Mountaineering – Mt. Hope (13,933 ft) via Hopeful Couloir and Quail Mountain

Success on Mt. Hope
Summit Shot on Mt. Hope

Hopeful Couloir on Mt. Hope
Hopeful Couloir, our destination!

Summit Register on Quail Mountain
Happy Father’s Day to Dad…My summit registry entry on Top of Quail Mountain

Mt Hope from Quail Mountain
Hope Mountain from Near Summit of Quail Mountain

On Father’s Day, Fred and I set off to climb the Hopeful Couloir on Mt. Hope. It was on my list of desired snow climbs and I was happy Fred was there to join me. While we were out bagging peaks, Dennis was somewhere on the Colorado trail and tooling around Twin Lakes on his mountain bike. It was neat to be up high and wondering where he was over the course of our day.

Our Schedule:
Depart Camp: 4:30am
Nearing Treeline in Sheep Gulch: 5:30am
Hope Pass: 6:30am
Descent to 12,100 ft and donning crampons: 7:10am
Base of Hopeful Couloir: 7:40am
Top of Hopeful Couloir: 9:25am
Top of Mt. Hope: 9:50am
Descending Mt. Hope: 10:15am
Hope Pass: 11:30am
Quail Mountain Summit: 12:30pm
Back to Camp: 2:30pm

Missouri From Sheep Gulch
Missouri from Sheep Gulch taken at 5:30am! The trail ascending Sheep Gulch is steep, but it is in very good condition. We started by the light of a full moon and it was amazing to see the transition of lighting as we ascended.

Oxford, Missouri, and Huron from Sheep Gulch
About one hour later, we were treated to this beautiful view of Oxford, Missouri, and Huron. The Apostles are behind and to the left of Huron. I have yet to climb these 14’ers, so I felt like I was staring into the future.

Mt. Hope from Sheep Gulch
Mt. Hope, taken from the same spot as the last picture. We studied the side of Mt. Hope, looking for evidence of wet slab avalanche, but it looked clean. The night before had reached well below freezing, and the trail was crusted with bits of ice, so we thought it would be a great day for climbing!

Quail Mountain from Sheep Gulch
Quail Mountain from near Hope Pass. Note how devoid the slope is of snow! I was dubious about the enjoyment factor of climbing Quail; but since it’s so convenient, why not!

Fred Dodging Rocks on Approach to Hopeful Couloir
Fred getting ready to climb Hopeful Couloir. The area under this reddish crag is very dangerous. There were rocks whizzing down as we were standing here. Definitely do not linger in this area…go as fast as you can to the base of the climb!

Hopeful Couloir
Base of Hopeful Couloir. So full of Snow and it’s mid June!

Starting Hopeful Couloir
Couldn’t help myself.

Hopeful Couloir - It's Snot That Hard
Neither could Fred.

The First Half of Hopeful Couloir
Looking down on the first half of the climb. It’s really super gentle.

The Second Half of Hopeful Couloir
Looking up at the second half of the climb. Here’s where it starts to be more fun!

Fred Finishing Hopeful Couloir
Fred climbing out of Hopeful Couloir. We took the direct exit. It was super. I’m glad I let Fred talk me into it. I was a little nervous about it and excited to be leading us through the steeper section. I kicked steps for the last 75 feet, making sure to make the steps really good. I guess my crampons have two more points than Fred’s, so it made sense for me to go first.

Cornices on Mt. Hope
A side shot of the top of Hopeful Couloir. Here, you can see how the angle steepens.

Hopeful Couloir and Twin Lakes
Looking down on the whole route.

Huron and The Apostles From Mt. Hope
Looking over to Huron and the Apostles, from our top out of Hopeful Couloir on Mt. Hope.

Quail Mountain and Oxford From Hope
Fred Topping Out on Hopeful Couloir. Quail Mountain, Oxford, and Belford are in the background. When we crested the ridge, suddenly, we were confronted by a gusty breeze.

Horizontal on Mt. Hope
When Fred rests, he really rests! I’m not just talking about sitting down…as you see here, he’s really stylin the lowrider position.

On Summit of Mt. Hope
Thumbs Up and Tongue Out!

Descent on Mt. Hope
Our descent from Mt. Hope involved going down this steep snow slope. From the top, the glissade was scary looking…so we decided to plunge step it. Fred went first and I followed. About halfway down, the snow softened and I probably should have glissaded but I was too lazy to stop and futz with crampons.

Quail Mountain - On Descent of Mt. Hope
Looking down from the same spot as the prior picture. Fred is the dot way down below. He’s way faster than I am going down hill.

Foot Dangle on Quail Mountain
From the edge of Quail Mountain, I got this super awesome foot dangle shot. You can see Sheep Gulch and the camping site on the road, way down below!

Missouri, Huron, and the Apostles from Quail Mtn
View of Missouri, Huron, and Apostles from Quail Mountain. Whoa, how pretty is that?

Quail Mountain Summit
Psyched to be on the summit of Quail. I was feeling really tired down at Hope Pass and with the gusty wind, was about to bail on Quail. At first I thought about dropping my pack at the pass, to make it easier to run up there…but then I decided to just do it. It took me and hour to climb Quail, way longer than I wanted, but eventually I made it to the summit. I’m happy I did, because the view from there is amazing. Quail is in a fantastic position.

After Quail, we bombed back down Sheep Gulch. When we got back to camp, Dennis was waiting. He had a nice ride, but had a couple of gnarly wipe-outs. Thankfully, nothing broken, just some abrasions and one really awful looking bruise. In any event, I was happy to see him.

We drove back to Denver, stopping at The DAM Brewery in Dillon, for a late lunch and some brews.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.