How to get there:
The natural starting point is the charming little town of Ouray.
Drive out of town in the direction of Silverton, after just a couple
of turns, find a dirt road that goes right.
Follow this dirt road as it climbs into the basin below Sneffels.
The road is rough and becomes a 4WD road in its upper part. There is
a level area with trees where the road forks, this is a good place to
park in order to reserve a reasonable vertical climb for the actual
hike. (The road continues quite high, especially if a gate on the
upper slope is open.) Route description:
From a parking area just below the treeline, continue along the
road until it ends on a flat area at the top of the first distinct
slope above the treeline. From here, hike on a level trail towards
the impressive, jagged ridge coming down from Mount Sneffels. There
is a trail junction with a sign, one trail going straight ahead towards
Blue Lakes (as well as the base of the Sneffel ridge route), the other
trail turns right and heads up a long, moderate slope with scree and
talus. This slope leads to a col between Mount Sneffel and its
neighbor Kismet (4174 m).
There are reasonable trails climbing this slope. Once in
the col, there is a large couloir heading directly from the col to
the left towards the summit of Mount Sneffels. (There is another
couloir further on, starting a bit down on the other side
of the col, do not take this couloir.) The couloir is easy to climb,
when we did this climb it had almost no snow left. However, earlier in
the summer one may consider bringing an ice axe and crampons, depending
on the conditions. Climb this couloir essentially to the top, about 5 meters
from the top there is a very distinct, quite narrow V-shaped crack on the
left hand side. Scramble through this crack and find a very flat and easy
area on the other side. From here, scramble (easy!) along or slightly left
of the ridge to the summit. The summit is level, but not huge. The view
of the rough, surronding ridges to the west and of the large, flat land to the
north is breathtaking. Comments:
I did this climb with my son Pål Jørgen, age 12.
We had good sunshine on the summit and truly enjoyed the view and
the summit. We left our Jeep at 0720, arrived at the summit at 0940.
After a long rest on top, we started descending and were back at the
Jeep at 1150, a total time of 4.5 hours.