Mt Sneffels

Mt. Sneffels is a classic of the San Juan Mountains with its curious name and a great selection of routes. The peak is a staple of the skyline above Ouray and Ridgway and can be climbed any time of year in a variety of conditions. From the standard Lavender Col to the more challenging North Face there is a great variety of  routes to choose from.

1 person: $460
2 people: $304 per person
3 people: $230 per person

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Mt Sneffels has an incredible variety of routes and is the focal point of southwest Colorado alpine climbing. Whether climbing Sneffels in the spring with perfect firm snow conditions or in the fall during dry conditions it is one of Colorado’s best 14er climbs.

Skill Development

This is an awesome peak in it’s own right! It’s also a great place to prepare for trips into the Alaska Range or Cascades where the routes have greater commitment. Spring snow climbing combined with rock climbing instruction is a great way to make an entrance to the complex and challenging world of alpine climbing. Check out our INTRO TO ALPINE CLIMBING course if you are interested in a multi-day skill development course.


Group Size

This is a private program, no one else will be paired with your party. The maximum group size depends on the objective, but in most cases you can expect a guide with every 2 climbers.

Time and Place

This trip typically meets at Basecamp Bouldering in Ouray. As an alpine objective, it may be necessary to start early in the morning to align the time on the route with the best conditions or a specific weather window.

Equipment List

All the technical climbing equipment required for this outing is included.

Selected Routes

Lavender Col Route

The Lavender Col Route is the easiest route to the summit and it can be enjoyed by beginners with good fitness. The route follows the Blue Lakes Trail to the upper reaches of Yankee Boy Basin where a climber’s trail cuts off to Mt. Sneffels. The climber’s trail is followed up a broad scree slope to a notch at 13,500 feet, called Lavender Col. From Lavender Col, the route steepens as it ascends Lavender Couloir, a 40 degree gully that leads almost to the summit. This section is snow covered in April, May, and early June and will require crampons and ice axe to securely navigate. During the mid and late-summer it is snow free and simple hiking shoes will suffice. From the top of the couloir, a short step of rock scrambling (3rd-4th class) leads to the upper slopes of the peak. We traverse the upper slopes using a mix of hiking and moderate scrambling (sometimes roped) to reach the summit. This route typically takes 7-9 hours car-to-car and involves approximately 4.5 miles of hiking and 2800 feet of elevation gain/loss.

the standard route lavender col on mt sneffels crux moves

Southwest Ridge

The Southwest Ridge Route is also accessed via the Blue Lakes Trail in Yankee Boy Basin. Where the trail crosses Blue Lakes Pass, the climbing route turns North and climbs from the pass onto the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Sneffels. Most of the lower ridge is non-technical, no need for a rope, but about midway up the ridge the character of climb changes considerably. A short section of 4th class/low 5th class climbing marks the entrance to the upper ridge. From this point on, the climbing steepens and the ridge narrows. We continue ascending the ridge on Class 2-3 terrain until the summit is reached. We descend the Lavender Col Route back to Yankee Boy Basin. This makes for a complete circumnavigation of the South side of Mt. Sneffels, an awesome tour of the peak and a great day of alpine climbing. This route typically takes 7-9 hours car-to-car and involves approximately 5 miles of hiking and 2800 feet of elevation gain/loss.

southwest ridge route on mt sneffels 14er in colorado

Snake Couloir

Located on the North side of Mt. Sneffels, the Snake Couloir has steep snow and ice climbing up to 55 degrees and a 100’ pitch of mid-5th class rock climbing. It is the most classic alpine climb in the range and a great accomplishment for any climber. It is also an excellent training ground for learning alpine mountaineering skills such as crampon use, ice axe use, and technical ropework. This climb typically takes two days car-to-car (with an overnight camp in between) and involves approximately 11 miles of hiking and 4500 feet of elevation gain/loss.

snake couloir mt sneffels classic alpine climb of colorado

Contact Us

Peak Mountain Guides, LLC
160 Liddell St. #C3 | Ridgway CO 81432
PO Box 2051 | Ridgway CO 81432

Authorized Permittee

Peak Mountain Guides is an authorized permittee of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forest; San Juan National Forest; Bureau of Land Management Monticello, Moab, Gunnison, and Glennallen Field Offices; Eldorado Canyon State Park; Ouray Ice Park, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks; and National Parks including Mt. Rainier, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Colorado National Monument. Peak Mountain Guides is an equal opportunity service provider.