Mount Sneffels Your online resource for hiking, climbing and travel
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet
Summit Elevation: 14,150 feet
Access rating: Level 3-4
Mount Sneffels is a Colorado Fourteener, the Ouray County highpoint and a 3000+ prominence peak. It's also a chance to visit the famous Yankee Boy Basin, an amazing and historic high alpine zone accessible by vehicle. Because you can drive to well over 11,000 feet, this fourteener has no real low approach hike, the alpine climb begins at the car. Depending on your vehicle, you can climb as high as 12,400 feet. Most 4WD's stop at 11,400. Regular cars at 10,700, with an additional 1.3 miles of road hiking. Roads then trails take you all the way into the first talus fields at 12,800, then a recent trail has been constructed up much of the talus field. Even without the trail, the rocks aren't too bad. Larger rocks on the west side made travel pretty easy. At the top of the talus is a saddle where views north are now seen. From this point, an obvious couloir is to the west leads to the summit area. Without snow this wouldn't be much trouble. With snow early in the morning after a cold streak, it was extremely solid requiring crampons and careful stepping. Just before the top of the couloir is a class 3 notch (with a little exposure) that must be climbed. It's short, only 2 or 3 moves on solid rock holds but a snow bank at the top wasn't helping, nor the crampons on the feet. Once over this crux, it's a short scramble on summit rocks to the top. For me, it was another Colorado summit where hundreds of peaks could be seen and I couldn't name any. I saw several groups on the way down, some with the required gear, others without. Hopefully they made it up before some ugly weather came up from the south. As I drove south over the Million-Dollar-Highway, it rained for hours, all of it heading toward Mount Sneffels.
SW Colorado
Mt. Sneffels from Ridgway Yankee Boy Basin Blue Lake Trailhead and trail Stony Mountain Gilpin Peak and Yankee Boy Basin Trailhead above Blue Lake Mount Sneffels Trail Route up Mount Sneffels Climbing Mount Sneffels Mount Sneffels col Morning on Mount Sneffels Views from Mount Sneffels summit Views from Mount Sneffels summit Yankee Boy Basin from the summit Going down Mt. Sneffels
Mt. Sneffels from Ridgway to the north
The 11,420 foot 4WD trailhead
Blue Lake Trailhead and trail
Stony Mountain from around Wrights Lake
Gilpin Peak and Yankee Boy Basin, trail/road is on the right
Highest trailhead at 12,400
Nearing 12,600 where the route becomes visible to the right
The scree col that takes you up much of the mountain
From the top of col looking up couloir that leads to the summit
Looking down the couloir from the notch
Looking down to Yankee Boy Basin from the summit
Views from the scree field
Below: Looking south from the scree field at first light
These pictures are all shown as I took photos on the way down. As you see from the picture below, it was very early until I was near the top of the Col where I could then start taking pictures. It was slightly snowing for me on the summit, got better on the way down but about 2 hours later a major rainstorm hit from the south.
Views from the summit
Views from the summit
Colorado Climbing