Peak(s):  Emerald Pk  -  13,904 feet
Iowa Pk  -  13,831 feet
Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  04/23/2018
Date Climbed:   01/18/2018
Author:  Dad Mike
 Sawatch Looper   

Emerald, Iowa and Missouri
Time...6am - 2pm
Distance...13.4 miles
Elevation Gain...5901 feet
Trailhead...Missouri Gulch
Route...Missouri Gulch Trail to Elkhead Pass...NE Ridge of Emerald...S Ridge of Iowa...S Ridge of Missouri...NW Ridge of Missouri on Descent

I think this is the best option for climbing Emerald and Iowa in winter. You have to go up and over Elkhead Pass and gain more elevation, but it is a little shorter and seemed like a safer option than the route from Rockdale. It also helps that the trail from the parking area to the Belford turnoff will most likely see some traffic as long as the road is driveable.

Early light on the Missouri Gulch Trail

From Elkhead Pass I tried to limit the elevation gain by side-hilling the SE slopes of Missouri, but soon gave up on that annoying option and dropped all the way down into the valley.

View of the route up Emerald from Elkhead Pass.

NE Ridge of Emerald

I made good time over to Iowa and decided to continue on the ridge to Missouri.

Looking back at Emerald and Iowa

Ice and North Apostle

B&B Cairns and Harvard from the summit of Missouri

Descent back into Missouri Gulch



Strava Map

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Safer route?
04/23/2018 19:22
There was an avalanche fatality on Elkhead Pass several years ago, so depending on conditions, this may not be a safer winter route.

Dad Mike
Good to know
04/24/2018 09:55
It is definitely steeper on the south side of the pass. Is that where the avy was?

Elkhead Pass avalanche
04/25/2018 20:47
I think it was on the south side. There was a group doing a trip where they went up Missouri Gulch, and then descended Pine Creek. I haven't looked at the CAIC website to see if they have accident reports going back that far.

You are right
04/27/2018 06:42
SE slopes are annoying and the east ridge is even scarier. Elkhead pass was a good choice for your conditions/abilities. Don't forget who we're talking about here Dave. MadDadMike. He's just a good ol' boy
Never meanin' no harm
Beats all you never saw...and missing his little buddy this time singing good ol' timey songs while we trudge our way to the top.
Hank and Waylon aren't so bad, see Mike can you hear the beats?

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