Snowdrift Buttress is a remote, steep, East-facing, granite outcropping on the rocky Western wall of the Ptarmigan Creek drainage, just West of Snowdrift Lake. The climbing on the main ESE facing central buttress is good quality alpine rock with wind, sun, lichen, and seclusion. The NE side of the buttress is wet and has lots of thick lichen. Snowdrift Buttress is easily identified by the distinctive pointed roof at its top (the Ptarmigan Beak).
An overnight stay in Ptarmigan Creek is recommended (RMNP cross-country zone 2M, permit required). Snowdrift Buttress is 8.5 miles one-way from the Bear Lake trailhead. Take the Flattop Mountain trail to the top of Flattop Mountain (12,324’) and continue about 300 yards West to a trail junction to the North Inlet and Tonahutu Creek trails. Turn right at the junction following the Tonahutu Creek trail. Follow the trail West and North along the Continental Divide for approximately 2 miles, passing point 12,277 on the left. At approximately 11,840’ (where the trail begins to gently drop into upper Tonahutu Creek), leave the trail to the left, heading SW toward Snowdrift Peak. Continue cross-country for nearly 1 mile to the 11,520'+ saddle between the Continental Divide and Snowdrift Peak. Descend to the South from the saddle into upper Ptarmigan Creek, skirting a large, unnamed lake along its Western shore. Continue SSW along the Western side of the basin to the East shore of Snowdrift Lake. Continue around the South shore of Snowdrift Lake and ascend talus and/or snow to the West toward the steep buttress above the lake (Snowdrift Buttress). Snowdrift Buttress is just right (north) of the low point on the rocky ridge line forming the Western side of the basin and is capped by a distinctive, pointed roof (the Ptarmigan Beak).
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Snowdrift Buttress:
Sky Pilot 5.10a Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 300 feet, Grade II
Featured Route For Snowdrift Buttress
Sky Pilot 5.10a CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Snowdrift Buttress
Sky Pilot has corners, roofs, traverses, enjoyable hand and finger cracks and good face climbing in a pristine, alpine setting. Sky Pilot takes the cleanest, most logical line up the center of Snowdrift Buttress on good quality alpine rock.Pitch 1, 120 feet: Climb a small, smooth dihedral and exit left under a roof (5.8+). Follow moderate cracks up and left towards the obvious hand crack in the steep face above. Climb the steep hand crack as it goes up, cuts right, and goes up again (classic ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO