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.
Pete with Kismet

Stoney Peak was looking grand, decorated with numerous tracks – making us glad to know that others are still happily skiing.
Stoney Peak

Gilpin was looking great as well!
Gilpin Peak

Teakettle and Potosi, potential lines for the next day.
Teakettle and Potosi

We skinned a ways up the valley before ascending Sneffels itself. Frank and Pete:
skinning near Sneffels

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.
Frank climbing through the crux on Sneffels Lavender Col

The views from Sneffels are amazing. But, most noticeable is Telluride’s ski area, so close you could almost touch it.
Telluride seen from Sneffels

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.
Pete rappelling into the Snake Couloir

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.
Frank skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Frank skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Frank skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Pete enjoying a bit of slough.
Pete skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Frank and the top of the dogleg.
Frank skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Me heading to the choke.
Brittany skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

In the choke.
Brittany skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Brittany skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

The exit. Pete.

Frank.
Frank skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

The apron was pretty fun too. Me.
Brittany skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Frank in the apron with the bottom leg of the Snake behind.
Brittany skiing the Sneffels Snake Couloir

Yep, that just about sums it up 🙂
Frank with Sneffels Snake Couloir

Once in the Blaine Basin, we had a way’s to skin to the Lavender Col saddle. But, the basin was magnificently wild.
Blaine Basin

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.
Blaine Basin

From where we stopped skiing, we ascended about 1600′-vertical to the Lavendar Col saddle.
Lavender 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.
Pete skiing

Yankee Boy

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

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

6 thoughts on “Mt. Sneffels Snake Couloir (2 May 2014)

  • May 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm
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    Looks like a beautiful outing with outstanding conditions. Jealous.

  • May 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm
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    It was beautiful and it would be hard for the conditions to be better, Mat!

  • May 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm
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    Rad work guys!

  • May 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm
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    Thanks Brett! You been getting after it still?

  • May 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm
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    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?

  • May 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm
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    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.

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