Ascent of Mt Sneffels and Wilson Peak, Colorado
July 4th, 1999
by Steve Bremner and Sam the Wolfdog
After climbing Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre on the 3rd, I proceeded south to Lake City, and the road to Sneffels. The hour was already getting late by the time I finally started up the steep dirt road to Yankee Boy Basin. The old '59 Chev had been running rough of late, and about 2 miles up the road it just refused to climb any higher. I pulled off as far as I could just as the lights went out.
With no suitable camp site nearby I simply lay my bag out beside the car and went to sleep. Around 1 A.M. the rain came and I ended up joining Sam in the car until I got my start on Sneffels around 5 A.M. the next morning.
Wearing only running shoes, the steep snow couloir was "interesting". I can't say that I would recommend it. An ice ax would provide added security.
Sam had his share of difficulties as well. For the notch, Greg went above while I passed him Sam's leash from below and pushed him up and through. There is some exposure there and I worried about how we would get him back down on the descent. It's more difficult to "push" a dog down even if you have a hold of his leash and chest harness. Sam the rock climbing wonder dog came through by "solving" the problem and dashing through the notch without assistance!
I ran up the five or more miles of road, reaching the trail head just after six. Once on the trail I settled into a quick walk. I was surprised as someone came up behind me, matching my pace.
The snow climb was simple enough even in running shoes, but the final summit pyramid was not easy for Sam. When it was time to descend he refused to go. He was determined to wait for the helicopter.
I had to bring him down a more difficult way than a person would normally take just to avoid some extreme exposure. With the leash and gentle persuasion we got him down. Another summit party chose to use ropes to protect their descent.
Once below the summit pyramid a long glissade dropped 1500 feet of elevation in 5 minutes. Wearing only running shorts, I paid for that moment of fun with rubbed raw buns for a week afterwards.