Hagues Peak (13,560'), Rowe Peak (13,404'), Mummy Mountain (13,425')
Rocky Mountain National Park- Mummy Range
Via Lawn Lake TrailheadPart 1
I had a free day to go hiking and thought I would venture into Rocky Mountain National Park, since it was close to where I would be. I also had my eye on Hagues Peak, since it's the Larimer County Highpoint and stands alone as the highest mountain in the Mummy Range and Colorado's highest mountain north of Long's Peak. Access is limited currently because Old Fall River Road is currently closed.
The Mummy Range is known to have a bunch of fantastic mountains close together. Renowned local climber and guidebook author Gerry Roach pioneered a route called "Mummy Mania" that traverses the whole ridge hitting 6-9 mountain summits. This route is similar in length to my route but starts much higher at the Chapin Pass trailhead around 12,000' (which was again currently closed.)
Check out my pictures of the High Park Fire here if you are interested in those photos that I took during this hike.
With that in mind I set out to summit 4 13ers in my own little way. Hiking from the Lawn Lake trail, I planned to hike 6.3 miles to Lawn lake, then continue on to "The Saddle", 8 miles from the trailhead. From there, I would Climb Mt. Fairchild, Hagues Peak, Rowe Peak, and Mummy Mountain, bushwhacking back to the trail from Mummy Mountain's summit. There is no defined trail for any of the hiking after "The Saddle" is reached. I thought it would be good to condition me for later hikes this summer.
Note: You can click on any image to view a high-resolution version of it.
|The view after 30 minutes of hiking. That is Fairchild Mountain.|
|"The Saddle" at the top of the picture. You can see all the erosion from the flood.|
|Lawn Lake below "The Saddle". Hagues Peak is on the right and Fairchild mountain rises to the left|
It started off good, I quickly hiked the Lawn Lake trail on a surprisingly warm morning- my car said it was 62 degrees at 6:20 AM. At around 4 miles I had my first trial. I could feel blisters forming on my heels of both feet. I pressed on, since I had unfortunately left my New Skin at home. The trail to Lawn lake is pretty, easy, and LONG- never getting steep. I think it was designed to be easy for horses and tourists to hike. I reached Lawn Lake in 2 hours, 10 minutes. I was hoping for 2 hours because that would give me plenty of time to climb the peaks. After making a brief detour, I took "The Saddle" trail up. The landscape was pretty awesome, with wildflowers, snow, and the granite face of Fairchild looking before me. Near the top of "The Saddle" trail an awe-inspiring view of Crystal Lakes came into view. That would be a long but rewarding hike.
|Fairchild Mountain on the right with a craggy granite face|
|Some alpine wildflowers|
|The Jagged West face of Hagues Peak|
At the saddle, I was at 12,400' and I sat down on a boulder for a little break, my first real break since leaving the trailhead some 8 miles ago. I took off my boots and confirmed my fears. I had large blisters on both heels. What do you do when you are so far from the trailhead but also close to one summit? At this point I decided that Fairchild was not in the cards. I wasn't feeling 100% and it was an additional 1100' of high altitude gain /loss for Fairchild. This would have really pushed my limits, but it was a hard decision as saying no wasn't generally something I did, viewing it as a sign of weakness.
Anyway, time to get to it. Hagues Peak was waiting for me and it seems so close by! There is no trail so you kind of point yourself at the top and start going. I aimed for this notch.
|The higher you go, the more interesting it gets. I aimed for the notch at the top center|
|Slabs of granite and large boulders|
|A look back down the way I came. I entered through the notch near the middle of the picture|
|Class 3 scrambling on solid rock|
It starts off as class 1, then class 2. Eventually, it's difficult to avoid running into class 3 climbing the higher you go on Hagues. A direct ascent from the saddle will eventually force you to commit to class 4 moves before the summit is gained. I had to downclimb about 25 feet and traverse between a small cliff and a large snowbank before climbing up a class 3 chute to gain the summit. The summit of Hagues has wonderful views in just about every direction, looking down on the Never Summer Range, the distant Snowy Range, and the Longs Peak/Glacier Gorge area as well.
|The Neversummer Range|
|Mt. Meeker on the left, Longs Peak center, Pagoda Mountain Right|
|Summit Photo- exactly 5 hours after I left the trailhead|
|Fairchild mountain, Crystal lakes, and the Mummy Range beyond|
See part 2 for more adventures!