and a storm was rolling in quick. We worked about 1/4 way up the boulder field and called it quits. There was so much snow that we actually slid down the steep descent using our rain jackets as "sleds" (SO MUCH BETTER THAN POSTHOLING!)
|2016-06-18||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: I hiked in from the blue lakes trailhead on 6/17/16, set up camp between the lower and 2nd blue lake, and summited on 6/18/16. There was still lots of snow on the last half mile leading up to lower blue lake, then lots more snow between the first and second lakes. The post-holing was no fun in this section, but the snow is melting fast. From camp, the southwest ridge and blue lake pass looked like a good mix of snow and dry (photo 1). The area around the third lake and the climb up to the pass still had lots of snow (photo 2). I found it much easier to climb straight up the snow than try and follow the switchbacks. Microspikes and an ice axe helped big time. Photo 3 shows the first gully on the ridge from the route description. Photo 4 shows the notch you pass through. Photo 5 shows the gully you climb after the notch and short descent. Photo 6 looks down at lower blue lake from the summit. Photo 7 shows Yankee Boy Basin from the summit. For those reading this in future years, this was a slightly above average snow year with lots of late season (April and May) snow.
|2016-06-18||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Started from ~1/3 mile below the outhouses. Start time around 5:30AM. Lots of water on road - waterproof boots + poles recommended! Snow begins right past Wright Lake cutoff (~11800'). Snow conditions were generally excellent for entire route, very firm in AM (traction recommended even for lower angle sections) and soft but not slushy in PM. More typical of Cascades than CO. Crampons and axe highly recommended for headwall and Lavender couloir. Headwall to Lavendor col is starting to melt out around the middle 2/3 section, otherwise still quite snowy. Couloir was a mixture of kickable styrofoam and firmer snow; boot track comes and goes depending on snow firmness. V-notch still has cornice, exit just right of v notch (easy 3rd Class). After the couloir exit, there is still one more short, but moderately steep snowfield to cross with a not-great runout. Suggest at least keeping your axe handy (and possibly keeping crampons on) for this. Summit around 10 AM. Couloir was mostly plunge-steppable on descent, but those less comfortable with steep snow may still want to keep crampons on for the descent. Upper 50 feet or so of headwall still firm on descent, but softened up quickly. Glissaded most of headwall, thereby avoiding any postholing. We wore snowshoes for Yankee boy basin up and down, probably not required if conditions stay as they were today. Lots of snow still remaining in the heart of the San Juans - don't let all the "summer conditions" reports from elsewhere in the state fool you!
|2016-06-15||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Current conditions on Mt Sneffels as of last weekend (6/11): EPIC as usual with slush fest conditions, snowshoes a must for Yankee Boy Basin, upper couloir conditions were in good step kicking condition, not so for the lower couloir, definitely a team effort in post-hole conditions! Could see remnants of wet slide activity with one having come down one of the Birthday chutes. Across the basin Gilpen Peak has a wicked cornice up top after already having suffered one wet slide coming down right of the summit with the remaining ridge cornices intact, so probably wait a while before attempting that one. 4WD highly recommended for reaching the lower trailhead, had to start lower near the Governor Basin turnoff due to the road essentially being a river. Definitely start this one early if you can!
|2016-05-29||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The road to the junction of Yankee boy basin and governor basin was easily passable in our low clearance 2wd. The road from there to the "lower TH" (aka where the bathroom is) is plowed and passable in the right 4wd, but it is pretty rough. Past the TH the boot path follows the winter approach to the "upper TH". Snow coverage is continuous. We left the YB/governor intersection at 2am and found stable snow all the way up. Snow in the col softened up just in time for descent. Back in the basin the snow was yucky soft by 10am. The V notch is impassable (the photos from recent conditions report are still accurate). We varied slightly and climbed some of the rocks between the notch and where the boot path went. The traverse to the summit has some decent exposure but not too bad
|2016-05-28||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Parked at the out house in Yankee Boy basin. Climbed Lavender Couloir, and rode the main Birthday Chute. Started Climbing at 3:40pm, back to car by 7. it literally took me 17 minutes to get from the summit to my vehicle including stopping to take pictures. I walked maybe 50 feet from where my snowboard stopped. On the lower face up to Lavender Col things have mostly wet loose avalanched on the dust layer. There was 20 cm of storm snow that is just starting to transition on the upper faces. The slopes up to the trail head were sloppy. Even on skins you punch through the 20 or 30 cm down to the dust layer, and sometimes then some. There are ample snowshoe and trench tracks to the Sneffels Trailhead that are supportable, then a few more to the standard route. There was a boot pack and snowshoe pack up to the col, although partially covered by wet loose debris. This is the same in the Couloir I skinned the entire route up to the Col. There was 10-20 cm of wet snow refreezing on the way up. this made for fast supportable skinning conditions, although when i stopped to snack, it was cold enough to freeze glop on the skins. Shady and protected aspects harbor wintery snow on the surface. The ridge to the Couloir was soft where it hadn't avalanched and this quickly stuck to my wet skins. The main B. day chute goes very clean and is enjoyable. The portion that exits the cliffs was hard due to avy cleaning. It was quite hard in the pm. Turns off the top that weren't bed surface were awesome refreeze. There is an additional chute that exits to the east below lavender. It looked fairly clean and hasn't reached garbage chute status. N. aspects were wintery powder. There is a large bollard for the snake/trilogy rappel. This could be deepened. I would have been comfortable down climbing into the snake without a rope. Pow turns to be had down there!!! there was a party planning to climb up the snake the next day.
|2016-05-21||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Road is plowed to the outhouse and lower parking lot. Snow below 13,000 loose and granular. Still frozen higher up even at 3:30 in the afternoon. Cold and windy today, probably about 30 degrees at the summit. No crampons used today, but might make some more comfortable on the final push to the summit. All in all, a great day for a climb. Snowshoes necessary to the base of the lavender col. A nice descent alternative while the snow is still decent, head to Wrights lake and stay in the drainage back to the parking lot.
|2016-03-13||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Route in very good condition with stable snow (no sugar/bulletproof/talus/scree). The road from the gate up until Governor Basin is plowed and has no snow (but is pretty muddy). The V notch near the summit is somewhat impassible with overhanging snow, so a fun scramble is needed at the very top of the gully. Was able to (slowly) glissade from the saddle.
|2016-02-21||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Springlike conditions to about 13k, then reversal to winterish snow, with some windslab present and postholing. Pretty good and stable conditions right now overall. V-notch looks like a vertical notch currently. Noted multiple sizable wetslides in the basin (definitely a concern on a warmer day). Sweetest views.
|2016-01-10||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: We put in a track up to 13500 on the ridge. Slope to gain the ridge seemed safe. Deep powder on the ridge. Turned around so I‘d have time to ski the whole way down in daylight. The road‘s closed at 9000 feet but skiable the whole way above that. This was the first time I‘d ever tried back country skiing and all I can say is "anyone want to buy a pair of snowshoes?"
|2015-09-28||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Snow free. Easy, short, not very pretty in the basin but the views from the summit are great.
|2015-09-23||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Climbed Sneffels via the standard route. Yankee Boy Basin is clear of snow. From Sneffels we could see Chicago Basin, Pigeon, Turret, anything near Chicago basin had snow down to at least 13,000 on northern aspects in the morning. Sneffels had snow on the north face as well. Thin layer most likely melting fast. Colors are definitely showing on the drive into Yankee Boy Basin.
|2015-09-19||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Trailhead: I have an unmodified 2014 Tiguan and was only able to make it to about 11,800 before deciding not to risk absolutely tearing up my undercarriage on the upper part of the route. Most 4WD vehicles should be able to make it to at least 11,700. The hike up to 12,600 where the upper trailhead is really not bad at all anyway. Route: Once you get to the talus field, it‘s a steep hike. It was hard to stand upright at any point - most of the time I was having to lean into the mountain and found I made quicker progress when I had at least one hand on the ground. To compound, there is a ton of small gravel type rock so it is very hard to find good footing. Definitely stay to left side of the first gully where there are some bigger rocks to get traction on. The second gully is much easier before getting to the V-notch. Not going to lie, the notch was the my first experience with that type of move and the palms were sweating...Take your time when you get up there. The summit was very cold and it was very windy the whole time. Took me 1:40 to summit from 11,700 and 2:20 to get down since I was going sideways most of the way down. Beautiful day, though, with sun and a beautiful payoff once you get to the top.
|2015-09-13||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Ascended class-3 route, descended the scree route. Rare warm and sunny day of climbing. Low winds at summit. No snow. Road Conditions: dry except a couple of shallow water-filled holes, easily driven through with 4WD. My modified 4Runner had no problems at all reaching the upper trail head. The last part was a fun, very bouncy ride that requires driver skill as well as good clearance (mine is a couple of inches higher than stock). It was bumpy enough that my back seat passenger decided to walk down to parking area two. Mountain conditions: Dry, no snow. Truly excellent, very fun 3 class after hike to Blue Lakes pass. We followed Bill Middlebrook‘s route until near the end, where we decided to upclimb/traverse some high exposure rock that was somewhat more adrenaline-pumping than the description, as the rock was rounded with fewer good hand holds. Rock condition: Excellent. Good, solid hand/foot holds throughout except as mentioned above. Very fun 3 class where the heart pounding came from the stunning views instead of dubious holds. Descent on scree was long and unpleasant due to so many climbers below (some coming up that way; why anyone would do that boring route up is beyond me). I would have glissaded down most sections. As it was, it was a tedious way down. If I do it again, I‘ll go back down the 3rd class route, down climbing sections as I go up to make sure I can do them safely. Besides, the rock climbing is so fun, that would make it worth it alone!
|2015-08-24||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: This is my 32nd fourteener this summer. My goal is to climb them all by the end of the summer. You can read more on this hike and others by visiting sunshineof1985.com. Enjoy! Distance: 7.07 mi. (Parked .5 miles below first parking lot described) Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft. Time started: 8:50 am End time: 1:55 pm Time to Summit: 3 hours Time to Descent: 2 hours Overall Pace: 1.4 miles per hour *GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat (didn‘t use), light weight puffy coat (didn‘t use), lightweight gloves (didn‘t use), day pack with water sack (64 oz), snacks. *Road Condition: The road is typical with small pot holes and some rocks, but overall it‘s a very nice road. My car made it .5 miles before the first parking lot with the restroom, but after that, the road is horrible, and you need 4WD, and even then, it would help if it was lifted. *Trail Condition: Walking the road isn‘t bad as it is scenic, and you are constantly looking for Mount Sneffels to show up. The flowers are also quite pretty. Once you make it to the actual trailhead, the whole hike is talus. You walk around to the left side of Sneffels before you start heading up into the giant 500 foot scree field. Stay near big rocks to help you get up easier. You‘ll then run into another 500 foot gully to your left, but this one is fun! Climb up boulders and right before the top, head to the left to find the "V" notch. Once past that, follow the cairns to the top! Because of all the scrambling, expect it to slow your average pace.
|2015-08-04||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: The standard route from the upper trailhead, overall, is clear of snow and no special gear is required such as ice axes and micro spikes. The first gully up to the Lav. Couloir is as described in the route guide with the scree, but more navigable towards the left as you ascend. The final gully from the saddle heading to the V-Notch contains snow off to the left, but can be climbed easily to the right with somewhat of a defined path to the Notch. Notch is free and clear of snow. Final ascent to the summit is a non-issue. Summit log had several spiral bound notebooks with empty pages, but always bring a pen/pencil just in case... Enjoy!
|2015-07-25||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: We climbed Sneffels via the Southwest Ridge and descended via the standard route on Saturday. The Southwest Ridge is entirely snow free, however there is still a large patch of snow in the gully on the descent down the standard route. The snow was soft enough to sink into and walk down (we used microspikes to help), but you can also avoid it by staying to the climber‘s left and hugging the rocks.