After having climbed Mt. Lindsey, Mt. Elbert/South Elbert, Quandary Peak, Castle and Conundrum Peaks during the previous 5 days of my 13 day trip (see part 1/Mt.Lindsey of my report)...
On day 6, I climbed 13,933' Mt. Hope, the prominent rounded peak just south of Twin Lakes, from the south up the steep Sheep Gulch using half of the Hope pass trail, which is part of the Leadville 100 course, then scrambled up the rough ridge to the broad summit.
It might be a 13er but the elevation gain is equal or better than many 14ers.
3 Apostles and Huron from Hope. Surrounded by many 14ers I spotted a big herd of mountain goats up the slopes during this 5 ½ hr. climb.
Mt. Elbert to the north.
I got down the southeast ridge and across the basin to later join the Pass trail at treeline.
I didn't see anyone else going for this summit that morning only ultrarunners training up and down the Pass.
Day 7 was a memorable one. Since Hwy 24 was still closed I drove north up Fremont Pass to I-70 then west to Minturn to climb the only Sawatch Range 14er still unchecked on my list, 14,005' Mt. of the Holy Cross in combination with 13,831' Holy Cross Ridge Peak.
I took the longer but more scenic approach to these craggy peaks by ascending via the Halo Ridge route;
Holy Cross Ridge and Holy Cross from the hut. a tedious and rough false summit ridden ridge around the Bowl of Tears. Progress was slow on the broken terrain going around acouple of gendarmes and two high points then through the catwalk and up Holy Cross Ridge's two summits then down again to 13,500 before reaching Holy Cross' summit.
Had great views across the Bowl of Tears and all around then descended via the normal Halfmoon Pass route; it was about 7 miles of rough talus before reaching more forgiving terrain below treeline.
First Half of the Halo Ridge.
This so called “Tour de Holy Cross” is one of the top 10 hikes in the country, with dramatic views of peaks and glacial lakes all around.
Almost 7 miles total of this terrain.
Bowl of Tears.
Holy Cross from Holy Cross Ridge's summit.It was a strenuous 14 mile long/9 ¼ hr. hike that left me satisfied but tired.
The hut across the Bowl where I started the Halo Ridge from Holy Cross.
Holy Cross Ridge from Holy Cross.
I used day 8 to recover and have family fun at the Glenwood Springs Adventure Park and the Hot Springs after leaving Leadville.
I drove from Georgetown to Guanella Pass on day 9, from where after a brief moose sighting, I reached the summit of 14,060' Mt. Bierdstadt and later 14,264' Mt. Evans via the infamous Sawtooth;
Summit of Bierdstadt.the steep and broken ridge that connects both peaks
Looking at Evans.where route finding and some class 4 moves are required
Engaging the Sawtooth.
The tricky part..
Evans after the Sawtooth. That took much longer than I thought. I saw people on Bierdstadt and of course up the east side of Evans but nobody else attemping the Sawtooth.
After previewing Longs Peak from Evans I descended via the steep gully, where two big horn sheep watched me from above, then navigated the sea of pesky willows and the long and nasty marshy basin before reaching the trailhead.
Summit of Evans. Hike time: 7 ½ h;, lenght: 11 miles.
We traveled north and through Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to Estes Park later that day.
...to be continued on Part 3
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