|Peak:||Snowmass Mountain (14er)|
|Route:||S Ridge (aka South Ridge)|
|Date of Info:||08/22/2020|
Just here to hype the S Ridge (aka the South Ridge)...
Having climbed Snowmass via the East Slopes and now having descended the West Slopes, I'm happy to report this scenic alternative avoids the scree slogs of both the east and west slopes. The S Ridge felt solid enough that I told my climber partner he was being cheated out of the traditional Rockmass experience (you know... those microwave sized boulders that wiggle with just a stare).
We gained the ridge by starting at the base of the left gully and ascending the rock rib that splits the two gullies. We found a nice Class 3 stair step up to the rib within probably the first 50-100 feet of the gully's entrance (on climber's right). Once on the rib it was pleasantly solid rock to the ridge and summit. See Wentzl's October 2019 trip reports for gully pictures (photos 8, 10, 11). Our starting gully is photo 11 labeled "Left Gully".
Once on the ridge the optional crux is "the slabs". We opted to scamper up the short class 3+/4 slab (~20/25 ft. vert.) and around the pinnacle rock tower on the exposed side (climber's right). If you don't want the spice of the slabs it looked like there was a walk around to climber's left, avoiding the slabs and the exposure. See merrion13's August 2017 trip report for a picture of the pinnacle rock tower above the slabs (photo 6). "The slabs" are not in view as they are behind and below the towering rock pinnacle; however, you can see the Class 3 gully walk around to the right in photo 6. The airier slabs ascent leaves you on the left side of the pinnacle in photo 6.
Outside of these two areas it's a straight forward Class 3 scramble on nice rock. We ended up descending the West Slopes, and were very glad to have only set foot in this gully once given how ugly and loose it is.
Just as the West Slopes became a favorite to avoid the long approach of the East Slopes, I believe the S Ridge (aka South Ridge) could eventually become a favorite to avoid the garbage chute of the West Slopes. Happy scramblin'!