| Don‘t go back to Rockdale.....
So despite the bad weather on Saturday, Holy Schist and I wanted to attemp one more 14er before these mtns got a ton of snow and became snow climbs. Gatorchick and I have been pming and decided to get together for this one.
We left Denver around 5:30 and I 70 was hell- icy, icy, icy!!! We saw a turned over truck in the median, semis stopped chaining up, snow on Fremont pass, etc. After a slow drive we found ourselves at the trailhead of Rockdale at close to 8:15. We made it up the clear 4 wd road in our Bronco to the parking area around 8:40. And we started hiking by close to 9am. THe morning was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Not a cloud in the sky!
Starting out on the snowy trail
Beauty of the day
Holy Schist and I had been up this way before, but it had been a while. There is a trail up to Pear Lake, but a half mile into the trail is another trail, a turn off to go up Missouri‘s west side. Well, being a nonstandard route, we missed it, of course! And I should probably take responsibility for that. When I realized we went way passed Clossey lake, I said we had gone too far. So we turned around. And of course didn't have the trip route with us, from either Bill, nor Roach. We got back to the Lake after a 30 min route detour and found a trail going up. Instead of blindly taking it, Holy Schist decided to run the half mile back to the car and get the book. So the rest of us just hung out with the dogs and waited. We didn't mind since it was such a beautiful morning.
When HS returned we found out that it was the correct trail and we must have missed it since the ground was covered in snow. The trail takes you up through the trees on a steep slope and then to a creek which was filled with icicles.
Holy Schist and Jasper9890 climbing up the gully
We climbed up the steep gully filled with rocks and a decent trail and popped out under Missouri's West ridge. And then as gator chick calls it, we climbed slowly the grassy knoll of death!
Gatorchick coming up onto grassy slope
There is really no trail and it is a steep section of grass and small rocks. It truly was a pain in the ass! After an hour of climbing the "grassy knoll of death" the ridge becomes more interesting. You can find a trail that goes up over a hump of rocks or you can find some fun scrambling in those rocks to get you on top of the ridge.
Finding some fun scrambling
Walter taking one of many naps
Gatorchick and Jasper coming up the rocks below the ridge
The ridge has a distinct trail all the way to the summit. We ran across one section just below the summit that was only about 10ft long where you climb down on the west side of some towers. The dirt and rock is loose and the section is steep, we used caution on this part and found ourselves on the summit just a few minutes later.
It was 3pm and not a cloud in the sky still. We were the only ones to sign the summit register the whole day and we decided to bask in the glory of the weather and solitude! We were on the summit for about 30min and then headed back down.
Gatorchick, Jasper, Holy Schist, with Maddie and Walter on the ridge
Me and Walter on the ridge
We took our time and enjoyed the day! We arrived back at the car around 6:45pm.
Just a few notes on this route- it seems longer than 5.5 miles from the parking area, it is steep and remote. Make sure you are ready for a long day on this route despite the mileage supposedly being 5.5. It is not technical, but it is a bit strenuous. Pay attention to finding the trail to the east after about a half mile from the parking area.
Thanks Gatorchick, Jasper, and Maddie for joining us, it definitely wouldn't have been the same without you guys!!!!!!
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