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Snowmass - Advice Needed

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby pw » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:16 am

Wish I lived in CO wrote:
Snowmass (std. route) would fit the bill perfectly, nice back-pack in, nice lake to camp at - looks very picturesque. Plus that I haven't done it yet helps. I have no doubt he could handle the effort it would take with the hike in and the climb. The problem is that my gut feel is that this is too technical a climb for someone with no climbing experience. I realize that the snow conditions could vary for a late July trip. I have an axe and crampons, and can rent for him if conditions warrant. More than that though I worry about rockfall (yes, we'd wear helmuts) or loose rocks to tumble over. I think he'd enjoy the class 3 climbing challenge, but I could never forgive myself if something happened to him.

For those that have done Snowmass (std. route) what are your thoughts. Too technical? Too loose? Rockfall? Or really no big deal?



Snowmass was probably the fourth or fifth fourteener I'd ever done, don't remember thinking it was very difficult, mostly long, but if split into a couple of days with a backpack, that part wouldn't be bad. I did it before there was the Roach book with his ratings of the peaks, when it came out and I saw it was Class 3 I couldn't figure out what part was 3, maybe the top where you scramble over a few boulders, but really, I think you could do it. The scree slope above the lake is kind of tedious, but just take your time and it's not a problem.

Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby Nelson » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:03 am

1st, there are beginner peaks in the Elks: Castle and Conundrum. These are very doable in one day by a fit beginner.

2nd, You can do the Chicago Basin train trip. Windom is very doable and, if he is comfortable with scrambling, you might even try Eolus. Chicago Basin is a beautiful camping trip.

3rd, I would not begin with Snowmass. Yes, it is a beautiful place to camp, but that mountain has too much history to take an unexperienced person. Where rockfall is an issue, I like to get on and off the mountain as quickly as possible. There are a lot of things that will keep a new person from doing that,eg., blisters, equipment, ams etc.

Nelson

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby Tornadoman » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:55 pm

scottfarish wrote:
Tornadoman wrote:Another option for a backpack would be Blanca/Ellingwood. It would be a good moderate climb in terms of difficulty. It is quite the grunt up the Lake Como road, but just make the 18-year old carry most of the gear. :-D Blanca is a lot of fun, and seemed pretty solid to me, Ellingwood was looser and crappier but still probably reasonable.

As for Snowmass there have been a few bad accidents/deaths there recently where people didn't make mistakes, but just seemed to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been thinking about that mountain and the S-ridge might be the option to avoid the majority of the falling rock.


Blanca/Ellingwood=yes... S-Ridge=BIG NO (not for a first-timer anyway). The S-Ridge is fun, but it is still very loose, dangerous, and requires your full attention the entire time. There is no less amount of falling rock on that route than there is on any other part of the mountain. Rewind to the experiences of slimshady and MountainMedic this past summer to gauge just how brutal that route is. I'm not trying to deter anyone from doing the S-ridge, just not recommending it for those with little or no experience.


Just to clarify, I wasn't recommending the S-ridge to their particular group, (nor would I recommend Snowmass at all anyone having never climbed it, I was just saying it *might* be a better option as I've seen posts from some people who feel that it is safer). I didn't remember that either of those incidents were on the S-ridge. I thought slimshady's partners climbed the S-ridge but that he took a different route up? Anyway you slice it, a lot of incidents have happened on Snowmass in recent times, and it is definitely a peak that demands respect!

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby SurfNTurf » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:56 pm

Give all the advice you want people, but please don't trivialize Snowmass. Class 3 or not, that mountain is dangerous. There are far more suitable destinations for a first 14er backpack.

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby mtgirl » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:21 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:Give all the advice you want people, but please don't trivialize Snowmass. Class 3 or not, that mountain is dangerous. There are far more suitable destinations for a first 14er backpack.


Completely agree ! This coming from someone who is 0 for 2 on Snowmass with only four 14ers remaining. Both times I turned back due to creepy rockfall situations. Will be going for attempt #3, with snow this time.
"Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby Fisching » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:17 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:In the summer Snowmass, in my opinion, is probably the easiest and least dangerous class 3. Unless you count the hike in as difficult.
There is about 100 vertical feet of class 3, if it is class 3, which I question. I think there is very little rockfall danger on the standard route, unless someone jumps above you on the 30 vertical feet to the saddle.
If there is snow, it is usually easy and fun. Ice axe is a good idea, but you can always avoid the snow.
Great first climb.
Unless the kid has done nothing but play video games for the last 4 years, he should be fine.


pseudoghost wrote:Snowmass is a pretty good trip. I wouldn't worry about the difficulty: I did it snowfree in the summer and it wasn't bad. I'm not sure why it's considered class 3.


pw wrote:Snowmass was probably the fourth or fifth fourteener I'd ever done, don't remember thinking it was very difficult, mostly long, but if split into a couple of days with a backpack, that part wouldn't be bad. I did it before there was the Roach book with his ratings of the peaks, when it came out and I saw it was Class 3 I couldn't figure out what part was 3



I've seen and read a bunch of stupid s**t in my time. Hell, I've done my fair share, but these comments, far and away, take the cake.

There have been two deaths in addition to two serious injuries on that God forsaken peak in the past two years. I can say with certainty that three out of four of those incidences happened due to the unforgiving will of that mountain, not climber error. That says something. Saying anything contrary to that is to lead another person into harm, and the blame will be on the person who trivializes Snowmass. Analysis/advice such as these will lead to blood on your hands.

Back on point to the original poster... I apologize for my scathing remarks to some of these posters. I'm glad that you're taking the time to ask about this as it shows you're not taking the mountain lightly. If it were me, I would not take a completely inexperienced teenager up Snowmass. You might have the skills to climb that peak, but that does not make up for his inexperience.
Peter Aitchison on the risks of rock climbing and mountaineering: "That's life, isn't it? We think the challenge and satisfaction you get from doing this is worth the risks."

"Respect the mountain. Train hard. Hope you can sneak up when it isn't looking."

"The mind is always worried about consequences, but the heart knows no fear. The heart just does what it wants."

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby DaveSwink » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:27 pm

Fisching wrote:I've seen and read a bunch of stupid s**t in my time. Hell, I've done my fair share, but these comments, far and away, take the cake.

Analysis/advice such as these will lead to blood on your hands.


I think the opinions offered were based on personal experience, and undoubtedly valid in that context. You are offering the OP a valuable, broader perspective that includes a lot of very sad recent history. Would it have been as useful if you weren't rude?

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby d_baker » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:30 pm

Perhaps The Cheese, The Ghost, and Mr. PW found easier and safer terrain to climb on than others have, thus their opinion on the route.
When we did in early June one year, the loosest area we encountered was on the slope above the lake. Once on the ridge, I don't recall it being that dangerous on the route we had chosen. But I don't think I would take a beginner on it. Take him to the lake for sure though! That would rock. Plus, the crux of the whole trip is the log jam. That's fun, and can be quite entertaining!

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby pw » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:40 pm

d_baker wrote:Perhaps The Cheese, The Ghost, and Mr. PW found easier and safer terrain to climb on than others have, thus their opinion on the route.


What you said. I can only evaluate it based on what I experienced when I climbed it.
Last edited by pw on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby cheeseburglar » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:07 pm

Ok, I'll bite.
Can someone list the accidents that have occurred on the standard route on Snowmass?
This might educate me, I don't know of any.
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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby d_baker » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:12 pm

Fisching's comments are emotionally charged because his friend died up there last summer, somewhere either on Snowmass, Hagerman, or somewhere in between. Judging from his post, I'm no longer certain where he was.
The other was from a year before (2011) while on the descent. Died from injuries sustained in a rockfall. I think a couple of Fisching's Brat Packer friends were there for that.

No matter the mountain, there will be loose rocks and danger. Sometimes people can find safe alternatives around loose areas and have very safe ascents and descents. Sometimes not, unfortunately.

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Re: Snowmass - Advice Needed

Postby DaveSwink » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:15 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:Can someone list the accidents that have occurred on the standard route on Snowmass?


http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12421&parmpeak=Snowmass+Mountain&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include

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