Route: South Face, a.k.a. Birthday Chutes
Team: Ted, Christy
Christy had nine 14ers left to finish the list and she was determined to get them done, so we headed to Ouray and set our sights on Sneffels. The day’s are short in January, so we started in the dark, and drove the jeep road up towards Yankee Boy Basin.
We parked just past the fork with Yankee Boy Road, and started up. After following the summer road for a while, the Lavendar Col eventually came into view. We could skin to the col, but above that, we had to use crampons. I had memories of skiing down this route from 2000, but after we started up, it became apparent that we couldn’t actually connect it with the summit without some real climbing. We had to go another way. I guess I either didn’t remember it correctly, or it just needed a season-full of snow to be passable.
We put on our skis and returned to the col, and then found another way more towards the south face of the mountain. After some repeated stretches of climbing and traversing, we neared the summit. Being January though, the snow was thin and we were often climbing right on the rock. There’s a reason why this sort of thing is usually considered a spring sport, there’s just not that much snow early in the winter.
After a quick transition at the summit, the early sunset was upon us so we made our way down the thin snow and back to the truck, but not before needing a headlamp. We headed to San Luis next, for another January descent.