| Snowdon Group
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.
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.
The talus hike between Snowdon and 12,450.
Looking towards Engineer near the S-Snowdon-Snowdon saddle.
Chicago basin peaks from near the S-Snowdon-Snowdon saddle.
South ridge on Snowdon. (large tree can be seen)
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.
Narrower ledge after the gully. The smaller tree is washed out in this photo.
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.
Looking up the deep gully.
Chicago Basin peaks and Pigeon from the summit of Snowdon.
Looking down the south ridge of Snowdon.
Looking at the class 3 crux.
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.
The Twilights from South Snowdon.
Point 12,618 from South Snowdon.
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.
Looking at the Animas from 12,618.
Pigeon and Turret and Chicago Basin peaks from 12,618.
Jagged and Knife Point from 12,618.
South Snowdon from 12,618.
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.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):