Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  10/02/2007
Modified:  10/03/2007
Date Climbed:   09/30/2007
Author:  gatorchick

 Fun on Misery Mountain (west ridge/clohesy lake)  

14ergirl and I had been talking about getting together for a hike for a while, so when she and hubby HolySchist invited the fiancé (jasper9890) and I to do Missouri this weekend, we jumped at the chance!

14ergirl and HolySchist picked us up early (well, technically they picked us up LATE ;)) the Sunday morning and we headed for the mountains. I was so excited that I hardly noticed just how nasty the roads were. I-70 and Fremont Pass were snowy and icy and we saw several accidents en route to Leadville. I don't think any of us thought we would actually make it up the 4wd road to the TH. But with HolySchist's expert off-road driving (and my ability to resist the urge to puke from motion sickness ;)) we easily made it to the TH.

Our dog Maddie and 14ergirl and HolySchist's dog Walter ready to go!

We finally hit the trail around 9.

Despite the reports of the nasty weather from the previous day we had GORGEOUS weather! The combination of the mountains with the bright blue sky and snow set the stage for the day perfectly.

We were a little ways down the trail past Clohesy Lake when we realized we missed our turn. We backtracked a bit until we found the correct trail. The detour (and the standing around talking about which way we were supposed to go ... and waiting while HolySchist ran back to the car to grab the forgotten route description) cost us some time, but it also gave us a chance to get some great pictures!

jasper9890 in front of Huron(?)

The trail we were supposed to take cuts up to the left from Clohesy Lake and then turns right toward the gully and climbs up above treeline. This part was fun and easy (at least going up).

HolySchist, jasper9890 and 14ergirl on the trail

Eventually we emerged from the trees and followed the trail up to the base of what we not so lovingly referred to as the "Grassy Knoll of Death" (GKoD). I read in one report that the GKoD rises 1,500 feet in about ¾ of a mile. I'm not sure if that's right or not, all I know is that this sucker was steep and not especially fun. There was no trail going up the slope – you just had to pick your way up. It felt like it took forever!

HolySchist and WalterDog at the base of the GKoD

the group on the GKoD

me on the GKoD

When we were almost to the top of the slope we stopped for lunch. We couldn't believe how beautiful the day was! Still not a cloud in the sky.

Mountain Maddie hanging out at our lunch spot

We were finally nearing the end of the GKoD and beginning of the fun part!

jasper9890 with Missouri's west ridge in background

The scramble up to the ridge was really fun. This was only the second time (first was on Yale) that I've really gotten to do any scrambling, and I loved it! We finally made it up onto the ridge. Here is jasper9890 checking things out …

The ridge, for the most part, was pretty easy. There was one part that was a little tricky (14ergirl said it was a class2+/3 move) but we made it down that pretty easily. There were a few places where the trail sort of sloped down and there was some loose dirt. I am certainly not the most sure footed person in the world, and these parts made me a little nervous, but nothing too bad.

After what seemed like FOREVER we finally made the summit. Altho it was windy the weather was still absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Not a single cloud in the sky!

A bunch of summit shots …

jasper9890 and Mountain Maddie … their 4th 14er summit together

jasper9890 and I

14ergirl and I at the summit

14ergirl posted the whole group shot on her report, so I won't repost that …

After enjoying the view for another 30 minutes or so we finally started to head down. The trip back down was slow and uneventful. I am still ridiculously slow going downhill and the rest of the group was VERY patient with me, which I am very grateful for (thanks guys!)! The problem was compounded by the fact that I was re-breaking in some boots that I hadn't worn in a while and my toes were killing me with every step down!

After NINE HOURS on the trail (including a few wrong turns, a nice long lunch break, and 30 minutes at the summit) we finally arrived back at the car and cracked open a few beers to celebrate a day well spent! We got off the 4wd road just before dark, stopped in Leadville for pizza (High Mountain Pies in Leadville has the BEST pizza!!!) and made the long drive home.

All in all, this was a great trip. This was only my 5th 14er (4 of which have been done in the last month – have I mentioned that I'm addicted?) and its definitely the one that has stretched me the farthest. I have a bit of a fear of heights and tend to panic when I get sketched out. There was a little while right before the summit that I found myself starting to get nervous and I was able to control that feeling and not let it overtake me and I am very proud of that. I'm used to pushing myself physically – I love how climbing 14ers makes me push myself mentally. I realize that in the grand scheme of things Missouri is NOT a tough mountain … but it was the toughest I have faced so far.

As a general side note, the route description for this route says it is 5.5 miles. By the end of the day the gps read 8 miles - some of that was our numerous wrong turns - but I do think this route has to be more than 5.5 miles! Regardless, do not be fooled by the relatively short distance - this mountain was tough.

Also, this was our dog's 4th 14er and she did AMAZING. As I posted in the forum, we are still trying to figure out how to best keep her comfortable on the mountain. This time she went without a pack or booties and was still running circles around us at the end. She had no problems with her paws whatsoever. We made sure to give her more water and food on the trail this time, which may have played a role. She must have climbed that mountain three times over ... and still had energy to spare!

We had a GREAT time with our evil twins 14ergirl and HolySchist (and of course the WalterDog)! Thanks so much guys for a WONDERFUL day! ☺


 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
I already know it will get 5 stars!

Holy Schist

11/30/2010 17:28
Great title and report. Your mastery of the english language and choice of adjectives really made me relive every step, and my two falls. I also laughed so hard at Maddie's Myspace page that my cheeks still hurt. Can't wait to hike with you guys again soon.

Goodbye Sexy Friends


See knew it would
11/30/2010 17:28
get 5 stars! Great report, I had no idea you had any fear or anxiety before the summit. You are good at hiding it!
Stick with me, I remember that feeling, we'll get you over it and you'll be doing class 3 before long!


great TR
10/04/2007 18:38
great TR! With good company and good weather on your side, it sounds like you had an awesome hike!


10/05/2007 05:50
two stars, at best


10/05/2007 19:39
I met some guys coming up this route when I did the standard route up Missouri a little while ago. All I could see was the GKoD! I wondered what it would be like going up it, now I know.

The picture with the resting dogs is classic. I think I can see them smiling.


clothes for dogs
11/30/2010 17:28
I love Maddie's coat (vest?). Did you make it, or is it available off-the-shelf somewhere?
BTW, Missouri makes my short list for the hardest 14er in the Sawatch. Congrats.


thanks cftbq!
11/30/2010 17:28
... Missouri was tough! I'm glad I'm not the only person who felt that way!

Maddie's coat is a fidofleece - they have them at lots of small boutique kind of stores (at least around denver/boulder) and you can order them online. It wasn't cheap (I think we paid $40) for it but it has worked PERFECT and is holding up great.


Cool report
12/02/2007 04:30
Great pics, looks like it was fun!!!

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