"Reconnoiter Peak" is a funky summit near Mount Sneffels that falls short of the 13,000 foot mark by a mere 20 feet. I've had it on my "peaks worth climbing" list for years now. There are no useful trails in the area and any ascent requires mostly off trail hiking (and likely nasty bushwhacking). The mountain is comprised of crumbly rock and scree, making a spring ascent on snow seem like an attractive option. I'd never heard of anyone climbing it in anything but dry conditions and was very curious about the possibilities.

Expecting a bit of a tussle below treeline, a 3:45am start was as late as we dared. Not surprisingly, the approach was an excercise in patience at times; the snow had not frozen down low and mashed potatoes over deadfall is a surefire recipe for profanity. Life became orders of magnitude better when we eventually dropped down into Beaver Creek and followed it directly. On the return trip we stayed in the creek most of the way out and although it was tedious and required hopping over the small stream zillions of times it was better than what we'd subjected ourselves to on the way in.

It turns out that the area below the Ridgway/Reconnoiter saddle is overloaded with couloirs. We had our pick of four; all looked moderate. The one we chose to ascend was in fact one that couldn't even be seen from a distance. It didn't look like the steepest, but it had a lot of cool hoodoos and seemed like the best compromise between quality and proximity to our intended summit. It topped out just south of the Ridgway/Reconnoiter saddle. On the return we instead descended the couloir under the saddle proper which was less scenic but more direct.

Peaks Climbed: "Reconnoiter Peak" (12,980')

Location: San Juan Mountains, Colorado Trailhead: 9,250 ft on the Miller Mesa Rd (FS 852)

Difficulty: Class 2, Moderate Snow Mileage & Gain: 10 mi, 4200 ft

Date Climbed: 5/29/2016

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