Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Emerald Pk  -  13,904 feet
Iowa Pk  -  13,831 feet
Date Posted:  09/13/2011
Date Climbed:   09/11/2011
Author:  mikemalick
Additional Members:   specmiata37
 Missouri Mountain via Arcturus  

Start: 5:54 AM at Rockdale near cabins BEFORE the stream crossing
Gate near Clohesy Lake: 7:22 AM
Emerald Peak 13,904': 10:25 AM
Iowa Peak 13,831': 11:33 AM
Missouri Mountain 14,067': 12:12 PM
Depart Summit: 12:40 PM
Back at car: 3:35 PM
Total Time: 9 hours, 41 minutes
Total Distance: 13.83 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 4,772'

The best part of this whole outing had nothing to do with the hike. The best part was that there was NO traffic logjam on I-70 at Idaho Springs! A miracle. In fact traffic never slowed down below 60. There is a first for everything.

Parked at the Rockdale trailhead just after the cabins and before the first stream crossing.

Clohesy Lake. Several trails around here with nice camping spots

13er Mount Hope looking back down the valley towards Rockdale where we came from

13er Emerald Peak coming into view as we near the Continental Divide

Pear Lake as seen looking south from the Continental Divide. If you ask me (which you didn't), I think it looks more like a stomach

We came across the Three Little Pigs on the Divide. We asked for a spot of tea. They refused so we huffed, and we puffed and...well you can see what happened next. They used to have such a nice little place looking towards The Three Apostles.

Mike looking up the nasty, horrible, expletive-laden scree field we need to ascend for Emerald Peak. You can see a faint trail traversing to the left and then up. Do not go that way...far too annoying. I started up that way to about 1/4 the way up and then switched over to the right along the ledges. Yes, there is still scree there, but more talus and more sections held together with grasses making it far easier to ascend. I've read some reports where folks talk about descending this route and how it is better. Different strokes I suppose, but my rump is far too eager to reintroduce itself to the rocks with my feet going out from under me on tired legs. Mike and I agreed it was better (for us) to ascend this direction. Plus the north side descent off of Emerald is only slightly better.

The "stomach"...err...I mean Pear Lake from about 3/4 of the way up Emerald

Summit of Emerald Peak looking SSE to Silver King Lake and Twin Lakes

Summit of Emerald Peak looking easterly towards Mount Harvard and Columbia. We both agreed that Emerald Peak was literally in the middle of it all. Situated perfectly to see so much.

Nearing the Emerald/Iowa saddle looking north towards Iowa. This one was so much easier to hike up than Emerald

Off the summit of Iowa looking south back at the north side of Emerald which we descended. No obvious sustained trail that we noticed...just broken pieces here and there. There was a cairn near the bottom that seemed to direct you up the left half in the pic, but it didn't look all that much better.

Descending into the Missouri/Iowa saddle looking back down on Clohesy Lake

Since this was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I decided to take a flag up with me. Specmiata37 on the left and yours truly on the right with a backdrop of Harvard and Columbia.

There must have been a dozen folks at the top. Most were part of a CMC hike coming up the standard route from Missouri Gulch TH. It was pretty quiet on the summit and the CMC leader was concerned about the building clouds stating they shouldn't stick around too long. That all changed once the flag came out. Cameras started popping out left and right! Reminded me of my days walking the Paris runways, well except that I never did that before. I did, however, walk out on an airport tarmac once. Does that count? Everyone wanted their pic with the flag so it made the rounds to everyone. Rather than getting off the summit quickly, the CMC group ended up sticking around for about 30 minutes. Here is a little video from the summit:

From Missouri Mountain summit looking back to Emerald and Iowa peaks

Summit of Missouri Mountain looking toward a good chunk of our upcoming descent route. We followed the high ridgeline out to pt 13,930 and then followed the West Ridge route down.

The unpleasant messiness coming down the initial steeper section of pt 13,930

Looking down the West Ridge route from same point as pic above

Further down the ridge looking back up with the ridgeline off to the right heading towards Missouri's summit

Well down the route now

Clohesy Lake coming into view again

A section of the 4WD road just before reaching the gate. Only saw two vehicles at the gate when we came through in the morning...a Land Rover and one other SUV.

A parking area before you get to the gate. There were far more vehicles parked here than at the gate. Most were vehicles like Xterras, Jeeps, etc, but I even saw one Ford Escape.

One of the early fun sections on the 4WD road

A few shots showing the stream crossing area:




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Doctor No

Good report!
09/13/2011 20:23
I like the pictures - very easy to see what's going on.

This one is on my list for either later in the month or next year.


Great pics
09/13/2011 20:58
Thanks for all the shots of the road, I was planning to hit this sometime soon and was curious how gnarly it was...


Great day
09/13/2011 21:23
Good hiking with you Mike. Fantastic day in the mountains.


09/14/2011 02:07
Good job! We drove our ATV up to the gate on Sept. 4th, then hiked backwards from what you did. I couldn't imagine going Emerald first, but as you said, different strokes!

The views are definitely amazing on all 3 of these peaks and we spent quite a bit of time on them soaking in the beauty. Hitting Iowa and Emerald is definitely a must-do if you're headed to Missouri!


i know its a stretch...
09/30/2011 20:55
but do you think an Outback would get across the creeks?


Your Outback
10/02/2011 02:17
Hey CinciKid. I think your Outback had a couple inches more clearance than my Ford Escape so I would say you should be able to get across the least the level it was at back on 9/11. I didn't take mine across since it was still dark and I wasn't sure what to expect. In fact I saw a Ford Escape at the parking area I mentioned in Image #22 ”A parking area before you get to the gate. There were far more vehicles parked here than at the gate. Most were vehicles like Xterras, Jeeps, etc, but I even saw one Ford Escape”. I think those few ”rough” spots in the road that I captured in a few of the pics will be more troublesome than the creek. Good luck!

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