Mt. Sneffels Snake Couloir (2 May 2014)
(Last Updated On: May 9, 2014)
Mount Sneffels is one of the most prominent peaks in the San Juans. While in the Uncompahgre River valley north of Montrose, Sneffels can be seen for miles and miles. It stands tall and strong, and somewhat intimidating. And snippets of the dog-legging Snake Couloir pass in and out of view.
I’ve wanted to ski the Snake for many years. As we stood on top of the peak in May, 2008, we had a rope and all the necessary gear for a rappel into the Snake with the intentions of dropping into the couloir. But, as the wind howled around us, wanting to blow us off the mountain, Frank and I agreed that this day was not the day to be dealing with a rope and a rappel, so we skied the Birthday Chutes instead.
Ever since, I’ve been wanting to get back to Sneffels and ski the Snake. Finally, 6 years later, skiing the Snake became reality.
The morning was beautiful and the freeze was much better than anticipated. Pete with Kismet behind.
Stoney Peak was looking grand, decorated with numerous tracks – making us glad to know that others are still happily skiing.
Gilpin was looking great as well!
Teakettle and Potosi, potential lines for the next day.
We skinned a ways up the valley before ascending Sneffels itself. Frank and Pete:
We ascended via the Lavender Col. The crux of the climbing route, just below the summit, was a little interesting and had much less snow on it than 6 years ago. Frank.
The views from Sneffels are amazing. But, most noticeable is Telluride’s ski area, so close you could almost touch it.
On the summit, we found calm winds and beautiful skies. It was time to ski the Snake! The Snake requires a rappel from the summit. Pete starting his rappel.
With the fresh snow that dropped in the area earlier in the week, we found powdery conditions on this north-facing line. Frank dropping in.
Pete enjoying a bit of slough.
Frank and the top of the dogleg.
Me heading to the choke.
In the choke.
The exit. Pete.
The apron was pretty fun too. Me.
Frank in the apron with the bottom leg of the Snake behind.
Yep, that just about sums it up 🙂
Once in the Blaine Basin, we had a way’s to skin to the Lavender Col saddle. But, the basin was magnificently wild.
We suspected that this saddle ended up in Yankee Boy Basin, but we weren’t sure so we did not ascend this route. Upon further investigation, this saddle does indeed lead to Yankee Boy and is a much shorter route than the Lavender Col saddle.
From where we stopped skiing, we ascended about 1600′-vertical to the Lavendar Col saddle.
Despite being rather late in the day, we found pretty good skiing on the south facing slopes of Yankee Boy, and skied a couple thousand vertical feet all the way back to the car.
It’s been awhile since we’ve stood on top of a 14er and the Sneffels Snake Couloir was a great way to get back at it with a bang. We’re looking forward to what else spring has in store for us 🙂
Brittany Walker Konsella
Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)
- Mount Buckskin (17 May 2020) - May 28, 2020
- Horseshoe Ski (14 May 2020) – The mountain whose journey nearly killed me - May 27, 2020
- Sayres X-Rated Ski (10 May 2020) - May 19, 2020
6 thoughts on “Mt. Sneffels Snake Couloir (2 May 2014)”
Looks like a beautiful outing with outstanding conditions. Jealous.
It was beautiful and it would be hard for the conditions to be better, Mat!
Rad work guys!
Thanks Brett! You been getting after it still?
I am planning on skiing the snake tomorrow. After you are in apron I haven’t been able to find what looks like a good route back to yankee basin on the map. Did you guys head around east or west?
Ben, As we stated in our TR, we headed back toward the Lavender Col saddle. However, if you read our TR, you can take another saddle near it that is much less vert to climb and brings you further down on the Yankee Boy Basin. It’s hard to describe where that alternative saddle is, except that it’s on the way back to the Lavendar Col saddle itself. It’s fairly obvious if you head that direction. The picture we have of it should help you to recognize it.