Snowmass Mountain  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Up S-Ridge, down West Slopes
Posted On: 2020-10-10, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Could be a different story after Sunday, but on 10/9, Snowmass was snowless (including, according to the summit view, on the East Slopes). Partner left new registers and pens on this summit as well as N. Snowmass'. ETA some thoughts on the West Slopes now that I've gotten some sleep: partner and I were initially gung-ho to go back down S Ridge based on the horror stories we'd heard about the looseness of the W. Slopes, but the lateness of the day when we started descending + having had an adequate daily serving of spice ascending the Ridge prompted us to do the loop. The Slopes are indeed loose most of the way. There's a brief section of decently exposed Class 3 just below the summit, but this is pretty solid with only a couple places where you'd need to pay extra-close attention to your next holds. Below that, in our opinions, it was a standard-issue Class 2 gully: long, tedious, and a bit better with microspikes for the loose dirt segments, but no more technically difficult than what you might find in some sections of standard routes in the Sawatches or Mosquitos, and definitely not what I was expecting (which was along the lines of Mt. Wilson via Kilpacker, but with even bigger rocks). Would recommend making a good effort to beat the sun down to the last section scree/boulderfields at the base of the slope, as finding the route through and past the cliffs there is not much fun in the dark after you've already had a longer-than-anticipated day. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: heathcliff
Info: Summer conditions to the summit. No traction necessary. Higher trail along lake is much better option, lower near shore is quite muddy and wet. 
5 1
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: salmanalsaif
Info: Just reaffirming previous report. Dry all the way up with nice weather (windy from the ridge to the summit) but it's colder this coming week . Log jam is not difficult to cross at thus point since there's tons of logs, debris and sediment keeping it in place. On Saturday one could still get water up to 1.5 miles from the summit (waterfall stream). Good for hikers not going with the backpacking plan. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: van_w
Info: Dry all the way up. Multiple sets of cairns to follow up in past the lake. Beautiful color change right now. Make sure to bring a bear can if you are staying at the lake. 
 
Route: West Slope
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: pboldt94
Info: Clear all the way to the top (of snow). Windy at the summit. Smokey. Variety of different scree "routes" you can take once you pass over the grass area (left of the waterfall) noted in pictures. Follow the Cairns if you can find them. Not a ton once you pass the boulder field, but they definitely provide the better and more solid route. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-17, By: timewarp01
Info: Plenty of parking at 5:30 AM at the Snowmass Maroon TH. No closures, permits, or passes required either. Trail from the east side is completely dry except for some mud before the lake and some avoidable snow patches under the summit block. Both routes to gain the ridge can be climbed without crossing the snow, but there is a good amount near the saddle if you continue past the summit to North Snowmass. I brought an ice axe and traction but didn't use either. Fall colors are coming in pretty nicely; made the 8 miles to Snowmass Lake a bit better. It was very hazy from the fires high up but not bad in the valleys. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: swshrader
Info: Snowmass Mtn is a solid class 3 on the talus and scree right now with the conditions. Rock scrambling is extremely slow going due to the small amount of snow that isn't entirely covering the rocks but is creating a slippery mess. It took us almost 4.5 hours to get to the ridge. The summit ridge I would say is closer to a Class 4 with the exposure. Do not attempt this summit without significant experience; this was my 35th 14er and definitely the most challenging. It took us 6 hours to summit and 5 to get back to the lake. An extremely long day. Good luck and be safe! 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-02, By: Laurelja61
Info: I really want to emphasize that there is a trail well above the shore line above the lake. You can find it by exiting the camp ground and looking for a small pile of rocks. Initially this trail is about 5-15 feet ABOVE the lake. After about 1/4 mile, you will see an offshoot that goes "up" to the left. This takes you about 20-30 feet above the lake. Using this you will NEVER get your feet week, nor be in the mud. I highly recommend scouting it out the night before, as it is very easy to miss the higher trail in the dark. You most certainly will find it on your return (too late tho). Alltrails has the beginning of the trail dialed in. If you are on the correct trail, it will also take you around the southeast side of the lake without getting into the shore. 
 
Route: S Ridge (aka South Ridge)
Posted On: 2020-08-23, By: MC.Ikema
Info: 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). Ascent Notes: 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'! 
4
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-08-12, By: RestlessLegSyndrome
Info: Complete summer conditions. All snow is easily avoidable and any patches of it are very small. Ice axe is not needed and there are no opportunities for glissading. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: Wild Bill
Info: Did a day hike with this guy. It's a distance but can be done. The trail to the lake is excellent. There is a log jam bridge that gets you across the creek but it's plenty solid. Once at the lake you hang a left by crossing the creek and working your way through the maze of willows. Now you are on the far west side of the lake and ready for rocks. There is a trail but it is hard packed and very unstable. However you kinda have to use it. It's safe but rather frustrating. When you reach the high basin the trail disappears for the most part. I just picked my way towards a break in the knife edge south of the summit. Looks like about any break in the ridge will work. I actually picked a different route on my return. On the knife edge now I went ahead and dropped off the west side just a bit to grab the trail. Looks like people had been going about any direction. Sharp climb to the top and the view is amazing. The last portion of the climb is very similar to Capital. Wear a helmet if you got one. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-08-03, By: Moogie737
Info: We drove in Thursday a.m. at 6 o'clock and had to park along the road. The logjam was easier to cross than it had been one month before. Found a decent camping site at 11:30. Climbed the peak on Friday; used the grassy slopes to avoid the upper portion of scree along the gully. There are two distinct cairns marking the crossing point. Be advised, the grassy trail is really steep in spots. On the ascent we had trouble finding the cairns leading to the standard crossover point on the ridge but coming down it was much easier to see the cairns. No weather until we began the willow-choked trail around the lake. Beautiful conditions - we were blessed to finally grab #55. Only three to go. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-31, By: Clint the climber
Info: The standard route is completely dry, no need for any snow gear. Even on a weekday, the lake was absolutely packed with backpackers. Get there early to get a good spot. I got there around 5pm and ended up sleeping on rocks as all the flat spots were taken. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-27, By: tvaughn54
Info: Ascended standard route and descended direct route. No snow gear needed for standard route but would be useful on direct route in some places but I found a route on rocks. Not really any glissade options. One important note, especially in the dark is that there are two trails on the south side of the lake. All of us made the same mistake taking the trail directly on the lake to start and getting wet feet. This trail is swampy. See picture for correct route at the camping area. If it rained the night before, put on rain gear as the willows will soak you. There is another trail that goes about 50 feet above the lake, not to be confused with the main trail that goes up the pass. Also, the point to cross over from the initial scree slope at around 11,900 is easy to miss. Look for the little cairns in the gully. If the scree slope is too steep, you went too far. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-27, By: micascheid
Info: Made Summit around 8am. Rock was wet which made for a bit more of a cautious ascent and descent. Beautiful summit. No crampons/traction and or tooling was needed. Entire standard route can be achieved without hitting snow if you desire. Places where there is snow is no issue. Enjoy! 
 
Route: \"S\" Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-20, By: Wentzl
Info: Went up the S Ridge and descended the West Slopes. Flowers are peaking and quite amazing right now. No snow on either route. Getting off the West Slope route, quite wet through the "hanging garden" but totally managable. Having done the access to S ridge by both gullies and today, by the rib between them. Hands down, the rib between them is the easiest and most fun. 
3
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-21, By: demmons1
Info: Snowmass Lake - log jam is solid and easily navigable (see picture); mosquitoes are minimal if staying at Snowmass Lake, but still present; busy on the weekends with thru hikers on the 4-pass loop; lots of available dispersed campsites......Snowmass Mtn - plan for additional time route finding through the willows; recommend staying on (peusdo) trail closest to the lake; standard route can be had snow free; direct route will need at least an ice axe (see picture), snow softens early morning for kicking good footholds. 
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Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-17, By: Marshall
Info: Trail is fantastic all the way to the lake. Your feet will be muddy and wet after going around the lake unless you go very out of your way. Just wear waterproof boots/shoes. Try to stay right and look for trail remnants or cairns while climbing the scree/talus field. There isn't a ton of snow, but the direct route is in. I took crampons but didn't use them; wearing them could have helped. See picture of the snow. 
2
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-13, By: austinpavlas
Info: East Slopes Direct route. Will add photos later. Climbed on 7/11 with a 4:15 am start from the lake. The bush whacking along the later edge is no joke and it is very easy to get off the "trail" along this section. I would recommend sticking right along the lake edge until the end of the lake. There is a minimal foot trail in sections here and as long as you have waterproof shoes, it is the easiest way through. The snow line starts around 13,000 ft, but is melting fast. The snow is heavily sun cupped the entire way. Though it was a hot day, the snow was rock hard until about 8:00 am. By my 8:30 am descent it was very soft for the first couple of inches. I used crampons and an ice axe for the entire snow ascent and personally would not have felt comfortable without them. I would guess within another couple of weeks the direct route will not be climbable on snow, so get it while its good. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-04, By: Bradenkerrco
Info: Took direct route, sun cupping is intense. I do not recommend direct unless you have crampons, an axe and experience using them. Take the standard route. There is a massive amount of melt since the 6/29 trip report. 

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