Mount Hope 13er Climb, Colorado
May 21, 2006
Author: Jan Studebaker
Photo Gallery: Jan
here to view
Trip Participants: Jeff
Click and Jan Studebaker
I meet Jeff Click on a
10th Mountain Hut cross country
in February. We hit it off right away, and ended up skiing together
everyday with our friend Kurt Short. Jeff came up with the idea of doing
some spring snow climbs, and invited me and Kurt to join him. Neither of
us could make Jeff's first ascent of Quandary Peak, but I was available for his
planned ascent of Mount Hope. Mount Hope is a gorgeous high thirteeneer
(13,933 feet) in the Sawatch Range near Leadville, Colorado.
Jeff toping out on Mount Hopes
We drove up to Leadville on May
20th and stayed at the Leadville Super 8. That evening, after
checking out the local sporting goods store, and a great prime rib
dinner at Quincy's, we readied our gear for a direct snow and ice
ascent on the classic "Hopeful Couloir". This is Hope's premier
mountaineering route on the rugged northeast face. Note: we
recommend Gerry Roach's "Colorado Thirteeners" as a great guide book for
this and other 13ers.
We got up at 4:00 am for a quick
cold breakfast in our room, then drove to the Sheep Gulch Trailhead
which we had found the day before. We started the steep 2.5 mile
hike to Hope Pass at 5:00 am. We hiked the 4,073 vertical feet to
Hope Pass (12,540') to gain our first view of our route that would start
340 vertical feet below us to the north. The view was breathtaking
and expansive from the pass.
After checking the conditions we
decided that we should have been camping at the base of the climb so
that we could be on the route by 4:00 am. The sun was already
quite warm, a large cornice loomed ominously over our route, the snow
was already softening, and there was some sign of very small avalanches.
We decided to climb the East Ridge "classic" route instead.
The 1400' route starts at Hope
Pass and goes directly up (due west) the obvious ridge to the top.
The relatively easy route was exciting at points, and required our ice
axes at places and a bit of 4th class climbing at the top (see photo
above) due to our desire to stay off the snow as much as possible.
After the obligatory summit photos
and lunch we decided not to backtrack the ridge route, but instead to
forge our own route down the most direct way to the car. The
direct south route was composed of some snow, a great deal of boulder
and talus hopping, and circumnavigation of several cliffs. We
noted often, as seen from our photo gallery, that we had made the
correct decision in abandoning our original objective.......avalanches were
prolific in the area. It turned out to be more difficult than we
expected, but it was definitely interesting! We arrived at the car
at about 4:00 pm, thus giving us an 11 hour climb. The total
vertical for the day was 8,146' counting up and down.......we felt it
We both agreed that this was an
exceptionally beautiful, and truly memorable climb. We saw only
one other person on our climb; another great reason to climb 13ers! Jeff hopes to
go back and try the couloir in the manner described above.......I'll
probably sleep in.
here to view
our Mount Hope Gallery.