Snowmass Mountain- 14,092'
Via Snowmass Lake, 21.5 Miles and 5,800' elevation GainSome 14ers require a greater level of effort than others. For one reason or another, just making it can be a test of endurance. This is what we discovered on Snowmass Mountain. One of our friends needed 3 tries to finally make the summit. Photos provided by Scott Lowery are denoted with (SZL).
The approach hike gains 2,600' in 8.5 miles. It's never steep, which is nice in some ways, but it's also very long. The terrain is absolutely beautiful, so that is always a bonus. On the way up, we were excited and enthusiastic to be in such a great place.
|Almost immediately you are treated to sublime views|
|Scott hiking up the easy trail|
|Aspen forests and red mountains|
|After about 5 miles on the trail (SZL)|
|Nice trail section about 4 miles up|
|Panorama with Snowmass Mountain distant right center|
|Nice view from the log jam|
|The infamous "log jam" you need to cross to gain the trail on the other side. This is about 6 miles up.|
|A strong waterfall at the base of Snowmass Lake|
|Relaxing, Colorado Style|
|The route we ended up taking the next day. Notice the "crossover" just above the waterfall.|
|The upper route, as see from the lake|
Until I awoke around 2AM to the sound of 2 large branches snapping. I eventually settled down again but never fully went to sleep. I never sleep well in the mountains. At 4:45 we awoke and set out for the trail at 5:15 AM. This proved to be a little bit of a "late start".
|Looking at the route ahead from the side of the large Snowmass Lake|
|The scree slope of doom- we crossed the stream and headed up on the right|
|Once we gain the initial slope, the snowmass is revealed. It's larger than we though.|
|Getting ready to cross the snow|
|Pyramid Peak, N Maroon, Maroon Peak|
|Look up at the snow climb ahead|
|Scott Climbing up the snow slope, climbers seen behind him|
|A look at the upper section. We went up to the right of the rock band on the left upper side of the photo|
|Climbing up near the top. It was getting steep (SZL)|
|Scott on the summit of Snowmass Mountain|
|Looking at Capital Peak from the summit of Snowmass (SZL)|
|Snowmass lake from the summit. Our tent is down there!|
|We came up just to the climbers left of the "thumb" rock jutting out in the middle of the pic. Steep snow.|
|Upper glissade path (SZL)|
|Scott glissading the upper portion|
|1.5 miles from the lake, heading back to the car. At this point there are 7 miles to go!|
|A last look at Snowmass up the Bear Creek drainage. We were just up there!|
The 8.5 miles from our hastily broken camp to the car seemed to take forever. We were tired, hungry, thirsty, hot, etc. It's amazing how nice weather and beautiful scenery are lost on someone not in the proper mood. What was an amazing hike in seemed like a slog on the way out. Still, we did those 8.5 miles in under 3 hours, fueled by the expectation of hot food.
Snowmass Mountain was a neat hike in a beautiful area - arguably one of the prettiest 14er hikes we have done so far. It loses a little bit for having such a long approach, and the mixed climbing required more equipment and footwear, but it was a great experience.