OverviewThe 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 Pass Nice trail towards the pass
Gilpin Peak as seen from the trail The Southwest Ridge close up
Gilpin Peak from near the pass Wildflowers 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.
Blue Lake Pass 13,000 ft Upper 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 as seen from the pass Close up of the talus on the initial section of the ridge
Looking down towards the Blue Lake Pass View 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 gully Deep snow inside the gully
You could also by-pass the snow A short class 3 section
Peek-Boo - so many interesting rock formations A 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.
Getting onto a final ridge Another view towards Blue Lakes
The rock felt truly solid Althought the rock is solid, you don't want to fall
Looking up towards the summit The final section
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 photo View towards Yankee Boy Basin
Blue Lakes as seen from the summit The famous Yankee Boy Trio