Type: Trad, Snow, Alpine
FA: Dwight Lavender and friends 1933
Page Views: 10,123 total · 44/month
Shared By: Julian Smith on May 26, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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From Blaine Basin, a glance at the north face of Mount Sneffels will reveal a couloir bisecting the right hand side of the face. Climb up the couloir for over 1000 feet. It averages 40 degrees, but steepens to 50 degrees where the couloir necks down a bit, about half way up. At the halfway point, the couloir splits at a small rock pillar. Take the dogleg to the left. At the top of the couloir, either traverse east to connect to the final few feet of the normal route (yucky) or go straight up a short band of rocks and come out directly onto the summer (better). A rope may be handy for this section, as a slip could have dire consequences, but the climbing is not too hard.

Use Blaine Basin/Blue Lakes trailhead on East Dallas Creek Rd for an approach after spring-melt off. Usually this is sometime in May. Alternatively, use Yankee Boy Basin as an approach by climbing to Lavender Col and descending into Blaine Basin. Allow two hours for an approach from either trailhead in good conditions.

Use the normal route for a descent to Lavender Col. Either drop back down into Blaine Basin and return to the trailhead, or go down into Yankee Boy Basin and its trailhead.

Do not leave any gear stashed too high in Blaine Basin. The descent from Lavender Col comes into Blaine Basin well below and to the side of the start of the routes on the north face. Don't get stuck having to climb back up just to get stashed gear.

This superb couloir has been a popular Colorado test piece since 1933. It is cool for both climbing and the extreme ski descent. See Rock and Ice number 85 and Dawson's Guide To Colorado's Fourteeners as examples of references. Enjoy.


Take some ice screws, depending on the time of year. Earlier in the season there will be no ice, only snow. Also include perhaps a very light rack for the headwall just below the summit.