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Well, I had taken some time off from my usual routine from hiking to recover from getting my wisdom teeth ripped from my skull. This took a bit longer than expected as it seems this was one of the worst cases my doc had seen. So, I decided to break back into the outdoors on a mild, relatively "easy" mountain. I was heading down to Vail to do a little skiing with some friends, and stopped at Loveland Pass to hike the ridges to the summit of Mt. Sniktau.
This is a great mountain which lies just east of the continental divide at an elevation of 13,234 feet. It is a simple ridge-line hike to the summit. It begins by hiking from Loveland Pass, at just under 12,000 feet, to point 12,915. From here the elevation drops slightly before the climb up to point 13,152. It is here that you get your first glimpse of the summit proper. You do have to lose around 150 feet in elevation and regain it to reach the true 13,234 foot summit of Mount Sniktau, but this makes an otherwise simple mountain a tad bit more challenging.
This is a popular mountain to climb during the winter months, as it stays on top of ridges for the entire route, and out of avalanche danger. And by staying on the western side of the slope you can stay off of the heavily corniced drifts that line the eastern edge of the ridge. It would be all bad news to break a cornice here. You wouldn't stop falling until you reached the bottom of Kearney Gulch, and you would probably be buried under a few feet of avy debris.
It was a wonderful day. Not a cloud in the sky, very little wind and the mountain to myself. It felt so good to be back out in the hills after a couple of weeks laying on my couch with a fat face.
The views from the trail and the summit were amazing. Looking southwest to Torreys & Grays, and north to the Herman and Dry Gulch areas, and even to the Ten Mile and Mosquito Ranges, home of Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, Quandary and many other fantastic mountains. I could even see Mt. of the Holy Cross, and all the way up to Longs and Meeker! What a view!
I took a few pics from the summit, made a quick descent and was on my way to Vail for a nice weekend of skiing! Another incredible day in the Rockies!
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