Ascent of Snowmass Mountain on 2018-08-26

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, August 26, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Snowmass Mountain
    Elevation:14092 ft / 4295 m

Ascent Trip Report

Scramble exposure was mainly one easy class 3 move on the summit ridge.

I was all over that gully on the west slope trying to find the better way. The whole gully is a mess of loose rock and dirt. There were 5 of us in there at the same time (plus additional 2 descending as we were ascending). Took a lot of care to not turn rocks loose. Several times we paused to allow lower climbers to move out of the fall line. Probably should have tried the talus/boulders rib on the north side more, but then again there were some huge rocks now-and-then that wanted to move. The last 2200ft of gain to the main ridge was just a slog, and took me 2hr 40min.

Two young men caught me on the trail at Little Gem Lake, and abruptly went off-trail toward Snowmass's south basin. I met them again descending the west slope. They said the south basin route was all off-trail, mostly talus, a lot of class 3 with a little class 4, but on much more solid rock. They described it as much more pleasant than all the loose crap on the west slope. They obviously made good time, so route-finding must not have been difficult.

The road into Lead King Basin wasn't as bad as expected. It's actually mostly smooth ground-up rock. A couple turns are too tight for long wheelbases. Wasn't many rocks sticking up; good clearance was needed mainly for the huge dirt waterbars keeping the road intact. It is very narrow for some long stretches; thankfully I didn't have to back up for any oncoming traffic.

On the way out, I decided to explore the rest of "scenic loop", by driving down the canyon into Crystal, and then toward Marble. From LKB to Crystal was the worst of both narrow ledges and exposed rock, with several small ledges to drive over. Scraped bottom several times in my 4-dr Wrangler. Larger tires or a little modification would have helped a lot. And it was relentless. Then, even after reaching Crystal, it was still much rougher (slower) than the direct route. Wish I had made a time comparison; but it definitely took much longer.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4984 ft / 1518 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4984 ft / 1518 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.1 mi / 14.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Bkn cu -500 bcmg +500; viz 8mi smoke; breezy; cool; CB dsnt NW
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4660 ft / 1420 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4336 ft / 1322 m; Extra: 324 ft / 98m
    Loss on way in:324 ft / 98 m
    Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route:W slope
    Start Trailhead:Lead King Basin  9756 ft / 2973 m
    Time:4 Hours 53 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4660 ft / 1420 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4336 ft / 1322 m; Extra: 324 ft / 98m
    Gain on way out:324 ft / 98 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    End Trailhead:Lead King Basin upr TH  9756 ft / 2973 m
    Time:3 Hours 46 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Hensley
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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