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 Peak(s):  Snowdon Pk  -  13,077 feet
"South Snowdon"  -  13,046 feet
Point 12,618 - 12,618 feet
 Post Date:  06/21/2012
 Date Climbed:   06/19/2012
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 Snowdon Group     


Snowdon Peak 13,077
“South Snowdon” 13,046
Point 12,618



June 19-20, 2012
~18.8 Miles, ~8,900 Gain.
TH: Andrews Lake TH . Crater Lake Trail (623)

Day 1: ~7.6 Miles, 4,000 Gain.


Working out of Durango for a week has its perks as there is nothing like a good climbing trip before work. My wife and I left Denver around 7:30 AM on the 19th, and despite a few car issues, we arrived at the trailhead and were hiking up the Crater Lake Trail around 2:40 PM. With an impeccable weather forecast and clear skies, I was planning on climbing the Snowdon group before reaching camp.
It was too bad the snow wasn't in better shape in the Naked Lady couloir since that was the route I was hoping to climb on Snowdon.

The trail marked on the topo is incorrectly labeled as the trail actually takes a few switchbacks on the south side of Andrews Lake, not the north side. When we reached the top of a hill overlooking a marshy meadow and two small lakes at ~11,200, I departed the trail and was going to meet up with my wife at Crater Lake. From the meadow, I hiked toward Point 11,625. My original intention wasn't to climb 11,625 but I somehow ended up on top. No big deal, as I continued onward traversing below the north face of Point 12,450 bypassing several beautiful quartzite slabs/cliffs.

Quartzite slabs en-route to Snowdon.
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Near the east side of 12,450, I started traversing towards the northern Snowdon-S Snowdon saddle on talus. About 100 feet below the saddle, I stashed my camp pack on a small rock cliff thus eliminating my urge to “punt” a marmot upon my return to my pack. I gained the saddle and followed a wide ledge, about level with the saddle, on the east side of the ridge until I reached a gully. I passed a large out of place tree on the ledge.


Snowdon.
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The talus hike between Snowdon and 12,450.
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Looking towards Engineer near the S-Snowdon-Snowdon saddle.
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Chicago basin peaks from near the S-Snowdon-Snowdon saddle.
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South ridge on Snowdon. (large tree can be seen)
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Before reaching the gully, I had to do some minor class 3 moves downward to reach the gully. Somewhere I read that a 5.0 move was required to get out of this gully, that most definitely is not the case. Once I reached the gully from my wide ledge, there were a few class 3 moves out of the gully onto a narrower ledge marked by yet another smaller tree.

Class 3 scrambling after the wide ledge.
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Narrower ledge after the gully. The smaller tree is washed out in this photo.
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Following the narrow ledge took me around a small rock buttress into a deep narrow gully. I climbed on class 3 terrain up the deep gully to the ridge. A few more class 3 moves were required on the ridge until I reached easier class 2 terrain which took me to the summit where I arrived at 5:10 PM. Perfect weather as there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Snowdon and the deep gully.
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Looking up the deep gully.
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Chicago Basin peaks and Pigeon from the summit of Snowdon.
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Looking down the south ridge of Snowdon.
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Looking at the class 3 crux.
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I returned to my pack, and descended to ~12,500 on the west side of the ridge to bypass the second southern saddle as easy travel on the ridge isn't possible. Zoning out, I missed a mellow ascent line to the summit of South Snowdon and ended up climbing directly east up the west face on fairly stable talus to the summit where I arrived at 6:10 PM. I took a little break enjoying the fine views of the Weminuche.

Snowdon from South Snowdon.
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The Twilights from South Snowdon.
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Point 12,618 from South Snowdon.
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Moving onward, I descended the steep class 2 talus south-southwest ridge on South Snowdon. Once I reached the base of the ridge, it was a grassy ridge romp to 12,618. About 200 feet short of the summit I was glad to ditch camp pack and reached the summit of 12,618 at 7:10 PM. 12,618 probably has one of the best views of Pigeon Peak. Stunning.

The steep class 2 talus south ridge of South Snowdon.
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Looking at the Animas from 12,618.
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Pigeon and Turret and Chicago Basin peaks from 12,618.
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Jagged and Knife Point from 12,618.
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South Snowdon from 12,618.
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Returning to my pack, I made a direct line toward Crater Lake where I met up with my wife around 7:50 PM and we had an enjoyable dinner. Continued next report....

Route on Snowdon.
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Route Map.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (6)
Floyd


12,618's views     2012-06-21 16:10:16
You're not kidding! They are incredible. I can't believe how dry it is compared to last year.

I bet I know what's coming next...


tmathews

I think I'm developing....     2012-06-21 16:22:00
Furthermore envy.


Monster5


Awesome!     2012-06-21 23:15:10
Sorry this weekend didn't work out. Lowly Greenhorn is now my most expensive peak.

Also, there are some cool limestone caves between Andrew's and Snowdon. They see a lot of moisture, but they may be worth checking out further.


Furthermore


Sinkholes     2012-06-22 07:04:37
I noticed some sinkholes while hiking in. I know of only a few caves worthwhile in the SJs.... Kinda neat finding alpine limestone though.


geojed


Sweet views     2012-06-22 07:15:01
Those are some incredible views. It reminds me of Kane's adage that most of the time the lower peaks have the best views. 8) 8)


Steve Knapp



Summer Solstice     2012-06-22 11:50:30
Nice work taking advantage of the longest day of the year for an evening climb. I love it when the weather allows that kind of thing. Those look like nice peaks.

Monster5, how did Greenhorn become an expensive peak?



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