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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Mount Sniktau

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

April 14, 2021

Mt. Sniktau (13,240 feet)

Route: Alltrails (from Loveland Pass)

3.8 miles; 1749 feet elevation gain

Total time: 2 hours 20 minutes

After a taste of being above 13,000 feet on Sunday we were on a summit high. Wednesday is our designated ‘high altitude’ day in our training plan. After checking 4 different weather sources and considering temperature, wind speed, cloud coverage and fresh snowfall we decided that the best window was between 8am and 12pm. We arrived at Loveland Pass parking around 8am, this time being one of two cars there. I had Kane with me and Brittany had Gryff. Grant and Cuddy (Grant and Brittany’s friend/new roommate) were also tagging along. It was clear blue skies, but we were above the clouds, cold but not extremely windy and there was a fresh layer of unstable snow from the night before.

This hike starts with the exact same route as Mt. Cupid for the first mile. When you reach the top of the initial incline you turn left instead of right. The snow coverage made our first mile considerably slower than it was on Sunday. It was windy and cold on the first mile but once we reached the top of the first incline the wind dropped to basically non-existent, a rare occurrence in this area. We were moving slower than anticipated with the cold area and fresh snow but given the good conditions we weren’t concerned about us or the dogs getting too cold.

Mt. Sniktau has a sneaky false summit with absolutely stunning views. This is the point that we turned around last year because the ridge/cornice looked too sketchy with the dogs. We have since learned that the trail gives this cornice a wide berth and it isn’t as scary as it looks as long as you stay on trail. From the top of the false summit to the true summit the dogs were leashed because of these risks. It is important that you stay far away from these cornices, you never know at what point they become a risk. We keep a very wide berth and don’t let the dogs near them. From the false summit you descend slightly before the final climb. The descent had a lot of fresh snow that was very unstable, this was probably the most technical part of the hike because there were a lot of buried rocks. We arrived at the summit about 1.5 hours after starting. There was still no wind at the summit so we stopped for a few pictures before heading back. We didn’t see a single person on our ascent and only a few people on our descent.

While it was very cold, it was an absolutely beautiful day with barely any wind for a majority of the hike.

Thoughts from this hike:

- It is important to know your dog if you are bringing them hiking. This includes things like: Do they need a jacket? Do they need booties? Do they need paw wax?

- There are a lot of important skills I want my dogs to have before I take them hiking, especially up a 13er. A very important skill that was highlighted on this hike was a solid heel or behind command. When I am descending technical terrain with a dog I don’t want to risk them pulling me down. Kane is either in a heel or behind me waiting for instruction.

- Checking multiple weather sources and averaging them together paid off today!

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