#18 Emerald Mountain 13,904 ft.

Date: May 24, 2013
Team: Dav, Ted, Christy, Scott Rinckenberger
Route: East Face

After skiing Ice Mountain and North Apostle, we decided to keep our RV camp on Clear Creek Road near Buena Vista for another night. We were parked right at the trailhead for Emerald Peak, 13,904 ft., another Colorado Centennial on our list, so we didn’t have much reason not to hit that next. From what we knew of Emerald it seemed like it would be a bit of a slog and didn’t offer any interesting ski lines that we knew of, so we schemed up a way to spice up the day. We’d throw a fourteener in the mix.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

We always try to walk the firm spring snow with skis and boots on our back as far as we can. Today we made it all the way to Elkhead Pass, 13,200 ft., before putting our skis on to descend the back side of the pass.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

Dropping in/off Elkhead Pass. Emerald is the rounded summit out to the left.

Emerald Mountain is just 1.3 miles south of the fourteener Missouri Mountain, so we figured rather than just climb over Elkhead Pass twice in a day, maybe we should head home via the summit of Missouri. Both peaks delivered. Emerald actually had a few adventurous couloirs to ski and being surrounded by fourteeners, offered incredible views in every direction. Missouri’s north couloirs were in perfect corn condition for our second ski of the day and reminded us of how much this Sawatch peak has to offer.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

On final approach to Emerald.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

The ridge to the summit shows a cool bowl dropping off the east (left) side.

Between the beautiful morning hike up in the valley and the epic spring skiing, we came back to the RV super-psyched to have checked Emerald off in style. Now we’re headed down to the Sangres to see what we’ll find.

Christy

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

Dav skis the east facing couloirs.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

From Emerald we realized we could head home via a ski descent of the North Face of Missouri Mountain. So rather than backtrack over Elkhead Pass again, that’s what we did. The route from Emerald up Missouri is marked in the photo.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

Atop Missouri, 14,067 ft., not a high 13er but a Centennial Peak none-the-less. For Scott, who lives in Washington state, it was the first Colorado 14er he’s climbed, although he’s now skied about seven high 13ers with us.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

It was corn o’clock– to use a Scott R. quote– on the north side of Missouri. The photo show the ribbons of snow that took us a good way back to the trailhead. Mount Belford stands tall in the background.

emerald mountain, centennial skiers

Dav was loving it. It’s been quite a good spring. From here we’re off to the Sangres.

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