The Southwest Ridge on Mount Sneffels

The Southwest Ridge on Mount Sneffels

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The Southwest Ridge is a classic route up Mount Sneffels, although considered more technical compared to route going via Lavender Col, it is definitively worth it. Most people descend down via Lavender Col. So, you get to experience more of the mountain.
SP describes this route as "South Ridge", but Colorado scrambles book published by the Colorado Mountain Club calls it The Southwest Ridge, and the route is facing south west.

The spectacular pinnacles dominate the lower part of the ridge, but you bypass most of those. The difficulty of this ridge is Class 3, but large sections are Class 2 and exposed.

I created this page when some one else owned the route, later the route got deleted, and I created a new page for the route - therefore I have both route and album on this topic. Anyway, this is one of my favorite routes up Mt. Sneffels.

Hike to Blue Lakes Pass

The initial section is very easy class 2 hike towards the Blue Lake Pass. The views from here are amazing, and the trail is easy to follow.

Trail towards Blue Lake PassTrail towards Blue Lake Pass
Near the Blue Lake PassNice trail towards the pass
Gilpin PeakGilpin Peak as seen from the trail
The Southwest Ridge overviewThe Southwest Ridge close up
Gilpin Peak Gilpin Peak from near the pass
Wildflowers between rocksWildflowers between rocks

Blue Lakes Pass

Most people reach the top of Blue Lakes Pass from Yankee Boy Basin. There is also a longer approach from Dallas Creek Road on a very scenic trail, which goes by three Blue Lakes. The top of the pass is at 13,000 feet.

Top of Blue Lake PassBlue Lake Pass 13,000 ft
Upper and Middle Blue LakeUpper and Middle Blue Lake as seen from the pass

The Lower Ridge

The climber's trail bypasses the difficulties of the lower ridge on its left (west) side. Head up the climber's trail as it hugs the left side of the ridge, climbing on talus. Continue up to the 13,500 foot level, and move right, through a notch. There are cairns marking the way.

The Southwest Ridge overviewThe Southwest ridge as seen from the pass
The initial sectionClose up of the talus on the initial section of the ridge
Initial section of the ridgeLooking down towards the Blue Lake Pass
Cairn and Blue LakeView of Middle Blue Lake from the first section of the ridge

Inside the gully

at 13,500 feet you drop down about 25 feet and traverse on ledges into the large, south-facing gully. Follow this gully to its end before exiting a narrow slot on the right edge. Just follow the climber's trail.

Drop inside the gullyDrop inside the gully
Deep snow at some sectionsDeep snow inside the gully
Fun scrambleYou could also by-pass the snow
Class 3 sectionA short class 3 section
Peek-booPeek-Boo - so many interesting rock formations
The path was pretty obviousA lot of scree around, but trail was good

The Final Ridge

The scrambling on the upper section of the ridge is on a solid rock. Stay either right on the ridge (better for taking photos) or on its right (east) side.

The Southwest Ridge Getting onto a final ridge
Blue LakesAnother view towards Blue Lakes
It feels safeThe rock felt truly solid
Don t fall down hereAlthought the rock is solid, you don't want to fall
almost there...Looking up towards the summit
The final sectionThe final section

The Summit

The ridge went by fast, I wished, I wished it to be at least 2,000 feet higher.
Summit of Mt. Sneffels: 14,156 feet (=4,315 m).

Summit viewSummit photo
View from Mt. SneffelsView towards Yankee Boy Basin
Blue Lakes as seen from the summitBlue Lakes as seen from the summit
Famous Yankee Boy TrioThe famous Yankee Boy Trio


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Senad Rizvanovic

Senad Rizvanovic - Aug 1, 2011 12:03 pm - Voted 10/10


Nice album Liba, it's great route on Mt. Sneffels!

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Aug 1, 2011 5:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: ..

Thanks Senad. I have to admit that I was hoping for a little more challenge, definitively the best route up Sneffels so far.

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