The boys and I had our annual Silverton ski trip this past weekend. Typically, we have been very lucky with snow conditions every year with massive amounts of powder and storms on this exact weekend. However, this year the mountain had not seen good snow in weeks and I felt like the conditions would leave a lot to be desired. So, I decided to see about skiing on Saturday and climbing a peak on Sunday. I chatted up my friend Natalie and she soon had me convinced to attempt the 14er Mt. Sneffels with her as she had tried it in winter 3 years prior and had turned around at the 13,500′ Lavender Col because of unfavorable snow conditions. She is trying to climb all of Colorado’s 14ers in winter – a serious and very admirable undertaking. I always thought I was done with lists after the 7 Summits and I still claim that I am. However, climbing Sneffels made me realize how I do enjoy being up high on a 14er in the winter. Our crew did end up skiing on Saturday below gorgeous sunny bluebird skies and the snow on Silverton Mtn actually warmed up to acceptable ski conditions. It was a lot of fun with a good crew. Natalie showed up at our Wolf Haus late that afternoon and we all went to a great dinner that evening at Eureka Station in Silverton. We got to bed around 11pm and woke up at 3:15am for a 4am departure to the Sneffels winter road closure gate outside of Ouray. It was a great day to be up high in Colorado and things went about as well as they can on a 14er in the winter. I had climbed Sneffels maybe 6-7 times before all via the standard Lavender Col route and one trip via the Snake Couloir on the peak’s north face , but never in the winter. So, this trip was a special treat to see such stunning terrain in all its winter glory. Natalie wrote a nice little trip report here, which sums up the day well. Below are a few of my favorite pics from the day:

Me starting the steeper skinning up to Lavender Col above. Photo by Natalie

Me starting the steeper skinning up to Lavender Col above. Photo by Natalie

Natalie booting up the steeper slopes to Lavender Col with Gilpin Peak behind

After leaving the skis around 13,200′ (because the very icy and firm snow made the slope unskinnable), Natalie boots up the steeper slopes to Lavender Col with Gilpin Peak behind

Me booting up the Lavender Couloir. Photo by Natalie

Me booting up the Lavender Couloir. Photo by Natalie

Me on the upper face. Photo by Natalie

Me on the upper face. Photo by Natalie

Natalie forging ahead on the steep and exposed upper face

Natalie forging ahead on the steep and exposed upper face

Mt. Sneffels summit (14,150') on February 21,2016

Mt. Sneffels summit (14,150′) on February 21,2016

Natalie and I at the summer 4WD trailhead at about 12,400' on the ski out

Natalie and I at the summer 4WD trailhead at about 12,400′ on the ski out

It was about a 14 mile RT day with about 5,000′ of vertical gain is just over 9 hours.  I kept thinking how fun and enjoyable it would be to come back with Kristine and drive up to the summer 4WD trailhead and ski some nice late May/June corn snow on this peak and the surrounding terrain and other peaks. We’ll try and make that happen.