Monday, August 10, 2015

Mt. Sneffels - August 2015

Colorado 14er Mount Sneffels at Sunset in the San Juan Range
Sunset on Colorado 14er Mt. Sneffels

It's amazing how big the difference is between sleeping in a tent and sleeping in a camper.  I spent 4 nights at Ridgway State Park with Mom, Dad, and James in Dad's camper after spending most of the summer sleeping (or more like not sleeping) in a tent.  Even during our climb I could tell that I had more energy and felt better because of the full night's rest on the memory foam mattress.  We only climbed on one of the days we were there, and It was fun to have a change of pace and just hang out with the family. 

The park itself is extremely well kept with lots of fun stuff to do - Biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, etc. with awesome views all around.  I will have to return here sometime!

One of Mom's favorite activities

Dad, James and I hiked the peak on our second day there and woke up around sunrise to drive down to the trailhead.  Ridgway is so close to Ouray so we had no need to get a pre-dawn start.  We took the 4 wheeler to the upper trailhead.  This cut our elevation gain down to about 1,700 ft. for the climb.  Another nice change of pace from the other longer more physically demanding peaks of the summer.

Waterfall in Yankee Boy Basin

The upper trailhead at Yankee Boy Basin with our ATV on a climb of Mt. Sneffels
ATV at the upper trailhead in Yankee Boy Basin

We started up the trail and came to the steep loose "kitty litter" slope that leads to the saddle.  Slow going from here.  About half way up this section, Dad's back was bothering him.  He's had multiple surgeries on his neck and back over the years, and he made the wise call to stop at this point and head back.

Rock spires and the setting moon in Yankee Boy Basin, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Rock spires and the setting moon

James working his way up

Once we reached the saddle, the fun began!  I'd hiked Sneffels before with Cami, but forgot how dramatic the scenery is!  The route is a bit punishing, but the views make it worth it.

Black and white of Teakettle Mountain in the Sneffels Range, Colorado
Teakettle Mountain has to be one of the coolest looking peaks I've seen!

Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre peak from Mt. Sneffels
Colorado 14ers Uncompahgre Peak to the east with Wetterhorn peak directly in front of it

The wilson group form Mt. Sneffels
The Wilson Group 14ers to the Southwest

Blue Lakes Pass with Gilpin Peak and "Black Tops" from about the same time a couple years ago - Prints available

Once we reached the top of the Col the infamous "V" notch crux awaited us.  James was a little concerned about climbing through this quick section because of his recent shoulder surgery.  Other than a bit of exposure on the left side before entering the notch, the climbing isn't too hard.  I'd say the move is more awkward than difficult.  James had no problems with it.  Once past this section, the remaining scramble to the top is short and sweet.

Panoramic image taken from the top of Colorado 14er Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Range.
Summit Panoram from the summit of Mt. Sneffels

Here's a quick video of the climb:


On the way down I took lots of pictures of all the lush wildflowers in Yankee Boy Basin.  This should probably be included as one of the best wildflower locations in the state!

Yellow wildflowers with Potosi Peak in Yankee Boy Basin, Colorado
Wildflowers and Potosi Peak in Yankee Boy Basin

Gilpin Peak and wildflowers from Yankee Boy Basin in the San Juan range, Colorado
Gilpin Peak and indian paintbrush wildflowers from Yankee Boy Basin

It was a fun hike and a beautiful day which only confirmed that Sneffels is one of my favorite 14er climbs.  The Ridgway/Ouray area is a special place that I would highly recommend visiting.

Parting shot of the Cimmarrons with hot air balloon and sunbeams in a farm field of hay.
Parting shot of the Cimmarrons