Andy in the Rockies

Trip reports, videos, and photos from hiking, climbing,
and mountaineering adventures in Colorado and beyond.

Mount Sneffels - Snake Couloir
June 13, 2008 - June 14, 2008

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View of the North Face of Mount Sneffels during the drive up Dallas Creek....View of Mount Sneffels' north face from our bivy site in Blaine Basin....Setting up our bivy in Blaine Basin....Climbing the snow apron on the way to Snake Couloir....Alpine glow on the North Face of Mount Sneffels....Alpine glow on Mount Sneffels....More alpine glow on Mount Sneffels....Me shooting video of Adam....Me approaching the narrow section of the couloir....Mike and Adam in the narrow part of the couloir....Jeff approaches the dogleg above the narrow section of the couloir....A big cornice guards one of the exits from Snake Couloir....Me scoping out the direct finish from the top of the Snake Couloir.  We fou...Me making the final moves onto the summit of Mount Sneffels....Me making the final moves onto the summit of Mount Sneffels....One final shot of me making the final moves onto the summit of Mount Sneffe...View of the final pitch to the summit.  Roach calls the last bit 5.6, but a...Our whole team on the summit of Mount Sneffels.  From left to right: Scott,...Me having a snack on the top of Mount Sneffels....View of Dallas Peak from the summit of Mount Sneffels....View of UN13694 from the summit of Mount Sneffels....Descending down to Lavender Col....Checking out the view from Lavender Col....Me enjoying a giant glissade down from Lavender Col.  This was my longest g...Me suffering from an extremely soggy and sore butt after the giant glissade...
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Trip Report [hide]

Trip Report By Scott Borger

At 9:00 AM on Friday, I arrived at the T-rex parking lot near Morrison to meet up with six of the other Brutes (Andy, Fabio, Brian, Adam, Jeff and Mike). We piled our gear in to the back of two vehicles and began our six-hour drive to the Blaine Basin trailhead at the base of Mt. Sneffels. Upon arriving, we sorted through our packs to determine what gear we wanted to bring. Brian and I had originally planned on a ski descent down one of the many couloirs, but we were concerned about adding skis to our already heavy packs and climbing the final and most “technical” section in AT/Tele boots. As it turned out, the final push to the summit was not as difficult as we had imagined, and could have easily been climbed in ski boots with crampons.

After four slightly nerve-racking river crossings and the better part of 3.2 miles of hiking through snow, we arrived at Blaine Basin (our base camp). After a few minutes of admiring our surroundings and scouting out the snow conditions, we set up our bivys, ate dinner and headed to bed. At 3:30 AM on Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and packed up for our ascent of the Snake Couloir. As we hiked out of Blaine Basin, the climb grew gradually steeper up to the base of the couloir.

The snow conditions and surroundings of the Snake Couloir were just as I had hoped: high walls, solid snow and increasing in steepness throughout. The first third of the Snake Couloir goes straight up the side of Mt. Sneffels and then dog-legs to the left for the final push to the top. The section after the dog-leg gets a bit steeper until the base of the final pitch to the summit. Once at the top of the couloir, there are several ways to the summit. After failing to skirt by a steep cornice (wish I had brought my technical axe for this part), I opted for a short 5th-class mixed climb that brought me to the back side of the cornice. From there, I met the crux of the route – another short and slightly exposed rock climb to the summit.

The views from the summit were breathtaking and clear. There was not a single cloud in the sky. After a quick bite to eat, Jeff and I waited at the summit for the rest of the Brutes to make their final push to the summit. They climbed past our ascent route and found a nice 4+ mixed climb that led straight to the top.

After a long rest on the summit, we descended down the Lavender Col where a long glissade brought us to the snowfield that lead back to Blaine Basin. Once we reached our camp, we packed everything up and marched the final 3.2 miles back to the trailhead. In total, we ascended/descended nearly 5,000 feet. A fantastic time was had by all.

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