| Sneffels & Cirque - Yankee Boy Basin
June 4 (Wednesday). Meant to leave Colo Spgs by 3 pm, but as things usually go that didn't work out. So, at 6pm I was rolling out of town. That got me to the Yankee Boy Basin Trailhead (10,700' where the road starts getting rougher) at 12:30am. As I arrived it started snowing! I was planning to sleep in the car (the rear seat will fold over) which was great until I realized that my air mattress had a hole in it. Dooh! I woke several times through the night and it continued to snow. I was up at 5:30am and it had stopped snowing, but still didn't look like it was going to be a clear day.
By 6:30am I was off for a new adventure. It was a short hike up to the outhouse, with the road plowed all the way. The snow from the night had left a good inch on the road, with perhaps two inches on top of the old snow. The sun almost broke through at sunrise, but then lost the battle to the clouds. I got some good pictures of Potosi Peak (13,786').
This picture is looking back down towards the trailhead.
The hike up was uneventful. There was snow everywhere – skiers would love it. Both the wide gully to 13,580' and the steep gully to 14,050' were snow packed with a couple inches of fresh powder on top. Crampons would have been nice, but the ice axe did the trick. I could have used my snowshoes but found that I could manage without them. From the steep gully I got a nice picture of Cirque Mountain (13,686') , which I climbed later in the day.
I summitted Sneffels at 10:30am, just in time for the snow to start up again. It had been a very calm morning, with basically no wind. Even now the wind was very minimal, but the snow started falling faster and faster. I took the time for some a nice "jump" shot , and also took the time to send out an "okay" message on the SPOT, then pack up and prepared for a glissade down the gully. Managed to stay in control most of the time, but had to self arrest once. What fun!
Point 13,694' looked like more than I wanted to tackle in these conditions, so I glissaded back down the wide gully (nice!), went around the base of Point 13,694' and back up the gully between Point 13,694' and Cirque Mountain. As I summitted the ridge the wind kicked up a lot. The crazy thing was that my thermometers were reading about 50 degrees, and it was still snowing like crazy! I continued up to Cirque, and with a little scrambling near the top made it without incident.
I had so wanted to grab Teakettle and Potosi while I was making the rounds, but with the snowy, wet conditions I knew that both of those climbs would not be advisable. (That doesn't usually stop me, but maybe the broken femur last year taught me something?!) Plus the fact that I needed to be leaving by 4pm made me decide that a glissade descent of Cirque would be the next order of business. Talk about a wild ride! I felt like I was 10 years old again, sliding on my SnowClaw for a couple thousand feet descent. The conditions were perfect and I was flying!!! I was laughing like a mad man by the time it was over. Wish I had a video of it all.
The hike back to the car was quick. I stopped for a trailhead (near the outhouse) picture. (Turns out it is about .8 miles from where I parked to the outhouse.) By this time all the snow on the road had melted. One of the snow banks along the road must have been close to 18 feet high! I was back to the car just before 4pm. Total mileage was 7.6miles. It was also great seeing the road in daylight on the drive out! Beautiful scenery. All in all, a fantastic day. This makes 14er #45! (And 59 of the centennials.)
Here's the GPS track.
And here's the GPS profile.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):