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Routes in Telluride Traverses

Campbell to Hayden 10x13 T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
Emma to T.Zero T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Emma/Gilpin/Sneffels Ski Tour T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Imogene to Emma 8x13 T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R
Type: Trad, Alpine, 8000 ft, Grade IV
FA: Joe Stiles
Page Views: 534 total · 16/month
Shared By: Stiles on Apr 9, 2015
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This is an Emma, Gilpin, and Sneffels ski traverse, south to north, with roughly 8,000' of ascent.

Start up the south face of Mt Emma (13,581') from Telluride (8,750'). Ascend steep snow to the ridgeline just south of the summit, and then do a wee bit of scrambling the final hundred feet to the summit. Ski the steep north face of Mt. Emma through various cliffbands to a shelf (~12,250) below the south face of Gilpin Peak.

A slender hallway of steep snow splits the otherwise steep and rocky south face of Gilpin. Crampon straight up to the summit of Gilpin Peak (13,694').

From the top of Gilpin Peak, walk or ski (depending on snow availability) down the ridgeline northwest to the saddle which connects Gilpin to Sneffels. Ski north down steep snow to the base of the south face of Mt. Sneffels (~12,750').

Climb steep snow up the normal hiking route to the summit of Mt. Sneffels (14,150') with a bit of low 5th class at the top. Choose your poison off of the top of Mt. Sneffels - either skiing north which generally requires a rope or steep down climbing for 100' (the downclimb isnt that challenging, but the exposure is), or skiing the south face.

There is a steep, skiable line that forms right from the summit of Sneffels down the middle of the south face (the Birthday Chutes). Cautiously skiing the hiking couloir is possible if the snow is in shape. The Dogleg Couloir or the Triple Threat (much added commitment) are great ways to finish the day. You can ski the Dogleg and climb back to the south side of Sneffels and an easier way out of the woods via a huge couloir on the southeast side of the peak. Ski down Yankee Boy Road to cold beers.


Start from the top of Oak St. in Telluride. Head up Tomboy Road a short distance to the Jud Wiebe Trail. Follow the Jud Wiebe trail counter-clockwise to and up the Liberty Bell Trail. From treeline atop the Liberty Bell Trail, traverse left (north) across the bottom of Saint Sophia Ridge to the south face of Mt Emma. Several gullies and rockbands are traversed over, which require maintaining a high line. Maintain your line just below the cliffbands up and around the corner to the southwest ridgeline of Mt. Emma.

Or, from the top of Oak St., hike up the Sneffels Highline Trail. Once above treeline, ascend a couloir on the south (right) side of the West face of Emma. I believe skiers call this line the Y-Couloir or the Hourglass? It's a great descent on its own. The summit block can be ascended by fun stemming behind a chockstone followed by steep snow.


Sharp edges, crampons, ice axe, and helmet.