Mt Sniktau – 13,234


RT Length – 3.7 miles

Elevation Gain – 1474’

I’ve already climbed Mt Sniktau before so this isn’t much of a trip report but more journaling. A detailed trip report of Mt Sniktau can be found here.

Steffen asked me to take him hiking a 13er and to be honest the weather everywhere in the state was terrible for today. We’re talking 50+ mph winds and snow.  Lots of snow.  In fact, Mt Sniktau had snow forecasted to begin at 11am, so I figured we should start early.  He met at my house at 3am and we carpooled there.  I drove, and found it odd to have someone else to talk with in the car.  There was rock mitigation work along I70 which seemed to come out of nowhere but I was glad they were working on the problem (large boulders landed on the road, blocking an entire lane).

We arrived at the London Pass trailhead at 5:45am, the only ones parked in the lot, and spent some time in the truck putting on our snowshoes and gear. It was dark so I couldn’t tell if we needed snowshoes or not, but figured it best to put them on when it was warm and take them off if necessary.  Another vehicle pulled into the lot and a man started hiking a little before we did.  We started on the trail a little after 6am.

There was a faint trail in the snow up the ridge, and after about 100 yards there was enough light to see we didn’t need snowshoes so we took them off. We quickly caught up to and passed the hiker in front of us, who was intent on “Cupid” and maybe Grizzly.  We wished him luck and followed the ridge.


The forecast called for snow and it looked like it was rolling in. Luckily we were always in sight of the trailhead so I wasn’t too worried about the weather.


Steffen was doing great physically but was having minor difficulties breathing so we took breaks every now and then so he could catch his breath. He was a champ though and did a great job keeping up and not complaining.  We followed the ridge to the summit.



There’s a large cornice on the top of Mt Sniktau Steffen had fun playing on, which terrified me a little…


Looking at the weather over Grays and Torreys we decided it was time to head back



Along the way I taught Steffen a little about how to self arrest with an ice axe and he spent some time practicing. This is a really good skill to know how to use when climbing in winter conditions.  Remember to keep those spikes up!


We didn’t see another hiker the entire day, which seemed odd for this peak. It’s a popular one even on bad weather days because the trailhead is accessible and this is an ‘easy’ 13er.


We made it back to the truck at 8:30am, making this a 3.7 mile hike with 1494’ of elevation gain in 2.5 hours. The weather had been a bit gloomy but not too windy and as an added bonus we missed the snow!


On our way home we discovered why no one else was out hiking Mt Sniktau today: I70 was closed where the rock mitigation was this morning and there were backups for miles and miles and miles in both directions as drivers exited and had to find an alternate route.  It didn’t look like anyone was going skiing/snowshoeing/hiking here today, and to make it worse this was a holiday weekend. It was a good thing we left so early:  we were lucky to have missed the traffic!

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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