MUMMY TO POWELL HIGH ROUTE
Route: (~50 miles, 3.5 days)
Summit 1. MUMMY Mountain (13,425')
Summit 2. HAGUES Peak (13,560')
Summit 3. FAIRCHILD Mountain (13,502')
Summit 4. YPSILON Mountain (13,514') (passed underneath)
Summit 5. Mt. CHIQUITA (13,069') (passed underneath)
Summit 6. Mt. CHAPIN (12,454') (passed underneath)

Summit 7. Mt. IDA (12,865')
Summit 8. CHIEF CHELEY Peak (12,804')
Summit 9. SPRAGUE Mountain (12,713') 
(passed underneath)
Summit 10. FLATTOP Mountain (12,324') 
(passed underneath)
Summit 11. HALLETT Peak (12,713') 
(passed underneath)
Summit 12. OTIS Peak (12,486') 
(passed underneath)
Summit 13. TAYLOR Peak (13,153')
Summit 14. POWELL Peak (13,208')

JUNE
20-23
2020
TR #: 423

Category: Colorado       Summit Elev: 12,804-13,560' ft        Rock Type: Gneiss & Granite

Partner: Nate Arganbright

A 3-day cross-country high route over several of the summits of Rocky Mountain National Park.


On the second summit of the adventure. In two days we would be on top of the mountains in the distance.

Midway through the traverse.

INTRO

What better way to get ready for alpine climbing season than to do a 3-day cross-country hike at 12,000-13,000 feet? Plus, trekking through the mountains, camping out up high, and exploring new terrain is a pretty awesome way to spend a few days. Nate came up with the idea of the route, which started with Mummy Mountain and for 30 miles pretty much maintained a high ridgeline cross country route all the way to Powell Peak. There were 14 summits along the way, 7 of which we officially summited and the rest of which we skirted a few hundred vertical feet below the summits. The terrain was a lot of 3rd class scrambling interspersed with 2nd class cross-country romps and section of trail. Nate and I thoroughly enjoyed this athletic adventure. I couldn't ask for a better partner.

Some of my highlights: the view from the top of Mummy of all the terrain to come, passing bikers as we hiked up Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center, the frantic scramble to set up a tent beside the trail and getting it up just seconds before a thundershower let loose, the beautiful hike over the Flattop Plateau, constructing and then enjoying comfortable seats at our third camp, a dramatic sunset from the summit of Taylor, the rugged view from the top of Powell, and the overly friendly guy who asked a lot of questions who gave us a ride back to Estes Park.

Below are a map and a google earth overlay of our route. Below that are a selection of photos from the trip, broken down by day. Enjoy!
 


MAP
GOOGLE EARTH OVERLAY


PHOTOS!

  
Day 0: Estes Park to Camp below Mummy Mountain

Stats:
8.2 miles, ~4 hours
Start hiking (~7,500'): 3:40 pm; Arrive at camp (~11,400') below Mummy: 7:46 pm
Photos:
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Photo descriptions:
1. We managed to get our starting pack weight down to about 20-25lbs (the photo shows just under 20 lbs, but this did not include water, phone, book, or jacket).
2. We began the hike from Nate's front door. This avoided the need to have to negotiate the timed entry ss pick up a car at a trailhead after the trip. 
3. Starting the hike with a bit of cross-country.
4. On the Black Canyon Trail.
5. On the southeast shoulder of Mummy, looking for a place to stop for the night.
6. Evening light.
7. My dinner. Twig adds some fiber.
8. To save weight, Nate did some surgery on his book so I could start in on the first half. I had also brought a pdf of my Numerical Analysis textbook and ended up mostly reading this for "fun"...I would have much preferred Dune but that will have to wait until after prelims.



Day 1: Camp below Mummy Mountain to Alpine Visitor Center to Camp below Mt. Ida
Stats:
16.4 miles, ~10 hours
Start hiking (~11,400'): 7:46 am; Summit of Mummy (13,425'): 8:43 am; Summit of Hagues (13,560'): 9:42 am; Summit of Fairchild (13,502'): 11:20 am; Alpine Visitor Center (11,796'): 2:59 pm; Thundershower: 4:02 pm; Arrive at camp (~11,500') below Ida: 6 pm

Summits along the way: (Pink = summited; Grey = passed underneath by a few hundred vertical feet)
Mummy Mountain, Hagues Peak, Mt. Fairchild, Ypsilon Mountain, Mt. Chiquita, Mt. Chapin
Photos:
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Photo descriptions:
9. Lenticular clouds. These things make for great photos but usually don't bode well for the day's weather. 
10. Heading up to the summit of Mummy Mountain.
11. Summit cairn on Mummy Mountain.
12. Pretty amazing place to hike. We are headed for those mountains behind Nate in the distance...
13. Radio repeater on the top of Hagues Peak.
14. Headed down from Hagues towards Fairchild....
15. Some mellow terrain on the way to Fairchild.
16. Postholing through the snow.
17. Ypsilon as seen from the top of Fairchild.
18. 
Headed for Ypsilon. Clouds are getting kind of dark, hmm....
19. Given the threat of thundershowers, we decided to contour below the north sides of Ypsilon, Chiquita, and Chapin. 
20. It's important to keep hydrated!
21. Mellow terrain on the north slopes of Chiquita. That's Chapin on the left.
22. We intersected Old Fall River Road. 
23. Hiking Old Fall River Road for 2 miles. Notice the Alpine Visitor Center in the distance. See those bikers...we are gaining on them....
24. And this is a low snow year.
25. Alpine Visitor Center.
26. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cafe had rather limited options. But at least it was open. This face mask thing will never seem normal to me though.
27. Taking a short lunch break outside the Visitor Center.
28. Ominous dark clouds. We figured we had about 30 minutes until it was upon us. Should we hide in the bathroom or find a place to set up a tent for cover?
29. Hurrying down the trail in search of a place we could pitch a quick shelter to weather out the storm.
30. Got it up just in time!
31. I took advantage of the rain storm to read a few sections of numerical analysis. I am not sure which is more terrifying: graduate level numerical analysis or a Colorado thundershower.
32. Once the storm passed we continued onward for another hour, looking for a place to camp. This is a cross-country zone.
33. The headwaters of the Big Thompson River.
34. Drying out at camp.
35. In the summer I take a break from keto. Dang, these are good....



Day 2: Camp below Mt. Ida to Camp below Taylor Peak
Stats:
13.9 miles, ~8 hours
Start hiking (~11,500'): 8:12 am; Summit of Ida (12,865'): 10:13 am; Summit of Chief Cheley (12,804'): 10:56 am; Arrive at camp (~12,600') below Taylor: 4:30 pm; Top of Taylor (evening excursion from camp) (13,153'): 8:15 pm

Summits along the way: (Pink = summited; Grey = passed underneath by a few hundred vertical feet)
Mt. Ida, Chief Cheley Peak, Sprague Mtn, Flattop Mtn, Hallett Peak, Otis Peak, Taylor Peak
Photos:
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Photo descriptions:
36. Some elk on the hillside. We decided to respect their space and give them a wide berth and hike up and around them.
37. Another elk on the horizon.
38. Mountain vista.
39. A lone cairn.
40. Hm....wonder what the story is here?
41. Some pretty alpine forget-me-nots.
42. We intersected a trail.
43. Enjoying a cruiser couple of miles along a trail to the top of Mt. Ida.
44. Marmot.
45. Getting closer to the summit of Ida.
46. Looking towards the summit of Chief Cheley from the top f Ida.
47. Another marmot.
48. White granite on the summit of Chief Cheley.
49. Nate and I stopped to appreciate this marvelous chicken head.
50. Highest Lake on the west side of Chief Cheley. The lake is about 12,500 feet. I winder if it is the highest lake in RMNP?
51. More chickenheads.
52. We found plenty of water along the way from snowmelt. Later in the summer, water would be more scarce on sections of this route.
53. Pleasant cross country hiking towards Flattop.
54. Pretty sunflowers.
55. More pleasant hiking.
56. We intersected the North Inlet Traill on the flats near Flattop.
57. Enjoying a rare break from the hiking.
58. Trails sure make travel easy.
59. Some moose scat.
60. Some more alpine forget-me-nots.

61. On a snowfield on the slopes below Taylor.
62. Our campsite on a rock oasis near Taylor.
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It was an awesome campsite.
64. Collecting water nearby. Having water within 30 seconds of camp is a high priority..
65. Nice view from the tent.
66. Relaxing at camp.
67. Relaxing at camp.
68. Okay, enough relaxing, time for some studying....

69. Dinner. I never get tired of mashed potatoes.
70. Looking up to the summit of Taylor Peak from camp. I decided to head up there for some sunset photos.
71. Nearing the summit. Some dramatic clouds were billowing around the summit as I arrived on top.
72. Summit view.
73. This phenomenon is called a "glory", caused by sunlight interacting with the tiny water droplets in the mist.
74. Longs Peak.
75. Mt. Alice.
76. More dramatic clouds.
77. The end of a beautiful day.



Day 3: Camp below Taylor Peak to Powell Peak to Bear Lake Trailhead
Stats:
12 miles, ~5 hours
Start hiking (~12,600'): 7:22 am; Summit of Powell (13,327'): 8:20 am; Andrews Pass (~12,000'): 10:14 am; Bear Lake Trailhead (9,450'): 12:20 pm; Estes Park (~7,500'): 2:05 pm

Summits along the way: (Pink = summited; Grey = passed underneath by a few hundred vertical feet)
Powell Peak
Photos:
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Photo descriptions:
78. Breakfast in bed.
79.
 The sun is coming!

80. 
Pretty purple flower. I think these are called "purple fringe".
81. It gets cold overnight at 13,000 feet.
82. Shadows on snow.
83. The edges of snowfields were slightly annoying due to a soft layer under the crust.
84. A steep dropoff on the north side of the ridge.
85. A unique view of the Petit Grepon and Saber and Sky Pond.
86. Traversing towards Powell Peak. The peak in the distance is Chiefs Head. Powell is on the left.
87. The terrain gets much more rugged after Powell. This is the rugged terrain of McHenrys's Notch. That's McHenry's Peak on the other side of the notch. 
88. Contemplating.
89. At the head of the Andrews Glacier.
90. Looking back up at the Andrews Glacier. It's more of a snowfield than a Glacier.
91. Getting on the Visitor Shuttle to the Park and Ride. From the Park and Ride, it's about a 7.5 mile hike to Nate's place in Estes Park...
92. Taking a break at a picnic table on our hike from the Park and Ride back into Estes.
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After about a mile of road walking, we (somewhat surprisingly) we able to hitch a ride back to Estes in the back of a white pick-up truck. The driver was perhaps a bit too friendly and asked a lot of questions and he handed Nate a rusty piece of metal for seemingly no reason, but he did spare us a long road walk.....fun times....