Peak(s):  Saint Sophia Ridge  -  13,060 feet
Mt. Emma  -  13,581 feet
Date Posted:  09/27/2015
Modified:  01/22/2016
Date Climbed:   09/27/2015
Author:  Monster5
 Saint Sophia   

Super late, bare bones report for the archives.

Saint Sophia Ridge. Hoodoos and spires and towers upon towers, nestled between the Hayden group and Mount Emma. Prominent upon the skyline and obscure. It has its appeal.

The eastern route can be made as easy as ~2 miles roundtrip, 1K ft gain, and perhaps 5.6-5.7.
Easy 4WD road (I think it had been recently improved).
The gear included one 60 m, some webbing, and a single rack of cams from 0.5-4 and larger nuts. Perhaps slightly overkill, but I seem to recall using all the pieces for our group.

For the most part, we followed Aaron Ihinger's beta with a few minor variations. Joining me were Sarah and Dom Meiser, Abe Rigeb, and Natalie Moran.

Drive up the easy 4WD Governor Basin Road as far as you can manage, dropping across the upper valley down to the reclamation sites. Continue up the switchbacks right below Emma at actual 4WD or park where you desire. Continue hiking up the road until just east of St Sophia. Look right for some class 2 weaknesses to get above the initial cliff band. Or go straight ahead for direct class 3 weaknesses.

Saint Sophia's high point is the prominent block in the center of the photo below (to the right when viewed in person) with a crack splitting the middle. Aim for the gully below the crack, which angles left. At the base of the summit block, move right to the north side. The weakness to gain the summit is a hand-ish crack on the northeast side. So, the bulk of the route consists of three parts: approach hike, lower gully, and upper pitch.

Approach, above the initial cliffs

Lower gully (first part), class 3-4, loose. We set a body belay for some of the party. Near the top of the gully, traverse right under the summit block and wrap around to the north/northwest side.

Natalie climbing the upper pitch to the summit. The pitch consisted of ten ft of loose gully class two and a 15 ft 5.6-5.7 hand to fist crack on left (I wore gloves on lead) with crack or loose pebble feet. Reasonably well protected. At the top, turn right for blocky scrambling to the top.

Natalie's picture of the crack

Anchor. Rap block on right (webbing needs replaced).

For the final top out mantle, and reverse to the anchor, I set a BD 3 with a sling for people to clip or grab.

One 40 ft rap back to the northeast side, collect gear, and traverse back to the top of the gully. Here, most rappelled (70ft?) and the last person downclimbed.

Once back on the slopes, the rest took off, and Abe and I dropped packs and hiked up Emma. A bit loose class 2+ gaining the south ridge via a gully, and above, for the most part, can be kept class 3 staying proper or using left side bypasses. Some sportier options proper. At the summit block, traverse left and find a prominent narrow gully. Loose class 3-4, somewhat exposed.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

Comments or Questions

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2023®, 14ers Inc.