Mt. Sneffels/Blue Lakes Trail
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Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
Mt. Sneffels/Blue Lakes Trail on 07/06/2012 07:46:08 MDT Print View

I posted this in the Pre-Trip forum, but it doesn't seem to have much traffic. Maybe this is better area to post?

So, my wife has surprised me and a friend with a trip to the Mt. Sneffels/Blue Lakes area. I am looking for suggestions. Here are the details:

Trip is August 4th (lasting 3-4 days)
Looking for a 1-2 nights at or around the Blue Lakes (love the pictures from the camping at the lower lake)
We are coming from 2000 ft. elevation, but regularly hike in the Smokies (6500')

What are some do's/don'ts for this area/elevation?
Bear Canister necessary?
Weather expectations for August 4th?

Anything you can for planning this trip is appreciated.

Jason

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Mt Sneffels on 07/06/2012 08:12:35 MDT Print View

We did a nearby trip last year. We had plenty of rain and lightning. We really had no bugs. We saw no bears but lots of goats; I was told bears are rare there. We slept right at tree line and hung our food, but I think it was mostly to keep it away from the goats rather than the bears. Keep anything salty, such as cork handles of poles, off the ground or they will get chewed up by marmots, etc. We had no special issues at all and had a great time.

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
kentucky? on 07/06/2012 08:46:44 MDT Print View

I see your from Kentucky, Tennessee here. Did you guys have any altitude issues at all? We will be there a couple days before the trip to acclimate some.

Jason

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Mt. Sneffels/Blue Lakes Trail on 07/06/2012 10:19:36 MDT Print View

I am from Kentucky and regularly get out to our shared Cumberland Plateau. We had no serious altitude problems other than a little decrease appetite. I went with my son to the Chicago basin and climbed a couple 14ers but slept right at tree line. We were well warned of the goats and smaller varmints that like to eat your gear. We had hail and thunderstorms. We had some strenuous climbs and spectacular views. Otherwise, it was pretty straight-forward backpacking. Check with someone there, but I don't think canisters are required anywhere in the area. With the fires, there may be stove restrictions; I would check up on that before going.

I went with another son to similar elevations, though, and he really struggled with altitude. We just went down as fast as we could. I think its really hard to tell whether you will have altitude issues. You just have to go find out. At worst, you can just change your route for some lower trips.

Have a great time!

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
thanks on 07/08/2012 16:02:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. I normally use an alcohol stove, but will switch to a canister for the trip. I read somewhere that canister stoves were the preferred choice right now with the fires and all. I will double check before leaving.

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
input on 07/12/2012 09:48:31 MDT Print View

Any other input or advice for the trip from some locals? Thanks again Ben for your advice

Mark Olah
(gorgar3141)

Locale: New Mexico
Mt. Sneffels/Blue Lakes Trail on 07/12/2012 18:03:49 MDT Print View

Early Aug. is fairly predictable weather in the southern Rockies. Calm clear mornings, and violent afternoon thunderstorms. It will thunderstorm in the afternoon, it's just a question of when. It could be 11:00am it could be 7:00pm, just depends on the day and the area, but the general rule of thumb is to plan to be back at treeline by noon. You've got to start _early_ and keep an eye on the clouds as they build. And don't plan to camp above treeline unless you're prepared to run for it in the night, when a rouge lighting storm comes through.

Bring whatever stove you want, my guess is that any fire restrictions will be rescinded by then if they aren't already. The summer monsoons have begun, and all the major forests in northern NM are dropping restrictions this week.

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
thanks on 07/12/2012 18:17:54 MDT Print View

We were planning on camping at the lower blue lake. Will that be far enough down for the weather in the afternoon?

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: thanks on 07/12/2012 18:33:04 MDT Print View

Hi Jason, my wife and I did a day hike to Lower Blue Lake while we were down there for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last month. There are some good campsites in the trees by the lake. You'll be fine. I'll add a couple of photos to this thread when I get a chance.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: thanks on 07/12/2012 21:21:56 MDT Print View

Yes, the lower Blue Lake is well sheltered by trees. I'm always there day hiking, but have often thought how nice it would be to backpack in and camp. From there you can hike up to Blue Lakes Pass or up Mt. Sneffles, or just make the shorter trip to the middle and upper Blue Lakes. The higher lakes are above treeline and lack shelter. I think you'll really like it. You may luck out and not get thundered on. We have had a few days without mountain showers recently, and they do occur in July and August--if you're lucky. I would bring my alcohol stove-- we are supposed to have a few monsoon days with showers in the mountains, and the extreme drought in the mountains is somewhat lessened, and most major fires (none in this area) are under control.

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
thanks on 07/13/2012 11:54:46 MDT Print View

Thank you for the replies. I look forward to the trip. I will post up some pics upon returning.

Jason

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
next week on 08/03/2012 09:33:59 MDT Print View

The trip is getting closer. Any issues with alcohol stoves in this area. Is there a fire restriction in the San Juans?

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: 40°N,-105°W-ish
Forest Service update for San Juans on 08/03/2012 10:20:57 MDT Print View

According to this update, you should be fine on BLM or National Forest Land, but it's worth calling the San Juan Public Lands Center - contact info below.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?aid=12386

FIRE RESTRICTIONS for BLM and National Forest Lands in Southwest Colorado

On Wednesday, August 1st, the San Juan National Forest will lift all fire restrictions for its public lands in southwestern Colorado. This means that fire restrictions for lower elevations, known as Zone 1 in Montezuma, DOLORES, La Plata and Archuleta counties, are now lifted. Previously, restrictions had been lifted in higher-elevation Zone 2 areas.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, the Bureau of Land Management will lift all fire restrictions on public lands within Delta, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Saguache and San Miguel Counties. Previously, fire restrictions were also rescinded on public lands within San Juan and Hinsdale Counties.

The Forest Service reminds the public to be safe with campfires:
• Always have a shovel and container of water on hand to contain the fire, if needed.
• Clear flammable debris away from the site.
• Be especially cautious on windy days.
• Take the time to make sure your fire is dead out. Pour water on it and stir ashes until coals are cool to the touch and there is no smoke.
“We thank everyone for their cooperation with our fire restrictions this season,” said Mark Stiles, San Juan National Forest Supervisor.
For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan

For more information, contact the San Juan Public Lands Center at 970 247-4874.
Updates for any current fires can be found on the News Page.

For burns on Private Lands - Residents in Fort Lewis Mesa, Durango Fire & Rescue and Upper Pine fire districts should call 385-2900 before burning. Residents in the southeast section of La Plata county and those in and around Ignacio should call 563-4401.

Jason Cravens
(packpack)

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
thanks on 08/03/2012 11:50:09 MDT Print View

thanks for the quick response

Jason