Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mummy Trio- Part 2

Hagues Peak (13,560'), Rowe Peak (13,404'), Mummy Mountain (13,425')

Rocky Mountain National Park- Mummy Range


You can click on any picture for a high-resolution version of that image.

In part one I had hiked and scrambled to the top of Hagues Peak, the Larimer County Highpoint and one of the highest mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the top of Hagues Peak I noticed a smoke plume which turned out to be the beginnings of the High Park Fire.
Click here to see pics of the high park fire

Rowe Glacier

Relaxing, Colorado Style

Rowe Glacier, Hagues Peak, and the rugged connecting ridge
It took me 3 tries to cross the glacier to Rowe Peak
The snow between Hagues Peak and Rowe peak was difficult to negotiate. It took me 3 tries and I almost gave up! The first 2 tries ended when my feet sunk into the saturated snow (in hindsight, I could have just continued across from there).  The third time I took a high line around the glacial stream area and managed to delicately float on the melting snow.

View NE and seeing some smoke from the High Park fire

After a long talus-hopping fest I finally rounded the corner and saw Mummy Mountain.
Coming down from Rowe Peak and slowly traversing Hagues Peak was pretty exhausting. It was all on large rocks and boulders, some of which were wobbly and loose. I also had to dodge snowfields, often climbing up, down, or around to get past the snowfields. I knew that the snowfields would be well softened and would probably result in slipping or postholing. It was also WINDY. It had been windy all day and it was expecially windy between Hagues Peak and Mummy Mountain.

Hagues Peak from Mummy Mountain

Fairchild and Ypsilon from Mummy Mountain

Vanity shot on the summit looking 3,000' down to Lawn Lake

I don't have any photos of climbing the last stretch on Mummy, or downclimbing into the treeline. On the summit of Mummy, I realized I had less than 16 oz of clean water left, and I was 6+ miles from my car. I had some water purification tablets, but I decided to "gut it out" and just hike all the way back to my car with what little water I had. This was a mistake. When you are tired and it is hot outside, you surely do need water, and hiking 6 miles, even downhill, takes some effort. In hindsight I should have drank the rest of my water when I reached the creek, and then filled and treated water in my platypus, waiting 30 min for the water to be safe. I was pretty thirsty when I finally reached my car, thirsty enough that I chugged some hot gatorade that was in my car. (it's disgusting, BTW)

All in all it was a successful hike. The long time on the trail (over 10 hours) gave me a lot of time for self reflection and meditation. At some points I asked myself why I was doing this, as there were many other easier things I could have been doing instead. I am hoping that more effort and training now will lead to less stress and strain later when I am back on 14ers. I had 3 major obstactles to overcome. First, the blisters on both of my feet. Second, submerging both of my boots in glacier melt. Third, running low on water at 13,425' with over 6 miles to me car. However, none of these obstacles prevented me from having a good day in the mountains.

Final Tally: ~18 miles RT ~6,000' elevation gain

Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderful place that suffers from overcrowding. If you plan your trip right, you can avoid a lot of frustration. Starting early in the day, sticking to "strenuous" hikes, and avoiding the popular areas can be very rewarding.

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