Start: 5:54 AM at Rockdale near cabins BEFORE the stream crossing
Gate near Clohesy Lake: 7:22 AM
Emerald Peak 13,904': 10:25 AM
Iowa Peak 13,831': 11:33 AM
Missouri Mountain 14,067': 12:12 PM
Depart Summit: 12:40 PM
Back at car: 3:35 PM
Total Time: 9 hours, 41 minutes
Total Distance: 13.83 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 4,772'
The best part of this whole outing had nothing to do with the hike. The best part was that there was NO traffic logjam on I-70 at Idaho Springs! A miracle. In fact traffic never slowed down below 60. There is a first for everything.
Parked at the Rockdale trailhead just after the cabins and before the first stream crossing.
Clohesy Lake. Several trails around here with nice camping spots
13er Mount Hope looking back down the valley towards Rockdale where we came from
13er Emerald Peak coming into view as we near the Continental Divide
Pear Lake as seen looking south from the Continental Divide. If you ask me (which you didn’t), I think it looks more like a stomach
We came across the Three Little Pigs on the Divide. We asked for a spot of tea. They refused so we huffed, and we puffed and…well you can see what happened next. They used to have such a nice little place looking towards The Three Apostles.
Mike looking up the nasty, horrible, expletive-laden scree field we need to ascend for Emerald Peak. You can see a faint trail traversing to the left and then up. Do not go that way…far too annoying. I started up that way to about 1/4 the way up and then switched over to the right along the ledges. Yes, there is still scree there, but more talus and more sections held together with grasses making it far easier to ascend. I’ve read some reports where folks talk about descending this route and how it is better. Different strokes I suppose, but my rump is far too eager to reintroduce itself to the rocks with my feet going out from under me on tired legs. Mike and I agreed it was better (for us) to ascend this direction. Plus the north side descent off of Emerald is only slightly better.
The “stomach”…err…I mean Pear Lake from about 3/4 of the way up Emerald
Summit of Emerald Peak looking SSE to Silver King Lake and Twin Lakes
Summit of Emerald Peak looking easterly towards Mount Harvard and Columbia. We both agreed that Emerald Peak was literally in the middle of it all. Situated perfectly to see so much.
Nearing the Emerald/Iowa saddle looking north towards Iowa. This one was so much easier to hike up than Emerald
Off the summit of Iowa looking south back at the north side of Emerald which we descended. No obvious sustained trail that we noticed…just broken pieces here and there. There was a cairn near the bottom that seemed to direct you up the left half in the pic, but it didn’t look all that much better.
Descending into the Missouri/Iowa saddle looking back down on Clohesy Lake
Since this was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I decided to take a flag up with me. Specmiata37 on the left and yours truly on the right with a backdrop of Harvard and Columbia.
There must have been a dozen folks at the top. Most were part of a CMC hike coming up the standard route from Missouri Gulch TH. It was pretty quiet on the summit and the CMC leader was concerned about the building clouds stating they shouldn’t stick around too long. That all changed once the flag came out. Cameras started popping out left and right! Reminded me of my days walking the Paris runways, well except that I never did that before. I did, however, walk out on an airport tarmac once. Does that count? Everyone wanted their pic with the flag so it made the rounds to everyone. Rather than getting off the summit quickly, the CMC group ended up sticking around for about 30 minutes. Here is a little video from the summit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HrEmZb9MbA
From Missouri Mountain summit looking back to Emerald and Iowa peaks
Summit of Missouri Mountain looking toward a good chunk of our upcoming descent route. We followed the high ridgeline out to pt 13,930 and then followed the West Ridge route down.
The unpleasant messiness coming down the initial steeper section of pt 13,930
Looking down the West Ridge route from same point as pic above
Further down the ridge looking back up with the ridgeline off to the right heading towards Missouri’s summit
Well down the route now
Clohesy Lake coming into view again
A section of the 4WD road just before reaching the gate. Only saw two vehicles at the gate when we came through in the morning…a Land Rover and one other SUV.
A parking area before you get to the gate. There were far more vehicles parked here than at the gate. Most were vehicles like Xterras, Jeeps, etc, but I even saw one Ford Escape.
One of the early fun sections on the 4WD road
A few shots showing the stream crossing area: