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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-07-12||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Other than a few minor snow fields, the route is dry up until halfway up Lavender Col. However, as the conditions report from a day earlier indicates, this snow was bullet-proof, very icy and hard, early in the morning before the sun hit. This 200-foot section represented a snow climb, and to anyone attempting this within the next two weeks before 8:30 AM or so, I'd strongly recommend crampons, an ice axe, and some confidence in using them. I did observe a few people using microspikes but the going was very slow. That's what I attempted to use, and they didn't work very well for me. I decided not to go further. The other option is obviously to wait until the sun starts softening up the snow, but as we know with monsoons, this isn't always an option. Regarding other conditions reports that suggest climbing the surrounding rock ribs instead, remember that involves Class 3 scrambling and possibly a few Class 4 moves, and also would mean crossing another very steep gully with snow in it. Best to be prepared for a short snow climb in Lavender Col for another week or two.
|2016-07-11||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: We camped at Blue Lakes and started the climb at Blue lakes pass. After deciding to take the southwest ridge, our group came to a snow field at the first pinnacle. There was enough melt that right next to the pinnacle there was enough room to move without entering the snow. From there up until the peak it was snow free. After deciding to take the Yankee Boy route down, that's where we ran into problems. The snow on Lavender Col spread the whole width and was soft in the afternoon. After slowly decending and sliding a few feet at a time, the pitch increased and so did our speed. It was very dangerous and all four of us had to basically self arrest before the rocks. In fact, in the 7/12 report photo you can see the chute we created down the middle of the snow. The rest of the route was snow free.
|2016-07-10||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: If starting early, you may want to bring ice axe and microspikes/crampons. We started up Lavender Col around 7:00 am and it was a solid sheet of ice and we had a hard time kicking steps. People heading up late didn't seem to need them. Also, a helmet would be smart in the gully.
|2016-06-30||Route: From Yankee Boy Basin
Info: Climbed in the middle of the night from Yankee Boy. Accidentally climbed a couloir on the South face straight toward the summit that ran out of snow around 13200ft. From there it was nasty loose class3 covered ledges to the top. Descended the Lavendar Col route, upper section was snow free, and the snow in Lavendar was fairly soft in the middle of the night and easy to plunge step down without my crampons on, just an ice axe for protection. One could scramble the rock ribs to the sides of the couloir to avoid the snow if desired. The lower slope approach to Lavendar is mostly dirt and the snow can be avoided. The snow that did exist down low was fairly punchy and I did some postholing, but was also able to get a couple short glissades in.
|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.