| Moose at Clohsey Lake!
Emerald Peak (13,904) and Iowa Peak (13,831)
Rockdale TH (4WD parking at 10,800)
8.6 miles, 3,427 ft elevation gain
Jen, Matt, and Kevin
I posted a message Tuesday night for potential Wednesday hiking partners without the hope of much success. Matt (del_sur) just happened to be online writing a trip report and told me he and Kevin (Moonnugs) were planning something in the Sawatch. I started packing my things and left Boulder around 7:30 to meet them at the Missouri Gulch TH for a climb of Emerald and Iowa Peaks the next day.
Matt drove up the 4WD road to Rockdale since both Kevin and I have Subarus that wouldn't get along well with the stream crossing or the road thereafter. We parked about ˝ mile from the gate and hiked the short distance to Clohsey Lake, taking some time to check out the cabin that had burned to the ground. Beer, anyone?
Our first objective for the day was Emerald Peak via its South Slopes. We walked around the lake's northeast side and then headed south for 1.7 miles on a nice trail through the valley. The highlight of the day came early as we were approaching treeline – two moose crossed our path only 30 feet away!
Since the weather was looking perfect, we had some fun scrambling around on rock formations before reaching some mine buildings below Emerald's summit pitch at 13,000 feet.
Easy terrain above treeline
We worked our way up steep scree to 13,600 and then had an easy walk to the summit.
After a long break on Emerald's summit, we descended to the 13,340-foot saddle between Emerald and Iowa, and were met with beautiful flowers and views of the Apostles.
Looking back at the descent from Emerald
Looking forward to our ascent up Iowa
We watched a huge group on top of Missouri as we took another long break on Iowa's summit. The clouds looked as though they were starting to move in so the three of us started down the West Ridge of Iowa Peak. This ridge was straightforward with only one tricky step in the middle. Kevin climbing it directly while Matt and I descended slightly and found a way around on some ledges.
Looking down Iowa's West Ridge
From there we descended a bit of snow and then had a nice walk down through the basin between Missouri and Iowa. This was a gorgeous route with no one around and I highly recommend it!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):