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Guided Ascents of Mt. Sneffels

San Juan Mountain Guides
Mount Demo Trip
September 15, 2016

Alpine Climbing on the Iconic Colorado 14’er

Named after the iconic peak in Jules Verne’s novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Mount Sneffels is the monarch of our local area and the most well recognized peak in the Sneffels Range. It dominates the skyline as you drive down to Ouray from Montrose. Viewed from the North it is a symmetrical peak that beckons to all alpine adventurers and is a local’s favorite.

An easy 4WD vehicle approach sets you up high and close to several classic routes including the SW Ridge, the Lavender Col, and the Birthday Chutes which are more commonly descended on skis.  An alternate, yet still relatively short, approach on the north side of the mountain allows access to two Colorado Alpine test piece routes – the Snake Couloir (alpine ice/5.6 rock) and the North Ridge (5.6 rock).  There is a lot to like about this mountain and it offers something for everyone.

Seasonal Conditions

In April, May, and early June these climbs require crampons, ice axes, and snow travel skills due to conditions in the mountains during that time of year. During most of June, July, August, and September, hiking and/or regular mountain boots are appropriate footwear for the climb of Mt. Sneffels.

2018 Dates

Arranged on a Private Basis

May through September

 

Costs

4:1: $209 pp
3:1: $249 pp
2:1: $309 pp
1:1: $469

rexerNo Hidden Fees

Includes:
  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All climbing gear (harness, helmet, ropes, etc.)
  • Round-trip transportation to and from climbing area and our office



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Route Options

Lavender Col (3rd Class)

Mt Sneffels standard route from Yankee Boy Basin is a popular scramble for 14ers aspirants and local tourists alike. Despite its popularity, it is not to be underestimted. There is plenty of hands on movement and a slip in the wrong place could have serious consequences. We guide lots of folks up this classic climb every summer, and everyone is very grateful for the rope, helmet, and intimate knowledge of the route that our guides provide.

SW Ridge (4th/Easy 5th Class)

The SW ridge of Mt. Sneffels is a super high quality ridge climb soaring up above Blue Lakes Pass. It involves some tricky routefinding and low 5th class moves. Earlier in the season the direct start to the SW ridge is a beautiful snow couloir leading directly to the rock crux and avoiding large amounts of circuitous talus navigation. Once on the ridge itself, exposure and grand views dominate every direction. Fun scrambling on or near the crest leads dramatically to the summit. This is one of the greatest routes in the San Juans and a perfect introduction to more challenging mountaineering.

N. Buttress/Snake Couloir (5.6/60° Snow & Ice)

The North side of Mt Sneffels is a very different place than the well traveled South side. Poised majestically over Blaine Basin, The North Face is well guarded from any easy ascent. The most popular route on the North side is the Snake or “Dogleg” Couloir, thus named for its dramatic left turn around 13,000ft. The snake is over 2000ft of steep snow and ice with a challenging rock climbing finish directly onto the summit block. Scramblers on the summit are often surprised when we come popping up out of the depths of the North onto the top!

 

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Mt. Sneffels Equipment List

Duffel BagDescriptionGuide's Pick
1 - 2 Large, durable bags for oragnizing and transporting your gear during airline travel etc.
Ski BackpackDescriptionGuide's Pick
The Kamber ABS® compatible 22+10 give you the option to add an inflatable airbag system to a technical ski pack designed to carry everything for a full day in the backcountry. We highly recommend a specific ski touring pack for all of our backcountry ski and avalanche programs.
ThermosDescriptionGuide's Pick
Coffee is the lifeblood of champions. We highly encourage the consumption of coffee on our programs. The darker the better.
Water BottlesDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.
Bottle InsulatorsDescriptionGuide's Pick
Insulating water bottle parkas are recommended in the winter months, for ice climbing or cold weather alpine trips.
Stuff SacksDescriptionGuide's Pick
Stuff sacks are a great way to organize your gear in your pack and help to keep things tidy in a variety of ways. A great addition to any of our programs.
Personal FoodDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.
SunglassesDescriptionGuide's Pick
A good pair of wrap around sunglasses are an essential item for all of our trips. When the sun shines brightly on fresh snow in the mountains your eyes will thank you for a quality pair of shades. Looking good is important too.
SunscreenDescriptionGuide's Pick
Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.
Lip BalmDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lip balm is important to bring on all trips. SPF 15 or higher is recommended.
HeadlampDescriptionGuide's Pick
A headlamp is recommended for all of our programs and is an essential piece of equipment you will use in a variety of circumstances. Most LED type headlamps will do but we recommend the Black Diamond Storm for its versatility.
First Aid KitDescriptionGuide's Pick
An excellent investment for all of our programs. Our guides always carry a comprehensive medical kit but it's nice to have your own as well.
Small KnifeDescriptionGuide's Pick
A small knife is an indispensable tool to carry with you in the mountains. We like the Spatha knife for its size, weight, versatility, and ability to clip onto a harness.
Digital CameraDescriptionGuide's Pick
While phones these days offer excellent quality, nothing beats the reliability of a dedicated digital camera. You'll be glad you brought it and your guide will make sure to help capture the moment of you being awesome.
Hand WarmersDescriptionGuide's Pick
An optional item, but nice to have on cold weather climbs and courses. Consider having a few stowed away in your pack and you can break them out if you feel you need them.
Ski GogglesDescriptionGuide's Pick
From the sweeping peripheral in the Optimum lens, to the horizon-inspired frame structure, FARGO proves sometimes a quick stop in a small place leads to more than you would have ever expected. Goggles are mandatory on all ski programs and cold weather alpine objectives.
SocksDescriptionGuide's Pick
Synthetic socks area must for all outdoor activities. Select a pair that fits well, is warm, and is comfortable. Bring 2-3 pairs depending on the type of trip.
Base Layer TopDescriptionGuide's Pick
Choosing the right base layer really makes a difference in comfort, moisture-wicking, and the balance between cool and warm at the right time and in the right places. The Outdoor Research Echo Hoody also offers good sun protection.
Base Layer BottomDescriptionGuide's Pick
Similar to the base layer top. These are wear all the time in all conditions base layer pants. A must have for alpine and ice climbing trips and objectives.
Mid Weight TopDescriptionGuide's Pick
One of the best mid-weight layers we've ever worn. The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody combines all the best features of a mid-layer into one supremely well-fitting piece of technical hybrid inner/outwear. The layer does so many things so well it's one of the few pieces we wear throughout the year.
Ski Touring JacketDescriptionGuide's Pick
Sweating one minute and freezing the next is only fun when you’re jumping from a hot tub into the snow and back—not while you’re skiing. If the words “ski season” make you think about moving uphill as much as downhill, the Skyward Jacket speaks your language. Air-permeable AscentShell technology keeps you cool and dry while skinning up, and keeps the speed-generated windchill out after you peel off your skins and drop in for the descent.
Ski Touring PantsDescriptionGuide's Pick
Traverse the Rockies’ rugged ridgelines in the Trailbreaker Pants. This highly breathable soft shell pant provides the perfect amount of weather protection and breathable warmth. Pertex® Shield+ lower legs offer complete waterproof protection when you’re breaking trail in the front of the pack.
Ski Touring PuffyDescriptionGuide's Pick
Perfect for aerobic climbs and ski tours, this backcountry chameleon provides the warmth of a synthetic puffy one moment and the breathability and quick-dry performance of a fleece the next, all without forcing you to add, remove or adjust your layers.
Insulated VestDescriptionGuide's Pick
Same spirit, same guts, and same award-winning hybrid-mapped design of the Cathode Hooded Jacket, minus the sleeves and hood. An insulated vest is an optional item on our programs but we do think vests offer excellent flexible layering options in a variety of circumstances, weather conditions, and trip types.
Shell JacketDescriptionGuide's Pick
Our Outside Magazine and Men’s Journal “Gear of the Year” award-winning storm shell is engineered for fast-and-light alpine climbs and all-day backcountry tours. You need at minimum either a soft shell jacket or hard shell jacket for local Ouray based winter courses and programs.
Ski Touring HatDescriptionGuide's Pick
Get out and get after early mornings with fresh powder. The Delegate Beanie is made with a merino wool blend and a warm micro fleece polyester earband. A chunky knit beanie with a knit-in logo, the contrast pom adds a nice funky touch.
Baseball CapDescriptionGuide's Pick
A required item on the majority of our programs, a baseball cap helps to keep harmful sun off your face. The Radar Pocket cap is packable, durable, and looks great!
Lightweight GlovesDescriptionGuide's Pick
Updated for touchscreen compatibility, the StormTracker Sensor Gloves are equally at home alpine climbing, ski touring or ice climbing. Low-profile GORE® WINDSTOPPER®. Soft Shell fabric deflects biting gusts, and a tricot lining retains valuable heat.
Midweight GlovesDescriptionGuide's Pick
Built to handle cold mornings on the up-track and powder turns all the way back down, these versatile gloves feature a new stretch nylon shell outer, a goat leather palm with textured fingertips, and a warm, quick-drying wool blend lining.
Heavy GlovesDescriptionGuide's Pick
Made with a water-resistant and breathable two-layer GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabric, these mitts are filled with warm 600-fill power RDS goose down. Water-resistant synthetic suede palms with a fleece backer add extra durability and protection to these warm, compressible, wind-proof gloves.
Balaclava or BuffDescriptionGuide's Pick
Simple, effective and infinitely adaptable, Original BUFF® headwear is the product that started the multifunctional headwear revolution. At its core is a moisture-managing microfiber fabric that is wind resistant and able to control odor. We recommend the BUFF for all of our programs as a multi-purpose insulation piece and trendy headgear!
Touring SkisDescriptionGuide's Pick
Touring skis with touring bindings are required for all of our ski programs. We have these skis to rent an our shop in Ouray if you do not have your own. If purchasing your own skis, make sure to select a touring binding that is compatible with your boots.
Climbing SkinsDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing Skins are a required item for all of our backcountry ski and avalanche programs. We offer these to rent at our office in Ouray if you do not have your own for your skis. Many ski companies now make climbing skins specifically cut to your skis.
Ski Touring BootsDescriptionGuide's Pick
Refined for 2016, the Spectre 2.0 is now 5% stiffer while retaining the largest range of cuff rotation in its class. The patented design allows for a full 60˚ of ankle movement, while the vertebra construction provides support on downhill descents. The Spectre 2.0 now works with all tech, tr2 and step-in at bindings, for more versatility and compatibility.
Ski PolesDescriptionGuide's Pick
Our classic ski touring poles with a pro-level feature set, the all-aluminum Traverse Pro poles feature FlickLock Pro adjustability and an innovative SwitchRelease wrist strap with a lockable release function.
Avalanche TransceiverDescriptionGuide's Pick
The PIEPS DSP Sport Avalanche Beacon is the go-to beacon for the everyday backcountry traveler, offering circular range, a smart transmitter, and three-antenna accuracy in an easy-to-use package.
Avalanche ShovelDescriptionGuide's Pick
With a redesigned blade construction for cleaner snow study and easier stomping through hard avy debris, the Transfer is our workhorse shovel with a removable, extendable shaft for working in deep pits.
Avalanche ProbeDescriptionGuide's Pick
Built for daily snow study, snow professionals and deeper snowpacks, the Tour Probe 320 features a durable, all-aluminum construction.
Snow Study KitDescriptionGuide's Pick
A snow study kit is optional for Backcountry Ski programs, but it is a great item to carry regardless. For Avalanche Courses please consider purchasing a kit to have with you on the course. Level 2 Course participants should choose the Digital Pro Kit.
Ski Repair KitDescriptionGuide's Pick
A backcountry ski repair kit is well worth the time to put together. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!

Training & Follow Up Climbs

As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.

Before Your Trip

The Mt. Sneffels 14’er climb is a moderately strenuous trip conducted at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Though the actual hiking and climbing level required for this trip is not difficult, the best training regimen would include a mixture of cardiovascular fitness training (running, biking, hiking etc.), and muscular/core fitness exercises. The addition of some Yoga/stretching exercises will help to insure that you maintain good muscular flexibility as well.

For the Mt. Sneffels climb you should be ready for:

  • Hiking approximately 6 miles round trip
  • Climbing with a small daypack at altitudes up to 14,000′
  • Moderate climbing difficulty depending on route choice
  • Wilderness travel

Follow Up Climbs

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Ouray, Colorado: Getting Here

Ouray is located in the SW corner of Colorado, approximately 30 minutes south of Montrose. Known as “The Switzerland of America”, the town of Ouray is a vibrant outdoor oriented community. All local businesses are very friendly to the ice climbers who flock each winter to climb in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding areas.

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The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Montrose, CO. Many airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, CO, however, many airlines now offer direct flights into Montrose – especially during the summer and winter months.

It is also possible to fly into Grand Junction, Durango, Telluride, or Denver CO. It may be necessary to rent a car and drive to Ouray if you’d like to fly into one of these airports.

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Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Ouray. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.

  • Montrose, CO: 45 minutes
  • Durango, CO: 2 hours
  • Denver, CO: 5.5 hours

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Ouray has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip!


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Program Policies

Registration & Cancellation

Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone or utilize our secure Online Reservation System.  All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.

Program Inclusions

  • Guiding and Instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All climbing gear (harness, helmet, ropes, etc.)
  • Round-trip transportation to and from the climbing area and our office

 

Program Exclusions

  • Transportation to Ouray, CO
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the program
  • Guide gratuity
  • Lunch food or snacks
  • Personal hiking/climbing clothing
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Costs associated with weather delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides

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Book This Trip!

We Offer Online Registration

  1. Click on Book This Trip
  2. Select your Program dates
  3. Enter your Info and Payment

 

Or, call 800.642.5389 to register