Snowmass Mountain  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-03, By: tomas_kazokas
Info: Did a day hike from the parking lot. Overall the trail is well marked by now. Boulder field is a mess if you climb past the obvious waterfall running of Slaby limestone... good luck. I did it both ways and it was a nightmare. Past boulder field the progress was faster and more enjoyable. Used running shoes with flex crampons and poles to send the ridge route. Microspikes would do but would be way more slippery and inefficient. Staying directly on the ridge gives a good opportunity to practice scrambling with low exposure. I saw some people way low on the ridge where the rock looked more loose. Reversed the route and glisaded with an ice axe some sections. Saw some sketched out people without axes saying prayers for self arrest... 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-02, By: 14er-er
Info: Summited via east slopes as a day hike from Snowmass Creek TH. No issues with the logjam; the best point to depart the trail and cross is marked with a cairn as mentioned below. When ascending the boulder field would recommend crossing the drainage early to an easy trail that ascends the tundra on the climber's right side of the drainage. The spot to cross is marked with a cairn on the far side of the drainage that is easily missed if not looking for it. If staying left of the drainage the whole way (as I did) the terrain gets steep and loose though still doable. Snow in the lower part of the snowmass is thinning out but still a good amount of snow higher up. I took the direct route as did most others I saw; axe/crampons definitely needed but makes for a good snow climb and avoids a lot of the loose rock scrambling on the summit ridge. There's currently a nice bootpack approaching from climber's left. There's a notch in the middle of the cornice where people have been ascending (final move to gain the ridge may require pulling yourself up and over the top of the cornice here); it's also possible to avoid the cornice by going around climber's right. After gaining the ridge there's one small snowfield to cross with some exposure but easily crossed without traction. Overall prime conditions right now- go get it before the snow melts! 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-29, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Only made it to the base of the scree slope (~11,200) before realizing that some minor aggravations had definite potential to become major problems higher up. That said...there is a higher trail around the lake that avoids some (though not all) of the muddy bushwhacking references in CaptCO's report from this past weekend. Stay as far to climber's left as possible when you reach the campsites (follow the arrow for Buckskin Pass when you reach the sign), then go left where that trail intersects one traveling uphill toward the lake. Hard to see in the dark; generally way easier to find on the way back. I also enhanced the cairn a previous group put up to indicate the proper cutoff for the route across the logjam so that it too would be easier to see in the dark. 
1 4
 
Route: West Slope
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: wddjr
Info: I had a great day on the western side of Snowmass today. The mountain is absolutely beautiful. Once you get on the wall there is some snow but it's entirely avoidable. I found a route to be well marked and relatively clean. The summit ridge is stunning. The mountain's reputation for loose rocks did not disappoint. Every step on the decent down the wall was relatively dicey. Lots of rock surfing. There is significant growth of Willows before and after the lake. If you're navigating before dawn it can be difficult to find a way around them. Finally, give yourself lots of time on the drive in. The road to Lead King Basin is a loop and it doesn't matter which way you go, it's a beat down. 4WD required. I made it to the summit from LKB TH in 5:40. Hope this helps. 
5
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: CaptCO
Info: I'll keep it short and sweet. Approach to the lake took around 3.5 hours with overnight packs, new log crossing now has a small cairn. Muddy bushwhack to the gulley. Ascend boulder field, as the gulley is not a solid route right now. Snow begins after the boulder field opens up and is firm enough in the morning for crampons and axe on direct route. Snow is melting fast and it was warm up there today, even though I saw flurries descending. Big day and this route lives up to the hype 
15 5
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-23, By: DenverHiker
Info: FOUND a cellphone on the trail. If you lost one, message me here or on the FB pages. Ditto for Sawneagle's post. Spikes and Axe doable if you stay the standard route. Pic: pre-sunrise just below the snowmass. 
1 1
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-21, By: Sawneagle
Info: Log crossing is very doable. No issues crossing. Very little snow until the Snowmass basin, which is still covered in snow. The gully to climb the basin is almost completely dry, ensure to cross at the cairne to cross the snowmelt in the gully and don't climb to the basin on the left side of the snowmelt (I did and regretted it) as it is VERY loose rock and zero fun. No snowshoes needed in the basin, very solid snow - even later in the day. The direct route has a cornice at the top, which is why I avoided it. The standard route has a small cornice as well, however is avoidable by climbing the two rock bands to the left (sorry I am not using cardinal directions). I wore mountain boots and crampons as I wanted to do the direct route, however they are useful on the standard route as gaining the ridge is quite steep with solid snow and even some ice. Groups did get away with microspikes, albeit with some slipping. Axe is mandatory. Once gaining the ridge to the summit, very minimal snow that is all avoidable by sticking closer to the ridge versus crossing the 2-3 steeper snowfields or descending too far. Highly recommend staying closer to the ridge and going above the snowfields. Snowmass Lake is basically a college town on weekends so good luck enjoying the Wilderness, surprised I didn't see a keg out there. 
4 3
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-17, By: MSH14
Info: Here is a quick and hopefully beneficial short report. I will skip straight to the main features in this hike/climb. - Log Jam: Isn't bad, you can still cross it without getting a droplet on you. just good balance and being careful, but I totally understand if somebody find it a little difficult since It is a little harder than the picture on the route description. - Snowmass Lake: Getting around the lake is a little frustrating and crappy to say the least (not difficult) which can take longer than someone is anticipating. - The Scree (Boulder Field) Gully: This can get a little dangerous, especially on your way down if you slip. Be careful since it can get really slippery and very frustrating sa sometimes it is hard to find good footing when you are close to the drainage. - The Basin and the final approach: It is totally covered in snow but very stable (Start very early though). I also took the direct approach to the summit so that might be different from others who will gain the ridge from the left side. In the direct approach, there was a cornice at the notch so you might want to veer a little to the right going up (which increased the slope of climb) and carefully go right around the cornice (be careful there). Equipment: Based on how I got up (direct approach), I think Crampons and Ice axe is really necessary. DO NOT NEED Snowshoes (I carried those bastards most of the way from TH). Please be careful on your way down and I hope everybody can enjoy the last snow on that mountain. 
5
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-15, By: teamdonkey
Info: Can confirm that the logjam now looks much different than photos on this site's route description. This is turning some people back, others are finding new routes through. A couple guys and I spent some time trying to move logs to and create a better path, with a small amount of success. This is maybe 40 feet downstream of the previous route. The bottom line is you can still cross (without wading through) but be aware the old route isn't usable and you'll need to be a little creative. 
1 2
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-08, By: CRLancelot11
Info: So, I would say we earned this one. Definitely the height of Spring conditions right now along the Snowmass East Slopes route. Trying to interpret earlier guidance and dial in the right gear for the conditions, we hiked into the Log-jam on Thursday evening (6-4) and spent the night. Crossed the log jam without too much pain early Friday morning. It is certainly possible, but very, very precarious. It looks nothing like the old photos from the 14ers.com route and definitely a challenge. We encountered almost no snow until about 1/2 mile before Snowmass Lake, the log jam is the only obstacle until the Lake. After the Lake, well, let's say it gets a little more interesting. No easy way around the lake right now, with deep snow (maybe up to 10ft in some places) going right up to the edge. Definitely melting fast, but this is the section that took us the most time. Flotation is pretty useless as it is melting all the time and the angle is rather awkward. Getting up the gully into the Snowmass Basin was easy, mostly melted out. Once up in the basin the snow conditions were very soft, but manageable. We had skis/skins, so we took those up to about 13,600'. Then a boot pack to the ridge, and a dry scramble to the summit back with our normal hiking boots on again. Ski down to the lake was pretty good, traversing to the right (south) around Snowmass Peak. But then we had to go around the lake again which was the same problem. Log jam was much more difficult on the return, had moved throughout the day, but at this point we didn't really care and got a little wet. In the end, 6/5 was a very, very long day from Log jam-summit-car, which took us around 17hrs because of the soft conditions, changing gear, tiredness, and needing to purify water several times which took precious moments. Definitely a first for me to have to push through such soft conditions. Might be better to wait until the lake area melts out a lot more, which will make life much easier. Advantage is that we saw just about nobody, just 1 group camping at the Lake. Had the mountain to ourselves, although now we know why. 
6 2
 
Route: S Ridge
Posted On: 2020-06-01, By: handonbroward
Info: Lead King Basin TH not accessible by 4WD vehicle to due snow and a downed tree, see my trailhead conditions report for more info. We were able to cruise up to Geneva lake, but from there the snow pretty much slowed our progress to a halt and we decided to turn back by the time we reached the end of Geneva lake. The snow all around Geneva was incredibly soft and slushy at 6am, I cannot imagine what it would be like there, or on the slopes trying to reach the access gullies, by noon or 1pm. Did not seem safe to me, especially without any traction or ice axes. Tried to contour along steep sections to stay out of the snow down by the lake, but it was impossible, still a lot of snow up there on that side. West Slopes route also still looks like it is completely buried. Going to be a while before that is in summer conditions. 
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-05-31, By: jmanner
Info: We didn't find the Logjam to be crossable. The creek is up and we didn't feel it was safe to attempt a wade across. The upper mountain did look super in, but I'm not sure it super achievable to get across the logjam right now. 
2 3
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-05-26, By: Posthole Pete
Info: Great summit weather yesterday. Trail is bone dry up until about 10,500 and then consistent snow until the summit. Log jam is in great shape. Found a dry campsite at the first switchback after the log jam. The snowmass is filled in quite well from the lake, easy climbing even with a dusting of an inch or 2 the night before. Decent boot pack from about halfway up the mass that was left from the last group that climbed, this made life and our pace very comfortable. Once on the ridge it was very easy to navigate to the summit. Cairns are easy to find and most are not buried in snow. Steep riding off the summit but a fun ride. Really fun buttery corn riding all the way back to the lake. Long adventure but that was a fun one. 
11 3
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-05-21, By: Lucky Day
Info: Snow (deep) from about 10,600. Had the dreaded isothermal posthole fest. Stayed directly on the the ridge line from the East shoulder it was very solid with mostly exposed rock. No signs of slides on the face. Probably another month before the lower section is melted out from the lake. 
1
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-05-21, By: Lucky Day
Info: Snow (deep) from about 10,600. Had the dreaded isothermal posthole fest. Stayed directly on the the ridge line from the East shoulder it was very solid with mostly exposed rock. No signs of slides on the face. Probably another month before the lower section is melted out from the lake. 
1
 
Route: West Slope
Posted On: 2019-11-11, By: wintersage
Info: Had to park about 2.5mi from the Lead King Basin TH. The road was a mix of packed snow, ice, and mud leading up to the trailhead. From the trailhead to the Geneva Lakes designated camp site area was mostly dry until 10,500ft and from there the snow cover was pretty continuous. The campsites are all covered in snow and the lake is frozen solid. Past the last campsite, the snow stops for a small section, but then re-appears and from Little Gem lake all the way to the summit you can find continuous snow. No snowshoes were needed as postholing was minimal, and on some sections of the steep final approach to the summit crampons would have been extremely helpful, but I managed with just microspikes and an ice axe. Main reason why I didn't put on my crampons was that there was a ton of boulder-hopping and rocky outcrops throughout the upper route. From the summit to 12,800ft we glissaded down a gully just south of the summer route. Extra care had to be taken to not fly over the frozen waterfall Dukes of Hazzard style. The walk back to the car was harder than anticipated as it required nearly 1500ft of elevation gain to go from the TH to where we were parked. The mud on the road also freezes which makes navigation in the dark a little more challenging. 
14
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2019-09-16, By: glad2be
Info: Brought crampons, didn't need them. Minimal snow crossing. Walked on rocks 99% of the time. 
1
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2019-09-06, By: Canadian_bass
Info: Did the direct route which was still in. Crampons and an ax were very helpful. Transition from snow to notch was relatively easy, snow at the top a little rotten. Ditched snow gear at the notch and made the quick scramble up the ridge. Snow was mashed potatoes by 11 AM on the descent. Combined glissade and plunge stepping. At the log jam found a solid route just inside the avalanche debris field. 
 
Route: West Slope
Posted On: 2019-08-26, By: bludwig
Info: What an amazing route. If you have a high clearance vehicle, I recommend going from the West Slopes. The plants are super overgrown and you'll be walking up to your chest in flowers. The only snow on the route is avoidable, unless you want to glissade. There are no mosquitoes or bugs except by the camp sites about a mile south of the trail head. Added bonus if you go through Crystal, the Crystal Mill is right there! This may be my new favorite. 
3 1
 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2019-08-22, By: desertdog
Info: We did the direct variation and were pleasantly surprised that it still held snow. It took us about 20 minutes to summit after reaching the notch, which is much quicker than the standard route. The rest of the mountain just has patches of snow. 

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