Snowdrift Peak

Snowdrift Peak
Flattop Mountain

Distance: 16.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 4750'
Time: 7.5 hours
Date: 9/11/2011

Snowdrift Peak has been my closest, unclimbed peak for over a year. I have been putting it off for a while because I wasn't too enthused about putting in nearly 17 miles for a single peak. I was happy when Wes Lloyd asked me if I wanted to give it a go this weekend. We met in Fort Collins at 5 am and made the easy drive to the Bear Lake Trailhead. Soon enough we were hiking on the Flattop Mountain Trail. As we broke treeline we experienced a very cold wind. The wind tapered off as we approached the summit area of Flattop. Since we had both summitted Flattop multiple times, we decided to tag the true summit of Flattop on the way back in case we got chased off by thunderstorms later in the day. We followed the Tonahutu Creek Trail around the north side of spot elevation 12277, then cut southwest to the Hallet Peak-Snowdrift Peak saddle finding large talus en route. It was a little strange dropping below treeline before reaching the summit of Snowdrift after being above treeline so long. We continued southwest to the east ridge of Snowdrift where we climbed the namesake snowdrift to the upper summit ridge. We were surprised to see that we were the 10th party to enter our names in the register this year. We descended our ascent route except we contoured to the east of spot elevation 12277. When we arrived back at the Flattop Mountain summit area we left the trail and climbed a couple of candidate boulders to ensure a successful repeat of Flattop Mountain. The fact that attaining the summit of Flattop requires climbing a boulder made us a bit confused by the Class 1 rating for Flattop Mountain on LoJ.

Looking northwest towards Nakai Peak & 12820, from left to right, from the Hallet Peak-Snowdrift Peak saddle. Photo: Wes Lloyd

Sprague Mountain & Stones Peak, from left to right, from Snowdrift Peak's northeast ridge. Photo: Wes Lloyd

Climbing Snowdrift Peak's namesake snowdrift. Photo: Wes Lloyd