Start at the Sheep Gulch trailhead (9,860 ft.) and go .2 mile to the Hope Pass Trail, which is also the Continental Divide Trail. Hike north up through beautiful aspen trees into Sheep Gulch. Continue 2.5 mile to Hope Pass (12’540 ft.). At Hope Pass, you get commanding views of Mt. Elbert and the Twin Lakes.
From the pass leave the trail and hike east .5 mile staying on the ridge crest to 13,400 ft. The ridge steepens considerably at this point. If you are looking for a crux, this would probably qualify. Traverse about 20 ft. to the left and pick your way up through the steep talus. This 150 ft. section is sustained class 2+ with maybe one or two minor class 3 moves. Your difficulties are over, continue up the talus to the summit. Hope is all yours.
When descending you have choices, you can backtrack or you can choose the Southeast Ridge Route, which I highly recommend and will further discuss. Descend the grassy slope down to the ridge for close to .5 mile, there will be no trail in this area. At some point you will need to drop down into the rocky basin below to the left, this will get you back to the Hope Pass Trail. Descend into the boulderfield and notice Mt. Hope’s south face above you. Continue the traverse until you intersect back to the familiar Hope Pass Trail and follow it down to your car. Ice your knees if you wish.
Be prepared for an overnight stay in worst case scenario. Bring plenty of food a water.
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