Mount Sniktau is an easy Class 2 (barely - we're more inclined to call it Class 1 with just a little Class 2 thrown in), stroll from the summit of Loveland Pass, hence accessible by most any passenger vehicle. Sniktau combines easily with UN13,117 (Cupid) and Grizzly Peak for Front Range peakbaggers looking for an easy day that will have them back home well before dinner. The only down side is you'll be sharing the first portion of this hike with tourists from all over the country. Maybe save these summits for early summer before the tourists arrive, or fall, after they have all gone home.
Sniktau - South Ridge Route
RT From Loveland Pass:
Loveland Pass is on a paved road accessible to all passenger vehicles. From the Front Range, proceed west up I-70 and watch for the Loveland Pass exit just before the final climb to Eisenhower Tunnel. The road is the old US Highway 6. The exit is on the north side of the interstate, then crosses under the interstate, heads west to the entrance for the Loveland Ski area, then makes a wide turn to the left to begin the climb to the pass.
If coming from the west on I-70, there are two ways to reach the pass. Option 1: Drive east on through the Eisenhower Tunnels. Very shortly after exiting the tunnel, there will be an exit on the right for US Highway 6 to Loveland Pass. Take the exit which will bring you to a stop. Make a right onto US 6 and head for the pass. Option 2: Take the main exit off I-70 for Silverthorne and proceed east toward Keystone on US 6, which is also designated "Blue River Parkway." Just follow the highway through all the development past the shores of Dillon Reservoir, then Keystone, then gain elevation up to A-Basin and begin the final pull to the pass with a big, wide curve first to the right, then to the left and a switchback to the right.
Parking at the summit of Loveland Pass can be an issue since this is a favorite stop for summer tourists. We suggest driving south from the pass a short distance and taking a short road on the right to Pass Lake. Fewer people know of or stop here and there is usually some parking available. Then you will need to walk back up to the pass to begin the routes.
There is no close by designated campground, but you may be able to get away with overnight parking at "Pass Lake," just south of Loveland Pass. Otherwise, finding a place to camp anywhere close with all the development around Silverthorne & Keystone is not likely. With the close proximity to the Front Range, camping will not be an issue for most. It's much more of an issue for those travelling from the western slope.
Pass Lake ›
N 39° 39' 18.45", W 105° 52' 41.21"
Route Info Sniktau - South Ridge
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Year Climbed: 2000
From the summit of Loveland Pass, walk uphill to the NE along the very well-used trail that leads up to Pt. 12,915. Most of the tourists will not continue on beyond that point and many will give up even sooner, not being accustomed to the altitude and typically cool winds. The wide path carved through the tundra is braided at times. Do what you can to minimize further damage. The elevation gain to Pt. 12,915 will be 925 feet.
From Pt. 12,915 walk north following more trail as it passes through the tundra to the Sniktau false summit of 13,152 ft, gaining another couple hundred feet after losing about 100 feet. From the false summit, continue another .4 mile to the Sniktau summit over what continues as mostly tundra terrain until the final 200 feet of gain to the summit. This last section becomes rockier, but still has well-defined trail.
Summit view: You can peruse from a distance the Citadel to the NNW, Hagar and Pettingell; Bard and Parnassus to the NNE, and to the east and southeast, Grays, Torreys, Grizzly and Kelso, and the less-visited Kearney and Grizzly Gulches. Then of course, there's the ever-busy I-70 far below.
Return as you came for a 1.5 hour roundtrip hike, or at Pt. 12,915, continue hiking SE toward Cupid and Grizzly.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
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