A number of couloirs split the Mount Sneffels' south face. The ones on climber's left are shorter and steeper, whereas the ones on climber's right are longer and lower-angled. These make a great snow climb and/or ski descent in the the winter or spring. If planning to ski from the summit climb no later than mid spring. The ski descent is rated as a D13 R4 on the D Scale
. If you decide not to ski the "Birthday Chutes", you can descend the Lavender Col Standard Route
. Additional Photos
Skiing the South Face "Birthday Chutes"
From Ouray drive US 550 south to Camp Bird Mine Road (Ouray County Road #361) as far as possible. The summer trailhead is 7 miles from US 550. On April 22, 2006 we got 3.8 miles in.
Mount Sneffels' South Face Birthday Chutes. Click to enlarge.
Follow Camp Bird Mine Road into Yankee Boy Basin to 13,200' at the base of Mount Sneffels' south face. Don't confuse Kismet Peak (13,694') for Mount Sneffels, especially when traveling in the dark. Climb either couloir your choose. The most popular is the most prominent which leads most directly to the summit. The maximum slope angle of this couloir is about 50 degrees. If climbing later than mid spring and the summit is dry, expect class 3-4 climbing.
South Face "Birthday Chutes" Popular Line
Climbing Mount Sneffels' South Face "Birthday Chutes"
Crampons. Ice axe if uncomfortable on steep, frozen snow.
Guide BookDawson's Guide to Colorado Fourteeners Vol. 2: The Southern Peaks