Sniktau, Mount

elevation: 4,033 m.  height gain: 550 m.
area: Loveland Pass,Colorado,USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Grays Peak, CO

loveland trailhead

At Loveland Pass' trailhead, looking towards Cupid and Grizzly Peak with Torreys Peak barely visible in between the two.
Snowshoe trip. RT 3.5; 2.25 up. A substantial spring storm hit the Colorado Rockies just after the weekend's memorable traverse of Grays and Torreys. I stayed in Leadville with plenty of time to recover and plan a couple of weekday trips. Bluebird days were forecasted for both wednesday and thursday with wednesday being blustery and no wind on thursday. It made sense to me to plan a shorter trip on wednesday for several reasons: 1- I was still recovering from sunday's long trip, 2- it would give the snowpack time to settle before undertaking a more serious trip, 3- blustery wind on a long trip didn't appeal to me. I devised the perfect plan to take advantage of both stellar days without driving too far from Leadville. I would revisit Loveland Pass and ascend Mount Sniktau which would be short and safe after this storm cycle and then drive to nearby Georgetown to revisit Guanella Pass with a long traverse in mind. It snowed all day on tuesday, I dreaded the prospect of driving through Fremont Pass the following morning. As promised, the sky cleared later that evening and I awoke to a chilling -15 C˚. I grabbed a coffee and slowly drove to Loveland Pass, having a truck with snow tires really helped. There was already skiers/boarders when I arrived, they were getting shuttles to the pass after hitting some lines. I dressed accordingly and put on my goggles right away. The ascent ridge was windblown, it was neat catching a glimpse of Cupid; on last sunday's traverse, it was whiteout and we never saw it despite circling on it! The ridge walk to the top was easy although very windy, the snow plumes were fascinating. The view from Sniktau is fantastic, I could see four ski areas, I-70's Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels, the exciting traverse of Cupid, Grizzly, Torreys and Grays and countless mountains all around. I was glad to have picked this objective, a fast return allowed plenty of time to drive to Georgetown and hang out before my "big traverse" at Guanella Pass.

mount sniktau

Mount Sniktau on the left.

windy conditions

Evidence of windy conditions!

looking back

Looking back at Loveland Pass.

windblown ridge

This windblown ridge is as safe as it gets after a snow storm.

grays and torreys traverse

The traverse we executed this past weekend.

summit in view

The summit comes into view.

north-western view

Golden Bear Peak, Hagar Mountain and The Citadel aka Snoopy!

nearing the top

Nearing the top and battling fierce wind.

i-70 to denver

Looking down onto I-70 going east to Denver.

pettingell peak

View north-west with Pettingell Peak (left center).

loveland ski area

Loveland ski area above the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels on I-70.


I come from planet mountaineeria.

heading back down

Heading back down.

last glimpse

Last glimpse towards the top, I can see the cornices growing!

wind sculture

The wind is etching the snow.

keystone and breckenridge ski areas

Keystone ski area in the foreground and Breckenridge's ski area behind.

a basin ski area

A Basin ski area is the closest to Loveland Pass.

the pass is close

The pass is a short distance away.
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