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The Granodiorite Traverse


An incredibly challenging ski mountaineering route to summit and ski 4 remote peaks above 13,000' in the Capitol-Snowmass Massif

Ski Touring Extreme

45 km
3.4 km
3.4 km
1 day +
Low Point
2.5 km
High Point
4.3 km
The Granodiorite Traverse Map

A magnificent ski mountaineering adventure that fully immerses you into the beauty and challenges of the honed, granite mountains within the Elk Range.


This route begins with a challenging approach from the old mining town of Marble. To complete this route in its full magnificence, start just outside Marble on your bicycle. Proceed approximately 7 miles on the rugged jeep road past Crystal to the Geneva Lake trailhead.

From here, follow the summer trail towards Geneva Lake, either hiking or skinning depending on the snow conditions you find. Once you reach Geneva Lake, proceed Northwest up the drainage towards Siberia Lake. From here, you will have an amazing view of the first objective of the day: the East Face of Siberia Peak. Siberia is a gem due to the fact that its summit offers the best views of the Capitol-Snowmass Massif and that it provides a few challenging climbing moves and some steep turns.

After skiing Siberia, continue onward towards the summit of Hagerman Peak to ski the South Face. At the top of Hagerman, you’ll be able to scope out the final line of the day: Snowmass Mountain’s south couloir. Admire the pointedness of the peak from this direction and take careful note about the exit.

Arguably the most challenging summit and ski of the day is the third: Snowmass Peak (the 13er). Ascend the South Couloir and determine the best route of approach to the Summit of Snowmass Peak. The Knife Ridge to the east is quite challenging and exposed: this was the route I opted for.

From the summit of Snowmass Peak, descend a short steep section on the North Face, then continue left into the north couloir which should have some lovely snow if you plan the day with good conditions. After Snowmass Peak, you will be in the basin beneath Snowmass Mountain (the 14er). To complete the traverse and return to Geneva Lake, ascend the northeast face to the ridge which will take you to the summit. The south couloir is an unconventional descent off Snowmass due to its exposure at the bottom of the line. Carefully navigate down to the lowest cliff band and make a few tip-toeing steps to skier's left which will lead you into the final and wonderful wide-open turns of the day.

This is a traverse that requires serious technical and endurance capacities in the mountains. Only attempt with significant experience.



Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between April and May


  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons