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This route is a nice, easy, class 3, alpine scramble compared to the more difficult routes on the north side of Sneffels. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, it can shorten the climb dramatically. Hike up the 4-wheel drive road in Yankee Boy Basin and follow the Blue Lakes trail to Blue Lakes pass on the south-south west side of Sneffels. Now hike northeast on the west side of the ridge. While hiking on the west side of the ridge, you will pass some small notches. Hike until you have reached a very dominate notch. Now, switch to the east side of the ridge through the notch and enter a gully rising back up to the ridge. Climb the gully to regain the ridge, and then climb the ridge directly to the summit. When you get out of the gully, the rock is solid, fun climbing.
The Southwest Ridge follows the left skyline.
Finding some exposed fun near the summit.
Looking over to Lizard Head and the Wilson Group f...
Seriously, it wouldn't take much effort to topple ...
Rock formation on the SW ridge of Sneffels.
Ron Bubb on the Southwest Ridge.
Doug Bryson, Alex Barrows & Ron Bubb on the Southw...
Looking down from the route.
|Comments on Southwest Ridge
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 10, 2004
How is this relevent to rock/ice climbing? Just curious. Not trying to be rude, but if this becomes hiking boulder in addition to climbing boulder, the databases could become a pain to sift through...
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 11, 2004
I agree with Matt, this route is much more fun than the standard route. This route isn't climbed often, probably because it looks harder than class 3.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 11, 2004
Thanks for explaining. I too have done this scramble, and I agree that it is wonderful and absolutely classic. I guess scrambles are that grey area between hikes and climbs. In any case, I also see that "class 3" is an option in the ratings drop down menu, whereas class 1 & 2 are not, so that must be the cutoff. Thanks for commenting.
|By Jason Nelson|
From: SLC, UT
Jul 19, 2007
You can also take a snow chute as a direct start to the ridge in the spring for some easy alpine ice or snow slogging if it's too warm. This would be an alternative to hiking up Blue Lakes pass from Yankee Boy Basin. I did this once when I was too lazy to hike around the mountain and do the Snake Couloir.
Round trip car to car for this route is about 4-5 hrs if you park below the lake, above the bathroom. Pretty fast for a 14er! Also plan on about 45mins to drive from Ouray.
I would also not recommend climbing the initial rock ridge off of Blue Lakes Pass. Stacked blocks galore!
From: Waterville, ME
Aug 20, 2007
I'd love to see more of this stuff even class 1 and class 2need ice axes in the winter plus This is MOUNTAIN Project
|By Mike McMahon|
From: Vernal, Utah
Aug 31, 2007
I climbed this route this summer, and honestly, I wasn't too impressed. I tried to stay high on the ridge several times; however, the rock quality of the exposed towers scared me away. Certainly watch for rotten rock on this route.
Jan 12, 2011
This route is really fun. Good class 3 scrambling. The final couple hundred feet are easy and solid with some exposure. When we did the climb, ice in the crux gully made it more like class 4. Highly enjoyable route to a great summit. The only drawback is the long 4WD road. I refuse to drive all the way to the top parking lot. I like to climb mountains, not drive up them.
Jul 8, 2013
Mike, welcome to the San Juans. Lots of rock like that. Keeps it exciting.