Mount Hope - 13933' - East ridge Class 2
Stephan and I drove out to the Sheep Gulch Trailhead near Winfield to head up centennial Mount Hope via its east ridge. It was a beautiful clear day shortly after the near year while we were still on break from school. I was very shocked to see how little snow there was and the road to Winfield was almost completely bare. As we started hiking up the trail in Sheep Gulch we realized we didn't need snowshoes so we just left them in the car and hiked up the bare trail at first then once we turned into some more north facing slopes we began hiking on a few inches of snow. Only the area around treeline did it require us to post-hole at times to our waist. But this was short lived and at treeline everything became wind-blown clear of snow and we continued up the trail to Hope Pass where our first views to the north came. Twin Lakes was clearly visible below as well as many of the Sawatch 14ers including Mount Massive. To the south the whole way up to the pass we could see Missouri Mountain and Mount Belford. We started scrambling up the east ridge which did have some snow on it but with our spikes on it wasn't bad at all. Even though it was well below freezing out, the sun reflecting on the snow made it feel downright hot and I found myself seeking the breeze! We took our time ascending and near the summit we ran into more snow. We didn't want to stray too far off the ridge since it looked like it was loaded. The crux of the climb was a short section of third class scrambling covered in about a foot of snow. Once above that the true summit was a short walk over flat terrain. From the top we could see La Plata Peak and the Ellingwood Ridge perfectly. Mount Rinker also was in view slightly below. All the Missouri Gulch Peaks and Huron as well as the Apostles were in perfect view. However since it was very windy we didn't stay long and started down. We retraced our route down and the hike back down the trail to the car went very fast. We wanted to also climb Quail Peak but once back at Hope Pass we both decided it wasn't worth it.