June 20, 2013
~18.8 Miles, ~6,800 Gain
TH: Lower Rockdale (2WD ~2.5-3 hours from Denver)
Max difficulty: Class 3.
After the Apostles, I went to scout the river crossing at Rockdale and decided against crossing the river. This river crossing haunts me. Could it be crossed? Yes. 11 years ago, when I was young and dumb (that could still be argued), I got my Isuzu Rodeo stuck trying to cross this river at 11 PM trying to reach the lake. We crawled out of the windows to winch the car out as opening the doors would flood the car. I used a hand winch to winch my car out of the river off of a tiny 2 foot pine tree. That was in late May in a normal year. We did Belford and Oxford instead.
Still haunted, I decided to just park at the bottom and suck up the extra few miles and gain. I woke up at 4:45 AM, crossed the stream and started hiked up the 4X4 road at 5:00 AM which I happily hiked. I arrived at Clohesy Lake near dawn and found the decent trail heading south of the lake in the valley. Departing the decent trail at ~12,200, I headed for the east ridge of “Pear,” up a talus gully leading to a small headwall on a northern spur of the east ridge.
First view of “Pear”
Better view of “Pear”
Once I reached the spur in the ridge, I took a quick break and bypassed the first headwall on the east/left side of the ridge on some narrow ledges leading me to another notch. The crux of the day was climbing out of the notch up a chossy class 3 gully to another ledge system on the east side of the ridge. Since the rock quality was poor, I decided to remain on the ledge system on the east side of the ridge as I climbed upward. When the ridge when curved west, I climbed to the ridge crest where the rock was much more solid.
On the north spur of the east ridge on “Pear”
The first ledge system.
Looking down the class 3 choss crux from the notch.
Ledge system on the east side of the ridge.
Solid easy scrambling up “Pear's” east ridge led me to the summit where I arrived at 8:20 AM. Super fun ridge after the chossy start. I enjoyed the views and returned to my first headwall where I circumnavigated eastward in the basin above Pear Lake at ~12,600 aiming for the “Silver King”-Emerald saddle. Climbing the last 200 -300 feet to the saddle was on loose undesirable talus.
Good ridge heading west. “Pear's” east ridge.
Emerald from the summit of “Pear”
Huron Peak from “Pear”
Neat ice in late June?
Nasty talus climb to the Emerald-”Silver King” saddle.
From the saddle, I descended east down a talus gully to grassy terrain which led me to Silver King Lake. Glaring up at the talus field below “Silver King” wasn't appealing. I found the fairly well maintained trail south of the lake which ascended to “Silver King's” east ridge.
Climbing on the trail made the talus slog to “Silver King's” east ridge tolerable. Once I hit the ridge, I hopped on boulders to the top where I arrived at 10:50 AM. Good weather with a slight cool breeze. Emerald appeared far away.
Nearing “Silver King”
“Silver King” and Silver King Lake.
The class 2 east ridge on Silver King.
Harvard and Columbia from the summit “Silver King”
Returning to Silver King Lake, I hiked north at ~12,600 towards Emerald. Once I intercepted Emerald's poorly distinct east ridge, I decided to continue to circumnavigate to Emerald's north ridge. The rock quality just looked better. Once I reached Emerald's north ridge, the climbing was easy class 2 talus to the summit where I arrived at 1:00 PM.
Iowa and Missouri from the summit of Emerald.
I descended down Emerald's north ridge to the Emerald-Iowa saddle and then made the short grassy hike to Iowa's summit. Missouri looked close but I decided to save my Wheaties for the long hike back to my car. I descended down Iowa's class 2 north ridge to the Missouri-Iowa saddle and then scree-skied into the western basin between Iowa and Missouri.
A short talus hop and a grassy hike later, I found the Missouri west ridge trail which I took back to Clohesy Lake. Hiking down the 4X4 road kinda sucked but made me appreciate my Xterra. Hiking in the daylight, I found my little tree where I winched my car out of the river 11 years ago. It's not a little tree anymore! I returned back to my car at 3:30 PM and started my long drive to the San Juans.
Not a little tree anymore. 12 feet tall. I wonder why its bent???
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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