Route: South Face to Lavendar Col
Team: Ted, Jann Stoeckl
In June, Jann Stoeckl and I were headed to Denali with Aspen friends Sean Shean and Brad Smith. The four of us had the month of May to prep for what would be my biggest trip to date. This seemed to fit as preparation.
We drove to Ouray and then up the Camp Bird Mine Road until snow stopped us, just before the Yankee Boy turnoff. We skinned up the road and set up camp with a lot of new Denali gear, it was fun. We were moving before dawn, getting high up into Yankee Boy basin, the south side of Sneffels was our goal.
We nailed this day. Climbing the South Face, a.k.a. Birthday Chutes, on perfect frozen snow we topped out on without a breath of wind and early, giving us ample time to hangout on the summit and let the snow soften. Sneffels is awesome, the view to the north is vast, with huge relief down towards Montrose, and the impressive looking Snake Couloir just a rappel off the summit. I would get to experience that in 2005. To the south it’s staggering, with and endless sea of San Juan peaks of all shapes and sizes, with today’s descent right at our feet.
Ski lines are literally everywhere, you could spend year here and always have something different to ski. This was one of those days that validates some of the relative suffering I’ve experienced on other trips, these memories are the ones that stick.
We skied corn down to the Lavender Col and then cruised all the way back to the truck. We were back in Aspen that night. Later in the week I would get deeper in the San Juans— we were headed in to Chicago Basin.