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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Mount Hope

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

July 16, 2023

Mount Hope A | 13,933 feet

9 miles; 4200 feet elevation gain

Total time: 6 hours 50 minutes


I will start by saying, this hike is absolutely not for the faint of heart but the pay off is worth the hard work. We spent the night camping nearby, off county road 390, which has an abundance of dispersed campsites. There is no remaining snow on the route at this time other than the couloirs below the ridge. We started the day around 5:30am from Sheep Gulch Trailhead. The elevation gain kicks in immediately and you climb about 1000 feet per mile right off the bat. The first mile is in the trees, lined with aspen trees. There are 3 small creek crossings before you exit the trees. Once you exit the trees you climb very well maintained switchbacks through the tundra to the saddle between Mount Hope and Quail Mountain, which is the top of Hope Pass. This part of the trail is part of the Colorado Trail so it is fairly heavily trafficked with through hikers. You reach the top of Hope Pass around 2.5 miles and after that the route becomes much more challenging and involves route finding and scrambling, however we only saw a few other groups doing this route on a Sunday in July so you will absolutely find solitude up here.


From the saddle you head to your left, up the ridge. There is on and off a faint trail to follow but the route is fairly clear up the ridge crest until the final push to the crux of the route. I highly recommend downloading the .gpx file from 14ers.com and saving all the route photos as a guide. Around 13,400 feet you reach the crux of the route where there is about 300 feet of scrambling and route finding. There are multiple routes to get up this section that range from difficult class 2 to class 3. We likely did a combination of both, based on my judgement, staying slightly to the left of the ridge crest but not completely in the loose gullies. Once you reach the top of Hopeful Coulier you are on the false summit but you have completed the hardest part of the route. You then cross the tundra to reach the summit. We had the summit to ourselves for about 30 minutes. For people who love summit registers as much as me, there is one for you to sign. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and the 360 degree views are incredible. I love this area because of all the peaks you can admire!!


Don't let your guard down yet because getting down was just as exhausting as going up. It is a find your own route descent, we mainly came down the gullies but talus hopped on bigger rocks as much as possible. Once you get back to 13,400 feet you are back to following the faint trail along the ridge back to the saddle. From there it an easy descent back to the car.


I did bring Nyx on this route but I wouldn't label it is dog-friendly per say. We saw one other dog on the route this day that couldn't make it to the summit and was then scared to descend the loose rock. There was also a dog rescue by SAR last week on this route. Nyx handled it very well but she is very agile and confident on this kind of terrain. She required help on a few moves on the final ascent, where a harness with a handle was a must. She struggled more the descent with the loose rock but was very cautious about waiting for my guidance. If you are hiking with your dog be aware of other people below you and yourself if you descend first because there is a lot of rock fall potential.


Overall this route was absolutely stunning and provided the incredible solitude in the Sawatch Range, even on a busy July weekend. But, this route was challenging all around. Confidence in route finding and scrambling is a must for this mountain. There is no clear trail for the final 500 feet of ascent. If you stick to the ridgeline you will encounter more difficult class climbing and if you stick to the left you will encounter lots of loose rock. There are many points where you need to use both feet and both hands to safely ascend and descend. The views from the summit were absolutely worth the effort but the mental and physical effort required was high.


Hike Details:

Trailhead: accessible in any car; rough gravel road to access trailhead.

Camping: dispersed camping along CR 390.

Fees & Reservations: none.

Bathrooms: no bathrooms at the trailhead.

Trash: no garbage at the trailhead.

Dog-friendly: see above, this is a challenging route for dogs.

Recent Conditions: see 14ers.com peak conditions.

Forecast: mountain-forecast.com (nearest peak forecast).



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dtcaviness
Jul 20, 2023

Great information. Thank you!! I'm heading out to BV in a few days and Mount Hope is on my list.

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