Best time of year for Snowmass

Colorado peak questions, condition requests and other info.
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
Post Reply
Bccrhp
Posts: 39
Joined: 8/6/2018
14ers:summits21 

Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by Bccrhp » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:18 pm

Hey all, hoping for some collective wisdom on the best time of year to attempt Snowmass Mountain. One of our principal goals for this trip is to get experience with a snow climb, so we're trying to find that perfect weather window when getting to Snowmass Lake is relatively snow-free but the summit approach itself is snow, not scree. Does the end of May or perhaps the beginning June seem like a decent guess (and I realize it's just a guess this far out) for those conditions? Thanks!
User avatar
cottonmountaineering
Posts: 531
Joined: 5/11/2018
14ers:summits58 ski6 winter18 
13ers:summits161 ski20 winter27 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by cottonmountaineering » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:29 pm

I would look through the trip reports and see what fits for you, June and July probably fits the bill

https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripmain ... =14ers_430
User avatar
desertdog
Posts: 438
Joined: 7/26/2011
14ers:summits58 winter6 
13ers:summits158 winter5 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by desertdog » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:02 pm

I really love Snowmass. I been up it on several different routes, and have had to bail on it a couple times as well. I really like the Standard Direct Variation from the east: It is a nice snow climb and you avoid most of the crappy ridge. Very generally late June to mid July is a good time to go, but that changes year to year. If you go too early the ridge may be holding ice plus the approach is a sufferfest. Too late, and you are on rocks. Summer before last, I went late July and it was a beautiful snow climb. As said, just watch for condition reports as summer starts.
The summit is a source of power. The long view gives one knowledge and time to prepare. The summit, by virtue of the dizzying exposure, leaves one vulnerable. A bit of confidence and a dash of humility is all we get for our work. Yet to share these moments with friends is to be human. C. Anker
User avatar
dwoodward13
Posts: 402
Joined: 3/26/2011
14ers:summits58 winter12 
13ers:summits101 winter3 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by dwoodward13 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:29 pm

During 2018 (low snow year), I climbed it the first weekend in June and it was perfect. No snow to the lake, but snow past the lake.

I think the timing is going to depend a lot on how much snow we get the rest of the season. As we get closer to the end of the winter season, may be beneficial to look at similar snow years in the TRs/CRs.
Bccrhp
Posts: 39
Joined: 8/6/2018
14ers:summits21 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by Bccrhp » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:48 pm

Thanks, all. I'm an out-of-stater so it's a bit harder to know how much snow y'all are getting this year. I'll keep an eye on things, but it sounds like late May is most likely too early in any event.
User avatar
dwoodward13
Posts: 402
Joined: 3/26/2011
14ers:summits58 winter12 
13ers:summits101 winter3 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by dwoodward13 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:11 pm

Bccrhp wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:48 pm
Thanks, all. I'm an out-of-stater so it's a bit harder to know how much snow y'all are getting this year. I'll keep an eye on things, but it sounds like late May is most likely too early in any event.
I'm not so sure about that, that may end up being pretty good timing (hopefully not though). This season is pretty dismal and at the current moment, comparable to 2018. The below link should sent you to an interactive chart you can compare years to snow levels in the Aspen area.

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/WCIS ... _fork.html
User avatar
CaptCO
Posts: 1559
Joined: 7/14/2019
14ers:summits58 winter12 
13ers:summits43 
Trip Reports (5)
Contact:

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by CaptCO » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:13 pm

dwoodward13 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:11 pm
Bccrhp wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:48 pm
Thanks, all. I'm an out-of-stater so it's a bit harder to know how much snow y'all are getting this year. I'll keep an eye on things, but it sounds like late May is most likely too early in any event.
I'm not so sure about that, that may end up being pretty good timing (hopefully not though). This season is pretty dismal and at the current moment, comparable to 2018. The below link should sent you to an interactive chart you can compare years to snow levels in the Aspen area.

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/WCIS ... _fork.html
This. Snowpack is alarmingly low in most ranges right now.. imho. I had a good time in June and we had much more snow at this point last winter
"It's a thing if you want it to be a thing. What others think of something is irrelevant." -OldSchool
User avatar
Scott P
Posts: 8131
Joined: 5/4/2005
14ers:summits51 winter16 
13ers:summits41 winter13 
Trip Reports (16)
Contact:

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by Scott P » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:59 pm

On the standard route, the biggest concern in late May/early June will be the stream crossing. Sometimes it can be trecherous.

Just make sure you are profecient with an ice axe before doing Snowmass as a snowclimb, though the Snowmass itself had a good runout when we were there.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
ChadBriggs
Posts: 8
Joined: 9/8/2016
14ers:summits5 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by ChadBriggs » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:25 am

I’ve only climbed snowmass once but will say from my limited experience that unless you have some substation snowflake action accomplished I would save it for summertime.
lafiurcm
Posts: 16
Joined: 6/5/2016
14ers:summits58 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by lafiurcm » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:05 am

I climbed Snowmass on July 3rd last year and enjoyed the conditions. A week or two earlier may have been better but some people were getting turned around by the log jam in May/June. The boulder field at the end of the lake was dry but there was snow above it.

Tips:
-Getting back down from the rocky ridge to the snow, after summiting, was the crux. It's a little steep and I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep my footing once I touched the soft snow. I was prepared to self arrest and had to, so definitely bring an axe, even in July.
-I was glad I carried both trailrunners and boots since the trailrunners got soaked going around the lake. The "bushwack" was easy.
-I wish I stayed a second night at the lake. It's a long walk out + drive back to Denver.
ltlFish99
Posts: 293
Joined: 5/22/2019
14ers:summits40 ski2 winter2 
13ers:summits51 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by ltlFish99 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:13 pm

I have been up there 3 times. All 3 were in August. It was always dry to the lake, yet snow on the peak. The weather was great every time.
ltlFish99
Posts: 293
Joined: 5/22/2019
14ers:summits40 ski2 winter2 
13ers:summits51 

Re: Best time of year for Snowmass

Post by ltlFish99 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:15 pm

ltlFish99 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:13 pm
I have been up there 3 times. All 3 were in August. It was always dry to the lake, yet snow on the peak. The weather was great every time.
+1 on the above recommendation of staying another night after summit day. I agree that it is a long day to summit, hike out, then drive back to Denver.
Post Reply