This route is the best way to access the summit of Mount Emmons from the Kebler Pass winter closure (see below). In summer, it's nothing more than a nice hike, but in winter and spring there is usually a skin track from parking to the summit. This is probably the best way to access skiing in Red Lady Bowl and the other ways to descend Mount Emmons.
Mount Emmons is easy to access year-round. The trailhead is the winter closure site on the Kebler Pass Road (in both winter and summer). The parking area is almost always plowed. There is a large parking area with room for many cars. This winter closure is a very popular spot for snowmobiles making there way along the closed Kebler Pass road.
From downtown Crested Butte, take Elk Avenue (the main street) until it ends on the west side of town. Look for a sign for Kebler Pass. The sign will direct you left. Go two blocks, turn right on the Kebler Pass road, and follow the road for a mile or so until it dead ends into a winter closure. Park in one of the obvious parking areas, avoiding posted spots.
There are some restrictions in some of the parking spots for overnight parking.
From the parking area, hike or skin across the road to the lower opening of the Red Lady Bowl. Climb to your left up a fairly steep hill. If you're on skis, you should be in a skin track by now. Crest the hill and enter dense Aspens forests, following the general line of the Southeast Ridge.
Continue to follow the ridge to treeline. Shortly before treeline, the ridge steepens considerably, requiring you to switch back often if you're on skis. Exit onto the upper reaches of the Southeast Ridge above treeline and follow the remainder of the ridge to the summit. You should be able to skin the entire way to the top.
Round Trip Mileage: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 3200 feet
In summer, nothing more than good boots and standard hiking gear.
Winter and spring will require skis or snowshoes.