Ouray County High Point Trip Report

Mount Sneffels (14,150 ft)

Date: August 9, 1988
Author: Dave Olson

I started up Yankee Boy Basin to scale the original ascent route of Mt. Sneffels. From Blue Lakes Pass I easily passed the 1st Pinnacles on the west, climbed over the 2nd Pinnacle and faced the 3rd Pinnacle. Tough choice here: go left (west) and descend a short distance down a steep couloir and then re-ascend the other branch of the couloir, or go right (east) and traverse on narrow ledges? I chose east-side ledges. I then made climbing from the notch up onto the South Ridge harder than it needed to be. The South Ridge, going up, presented a couple of 5-foot cliff problems to solve. From the top I descended a short ways to the northwest couloir, then came back up and went down the Standard Route.

Short summary of the Standard Route: From the top of Yankee Boy Basin go north up Scree Couloir to Scree Col. The rocks in the couloir are loose, and the footing on the bare dirt is poor. Turn left and head up the Southeast Couloir. One has three choices: 1) Climb left of the couloir on to the rocks. This is free of snow earlier than #3. 2) Halfway up the couloir is a narrow branch-couloir on the left. I came down this. The face above the top of narrow couloir has 4-foot cliff problems to solve. 3) Ascend the Southeast Couloir nearly to its top, then look for and exit by a narrow slot in the left-side wall. The book says "The summit is only a short scramble from the exit to the couloir." The Southeast Couloir tends to hold snow until late in the season.