Follow the well-marked and well-travelled trail out of the parking lot for approximately 3 miles to Arapahoe Pass. Along the way you'll pass some old mining equipment, and the trail for the Arapahoe Glacier Trail. Continue east until you begin to pass Lake Dorothy on your left. There are great views of North and South Arapaho Peaks to the northwest, and Caribou Lake is visible to the north. Follow a very faint trail across the grass to the base of North Ridge, where the trail becomes slightly more pronounced.
Pick your way south along the ridge. We dropped slightly below the ridgeline to the east several times to avoid what looked to be harder-than-fourth-class moves. The crux is navigating a steep notch between Point 12,536 and Point 12,700 (two intermediate peaks on the ridge). The view of the notch while approaching was initially a little intimidating, but our concerns proved to be unfounded the closer we got. We approached the notch from the east side of the ridge, heading up grassy slopes. Once in the notch, the 20-30 foot crux wall presents itself, and is quickly overcome. Above the wall, we picked our way (along a faint trail) just below and west of the ridge proper for a few hundred feet. The remainder of the ridge to Neva is a pleasant grassy hike.
Descent: From the summit, it's probably easiest to simply reverse course and follow the ridge north back to the trail.
It might be possible to continue on to Jasper Peak, and back to the trailhead via its Northeast Ridge.
(We were concerned about the weather, and came down from the saddle between Neva and Jasper, to the two lakes visible from Neva's summit, and picked our way back north and east to the trail. This descent allows you to lose elevation quickly and get off the ridge, but is certainly more time consuming than simply following the North Ridge back.)
Perhaps some nuts or small/mid cams for the crux, if you decide to take a rope and gear.
Taking a break before heading up towards the crux.
BETA PHOTO: North Ridge (crux near the middle, summit on the l...
Austin coming up the last section of the North Rid...
|By Andy Herring|
Aug 6, 2003
The whole ridge goes direct at easy 5th class, the best way to avoid anything hard is to drop down to the west (the first notch is entered from the east though), where you'll find a cairned easy traverse on ledges, see Roaches guide. If continuing the ridge direct above the crux beware of losser rock. Combining with Jasper makes a classic hike ( or as one of my more hardcore aerobic friends pointed out to me run).
|By Charles Danforth|
From: L'ville, CO
Aug 20, 2003
We did this memorable traverse two weeks back (8-10-03) after a gorgeous hikeup to Lake Dorothy. The only really dangerous part of the traverse is the 4th(5th?) class chimney, but for that I "really" wished I had a rope. Lots of loose rock and plenty of exposure. After the chimney, stay west and skirt around Peak 12,700. There is definitely a very climbable face there! After summitting, we descended via the SW ridge and scrambled down an easy coloir; scree in the top half, snow in the bottom. Just steep enough to make the descent exciting. The nice pair of lakes below were rimmed with snow and gorgeous. Supposedly there is a trail from here which takes you across the valley and back to the 4th of July Mine and main trail. However, we found no such trail and ended up bushwhacking back through fen and fell. Gorgeous in all ways, but tedious.
|By Brendan Sheehan|
Sep 16, 2003
Did this a couple years ago. Don't remember exactly how close to the ridge I stayed, but I also found one 20-30 ft. class 4 wall that was fun and secure w/o rope. I descended from the summit basically straight towards Lake Dorothy on scree and then moderate snow...it was a bit awkward and loose but reasonable and quick.
|By shad O'Neel|
Sep 18, 2003
4th class, no harder. Brilliant Indian Peaks climbing for a short bit. Wished, as usual, that the rock pitch went on for much longer. The ridge as a whole is fun, classic knife edge, in parts. I didn't find any loose rock, no scary parts, and nothing I could imagine would be safer with a rope. I think its safer along the divide to go fast. I made a fun loop by running to Jasper Peak through the lush grass, and then decended the East Ridge which has some amazing permafrost features known as frost polygons. It was then a trivial walk out The Diamond Lake trail to the car. Amazingly, I encountered 0 people until within 0.5 miles of the car on the way back.....gotta love it.
|By Kent Lugbill|
Sep 19, 2003
I did a slightly different loop after climbing the North Ridge of Neva. I continued south on the divide about two hours of easy hiking to Devil's Thumb Pass and descended to the the trail to Jasper Lake. Below Jasper Lake about a mile is a marked trail which goes north to Diamond Lake and then back to the car. It took me about 10 hours, and I skirted below Jasper Peak. An energetic team could use this approach to climb Devil's Thumb.
|By Martin le Roux|
From: Superior, CO
Jul 26, 2004
This climb can also be accessed from Junco Lake trailhead on the west side of the divide.Follow the Caribou Pass trail for about 4 miles to the start of the Neva's north ridge. From the summit there's an easy descent down the northwest ridge to Columbine Lake. From Columbine Lake there's a good trail back down the valley.
Jul 12, 2009
I think the best description is Class 4 with Class 5 consequences if you climb all of the gendarmes. Never technically tough, but keeps you focused the entire way. The exposure is about the same as Pawnee Peak's East Ridge. Classic climb.
Best descent if it is still early enough is to glissade one of the couloirs or the slopes between Neva & Jasper.
|By Tony T.|
From: Denver, CO
Oct 3, 2012
Such a fun climb! Everything about it was quality! We might have climbed on more low 5th class terrain, but the rock is bomber, the holds are ample, and the views/exposure is fantastic!
|By Eliot Augusto|
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 9, 2014
Get an early alpine start, try and be at the Fourth of July trailhead by about 230 or so. You can make it to the first hump of the north ridge by sunrise and have a truly majestic view of the sunrise over the entire valley. Hands drown one of the best views of the Rockies.