Story Behind This Photo

I started hiking 14ers last year (24 ⛰ so far) and Mount Sneffels is one I attempted last year and not summited. At the time I didn’t know about 14ers website or the 14ers app, I just did basic info on some in the area I was going to be, mainly based on pictures I saw from other folks on Instagram. Then I hiked them.

So I was going to do overnight stay in Ouray on my way to Telluride and thought that coming up via Yankee Basin to hit Sneffels would be great the next day. I did not know that there’s such thing as V to climb through. So in early October of 2020 around 3am, never been to Yankee Basin, I left Ouray in Honda Pilot AWD to the trail head… I’m still amazed how far I made up the road… in complete darkness it doesn’t look that bad, haha.

I hiked up the standard route, criss-crossing all that nasty dirt and lose rock all the way up the final chute. Sun about to rise. I am looking around and do not see where I need to go up next. Drop to North West. Straight up wall to the left of it. Then this little opening a few feet up, and another drop back to the chute I just came up from. I looked at all potential next route choices and figured that the opening is the way you have to go. Mentally I was not expecting it and not ready to do it. I stared at V for good 15-20 minutes till another climber showed up. We talked about it. He was from east coast and it was his long time goal to make this summit. He mentioned that it was in route description, this V notch thingy. I was like, umm, yeah. Then another guy came up. We talked about it, we joked about it. Both of them made into it. I was still looking at it. I was at peace that I’m not going to summit it today, just a few feet away from the summit. Kind of weird calmness. Not my day. The first guy came back from the summit. I looked at V for a few more minutes, took this photo and started my descent back to the car.

I hope one day I’ll make it to the summit. I’ll sure share some photos. Stay safe out there.

4 thoughts on “Story Behind This Photo

  1. There are those who have hiked the 14ers, but for the vast majority of us, it is almost beyond imagination. You will make it some day.
    I am surprised, however, that the three of you this day were hiking alone. I thought climbers at least worked in pairs.

    1. Class 4 is good idea to hike in a group. Some Class 3 as well. Otherwise all Class 1, 2 and easier 3 are fine to be done solo. Of course standard safety protocols should be followed, ie if something happens to you, need to have some means of communication and survival for another 24-48 hours…

  2. Love your photos and plunk in the mountains. However, You reached that point where one debates your mortality vs your desire to push into the wild. I recently had this moment as well. Not as dramatic of a place but just as important. Here is my story.. a bit long but……hope you enjoy.

    I am a seeker of history and am obsessed by an area east of Seattle where coal mines reigned over 100 years ago. Many things to seek out in a landscape so changed. Mines buried and lost, rail sticking out of a hill, a river and blackberries obstructing access to the biggest mine remains, a lost cemetery, a lost ghost town and I could go on. Recently on my old maps I have seen an old road that has disappeared into history. It is close to where the one known person who is buried in that lost cemetery lived. A clue that could lead me to the lost graves?

    So, on my second visit to where I thought the road used to be I pushed myself a very steep hill along what used to be an old wagon road. That road does not exist really since it is covered in vegetation, trees and piles of fall leaves. I am now in a place no one ever goes anymore. Next the path fell away down a gravel slide and my only option to continue was to climb up a steep bank.

    Upon getting to the top of this hill’s crest and looking over the other side I could see my road perfectly persevered continuing onward just like the map indicated. What to do? Climb down to it and continue in my discover? Now I must confess I am a 68 year old woman. I was getting tired from my steep obstacle covered upward climb. I looked for a good way down. There were several where I could slide or find a way… but then I asked myself the important questions. Did I have it in me to get back up that hill and traverse the gravel slide plus the rest of the way back to my car without falling down a cliff?

    I decided like you I would turn around. Save the future find for another day. That to get home was more important than this historical find.

    So.. yes it is OK to say I can’t do it. That is actually the smart person in our heads saying go home now and thus be able to come back another day.

    FYI – still accumulating info for an article on my blog on this old road. But if you are interested in Cedar Mtn and my quest to find old coal mines go to

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