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Imogene to Emma 8x13 T 

Imogene to Emma 8x13 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 16000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R [details]
FA: Joe Stiles
New Route: Yes
Season: Summer
Page Views: 424
Submitted By: Stiles on Nov 14, 2013

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Start at Imogene Pass and traverse the skyline to Mount Emma. Start with Chicago Peak (13,385'), and cross to Peak 13,343, Third Class.

Just north of Peak 13,343 is a ridgeline much like Saint Sophia that requires bypass on its north side on steep, loose Fourth Class terrain above Rock Lake. There is a real old mining spike in an unlikely saddle on the ridge, which is Badass to've placed. The ridgeline up to Peak 13,242 is also problematic and requires some meandering and steep loose climbing. Low fifth class.

The ridgeline widens considerably and it is a quick and very pleasant stroll over Peaks 13,369; 13,463 and 13,337 to Mendoza Peak (13,275'), Second Class.

Saint Sophia Ridge is untraversed in its entirety. This is obviously the crux of Section A. Climb around, over, and through the many spires along the ridge on exposed choss. Struggle to a point halfway along and the low spot in the ridge; there is a steep, skinny chimney on the right that can be downclimbed east to a scree shelf. Many of these exits exist along the way to the east. The whole of St Sophia Ridge can be bypassed via a scree shelf on the Governor Basin side. Traverse the scree shelf north and climb Mount Emma (13,581') via scree gullies. There is a large flat-topped buttress along the ridge to Emma from the southeast that can be walked around rather than climbed over, Fifth Class.

Eight thirteeners total. Continue on with Section B to Gilpin Peak or descend the West ridge of Emma to the Sneffels Highline Trail (fourth class). It is also possible to descend the Southwest ridge of Emma and climb Greenback Mountain (12,997'), and descend to town from there, Fourth Class.

Blocktop Mtn (beyond Gilpin) seems to be the crux and ceases progression towards Dallas. A natural and fun addition to these peaks is continuing over Gilpin (bypass major cliffband on left side) and climbing Sneffels along the ridge from Gilpin, which is very high quality. This should be the standard finish, on Sneffels.


A rope is not necessary. The soft, broken, chossy rock and length of the route dictate it so. When stymied by the dificulties on the ridge, circumnavigate to the north on steep, exposed scree.


Hiking up Tomboy Road from Telluride adds significant mileage and vert to the day but adds maximum style points. It's on a 4x4 road, though, so you can drive to the pass.

Comments on Imogene to Emma 8x13 Add Comment
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By Ryan Marsters
Sep 28, 2015

Didn't do the traverse, but just a quick comment - the highpoint of St Sophia (prominent offwidth splitter on E side), goes via an E gully (5.0, loose, trend left up top, 100 ft), hike sharp right around to the north side of the summit block, and then a NNW fistcrack (5.5/5.6, 20 ft) to easier climbing (~30 ft).

The summit has a PVC register placed by Ihinger several years ago, but it is waterlogged. I believe they climbed a few blocky towers on the W side, using the same approach, to gain the summit and rated it 5.7.

The existing rap stations (webbing around blocks) should be replaced.
By Stiles
From: the Mountains
Oct 6, 2015

Good input RM, gracias. So that highpoint needs to be added, I reckon. Since Block Tops seems a real sticky wicket, a fine finish is Gilpin and Sneffels. That ridge is really quality on Sneffels. A crux on Gilpins S ridge, 100ft of steep loose climbing on the left (west) side after rounding a buttress.

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