Emerald Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Elk head pass
Posted On: 2021-01-29, By: blazintoes
Info: Late start afforded celebrity sighting of Will E. He's fast. Rode the gravy train after creek crossing to Missouri's upper East basin. From there solo over Elk Head Pass. Aware of clear and present avy danger and would not have continued had there been any. Needed any excuse to quit. Tired legs from prior day's effort. Annoying wind gusts all day that made summit unenjoyable but the sunset was fiery and the full moon spectacular. Long hard 20 mile day. Only used snowshoes all day. Meeting superstar Will put pep in my step. Thanks Will! Parked 2.3 miles before Missouri Gulch TH. 
14 3
Route: Emerald standard
Posted On: 2020-11-28, By: CaptCO
Info: Trench in. Snow gear advised 
5 2
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2020-10-28, By: CaptCO
Info: **Failed Attempt** due to icy road had to park 3.2mi below TH. Put in a trench to 12.4K on Elkhead Pass and made a safety call due to time. There is no trench toward Belford on the Elkhead split. Double check the turn after Elkhead, multiple options 
13 10
Route: Missouri, Iowa, Emerald loop
Posted On: 2020-10-19, By: Dan_Suitor
Info: Missouri, Iowa, Emerald loop returning via Iowa's west ridge's north gully. Mostly clear. All snow avoidable on Emerald. Snow avoidable in Iowa's west ridge's north gully. No traction needed. If the gully fills with more snow traction might be advisable. Fun not well publicized route. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2020-09-30, By: pmp6
Info: No snow on the route. Register is missing a writing instrument. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2020-07-25, By: graberz
Info: Emerald/Iowa/Missouri from Missouri Gulch, going up elk head pass and down Northwest Ridge of Missouri,. The trail was all summer condition. Visibility was terrible today, so you just kind of kept climbing until you got to the top and bouncing from edge of ridge to edge of ridge. I did see a really big herd of elk up at the lake below Iowa which was really cool. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-02, By: cdgibbons
Info: Two large snowfields, easily avoided. To avoid the snow, I followed the bench all the way to the saddle with Iowa and then climbed back using the climber's trail on the north face; could be that is the easiest route regardless. No other climbers; one goat near the summit who ran off the ridge when I approached. 
Route: North Slopes from Missouri Gulch TH
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: Bailey Tyson
Info: Route is 98% dry. A couple of small, low angled snowfields can easily be crossed without traction, or avoided entirely. Trail runners worked well for us. GPS showed 14.5 miles RT. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2020-06-15, By: cougar
Info: The snow from the Saturday night storm was gone. Dry from Missouri to Iowa to Emerald. Some snow patches getting to the basin and back to Elkhead Pass. Stay low and right and take the trail through snow, I was lured up the slope to the left which was nasty loose dirt, not tundra. Snowfields with not much tracks from Elkhead Pass to Missouri trail split. I also saw what looked like a black dog at the top of the pass, chasing marmots, but no people around. It ran off. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2020-06-14, By: dwoodward13
Info: Received 2-4 inches overnight above 12k or so. Most was melted on the way back. There are a few snow crossings that obscure the trail up to the pass somewhat, but I imagine if after the overnight snow melts it won't be too hard to see it on the far sides. Was a bit tricky in a few spots this morning. Otherwise pretty straight forward hike. Handful of snow crossings on the south side of the pass making your way toward the unnamed lakes, but none longer than 50 feet or so. You can bypass probably all of them if you want to add distance. For the descent off Iowa back to the pass, I'd probably bring an ax. Looks like some good glissade opportunities. Wind was absolutely ripping so I bailed on Iowa. 
Route: From Iowa
Posted On: 2020-05-31, By: angry
Info: From Iowa, dry to summit. Descended Emerald's standard route. Summit register needs pen/paper. 
Route: Missouri/Iowa/Emerald
Posted On: 2019-09-02, By: madmattd
Info: Headed up to the climber's left ridge ~200' above the Emerald-Iowa col and followed use trails along the ridge to the summit. 3rd person to summit on this day surprisingly! Descended from Iowa/Emerald col into Missouri Basin. There's plenty of ramps and shoulders to use, several options that all look to work fine depending on your destination. I was camped near the Elkhead Pass/Pine Creek junction so I cut across the open basin above the willows to pick up the Elkhead Pass Trail (waaaay east of the main drainage) for the final descent instead of playing in the willows. Most folks I suspect are day hiking and stay on the shoulder back to near the pass. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2019-07-21, By: WildWanderer
Info: Creek crossings in Missouri Gulch were annoying: just enough to get your feet wet if you didn't take off boots. Trail free from snow until junction for Missouri and Elkhead Pass, then some snow to pass but no traction needed in the morning. All snow avoidable to Emerald. Didn't use traction all day. 
Route: North Ridge from Pine Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-16, By: drop_bear
Info: There were three mandatory stream crossings from Pine Creek trail head to the basin below Elkhead Pass with wet conditions in the upper basin. East face/ridge was still holding a lot of snow, but I was able to head north and work my way west towards the lake at 12717. From the lake you can make your way up to the saddle with Iowa with only one small snow crossing. Saddle to summit has a few snowfields that can be avoided. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2019-05-19, By: WildWanderer
Info: From Missouri Gulch to Cabin varying conditions. There's a small avalanche that starts about .5 miles before the cabin, but don't let this keep you from hiking: there's a clear and easy to follow path (even in the dark). I didn't need traction until after the cabin, where I wore snowshoes until I hit Elkhead Pass. I made it to Elkhead Pass and switched to crampons. I tried several times to descend but was unsuccessful. With ice axe and crampons ascending was easy, but I couldn't comfortably descend. Someone with mad backcountry skiing skills could most likely ski down the pass: Climbing up doesn't seem to be a problem, but from my vantage point I couldn't see the bottom (wind and tons of snow obstructed my view) and the pass was covered in several inches of ice with 2 inches of snow on top. It was an awkward cornice and the wind limited visibility and kept causing me to hug the wall. Emerald looks doable if you can get down the pass. I decided to alter my plans due to the wind/conditions and summited Belford instead. I took some pictures of current conditions in between wind gusts. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2018-09-10, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Summer conditions all the way, zero snow etc. Emerald is a fantastic peak. The register in the summit canister is soaked and needs to be replaced should anyone feel motivated. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2018-06-24, By: CaptainSuburbia
Info: Summer conditions from Missouri Mountain to Iowa and Emerald. Some postholing through small snowfield on way to Elkhead pass trail. Image #1 Snowfield on Emerald Image #2 Climbing Emerald with Huron behind Image #3 Emerald from saddle Image #4 Iowa Image #5 Looking back to Missouri from Iowa Image #6 Ridge from Missouri to Iowa and Emerald 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2018-06-11, By: Scott Conro
Info: The route from Missouri Mountain is ready to go for summer! I didn't know the route on the way back to Elkhead Pass so I made it up. Lots of large snowfields around 13,000-13,300 below the peak on what I assume is the usual route from Elkhead. Edit: Looks like I intuitively took the route listed on the website. Zoom in on the photo and you'll see that route is clear enough to not have major issues, although post-holing in those snowfields around 13,000 is likely once it warms. Can be avoided if you want to take the couple extra minutes to get around them. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2017-07-17, By: Flyingfish
Info: Snow makes it hard to find the ramp up to the Emerald-Iowa saddle. Most of the large snow fields are easily avoidable. Be aware the slope up Emerald is exceptionally loose so pick your foot placements carefully. 
Route: Emerald/Iowa Combo
Posted On: 2016-10-22, By: JasonKline
Info: Mostly clear from Missouri Gulch up to junction for Elkhead Pass and Missouri. After that, the loop containing Missouri, Iowa, and Emerald over to Elkhead Pass had many spots with an inch or two of ice and snow. Microspikes would have been helpful on the slippery spots, but the spots were so intermittent that I didn't put on traction. 

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