Hallet Peak - 12,713 Ranked 28th in RMNP
Flattop Mountain - 12,324 Unranked
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Start time: 6:45am
Summit of Flattop: 10:00am
Summit of Hallett: 10:45
End time: 2:00pm
Dillon Sarnelli (The second-coming of the original Italian Stallion)
About 2 months ago, Dillon and I had this crazy idea to take on the ranked peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park…all 99 of them. Anyone who knows me and my “availability” will likely laugh at such an undertaking. I really only get out in the hills about once a month these days due to my 2 young boys. So needless to say, this 99-part adventure will take somewhere around 30 years to complete.
Having said that, here goes ROCKY I a.k.a. THE HALLETTOP
We arrived at the Bear Lake TH around 6:30 and got underway shortly afterward that.
Bear Lake map
Early morning at frozen Bear Lake
The trail through the trees was snow-packed, but microspikes worked just fine the whole day.
trail conditions in the trees
looking out toward Estes Park
Dillon at the Dream Lake overlook. Tyndall Glacier can be seen to the right of Dillon’s mellon
The entire hike gives fantastic views of Longs Peak. As we made our way up toward treeline, we could see the wind swirling spindrifts throughout the Boulderfield. It would definitely be a sign of things to come.
Longs with the winds swirling
Dan checks to see if Dillon’s camera is working (thanks for that, D)
Dillon from the Emerald Lake overlook – Hallett Peak is directly above Dillon’s rather large dome
looking down on Emerald Lake w/ Longs lurking
The winds were really making themselves known above treeline. From about 11,800 to Tyndall Glacier, we easily had sustained 30-40 mph wind.
trail above treline approaching Flattop Mtn.
Hallett Peak(ing) out
Hallet as we reach the divide
Dan approaching Flattop
Hallett from Flattop
At this point, we were blasted by wind. The skies were blue, but there was a ground-blizzard unlike any either of us had ever experienced. 50 mph sustained is not an exaggeration. We had a hard time staying upright in the fresh powder/loose rock.
Somehow we managed a Flattop summit shot
Dillon w/Tyndall Glacier behind him (off the ridge)
Dan on the approach to Hallett
Some unrecognizable human being
Summit shot with Longs and many future ROCKY sequels behind us
The summit stay was brief and unbearably cold. I managed to eat something, but I paid a heavy price for taking my mittens off. Thank God for hand warmers.
Dillon back near the glacier on the decent
The decent was quick and scenic. Once back at Bear Lake, we ran into a group of French tourists. I spent many years of my life taking French classes in school and I NEVER get to use my skills (ok, “skills” is a loose term. I have Southern-Indiana-Native-French-Accent-Skills). So there we are, asking them to take our photo. I excitedly say, with the utmost confidence, “Avec la montagne derrière nous, s’il vous plait.” And what do I get in return? Nothin'. I got snubbed. No response. French Tourists – 1, dmccool – 0.
back at Bear Lake
ROCKY I is now in the books. The seal has been broken on our little journey and I hope that someday we’ll be writing the ROCKY XCIX Trip Report – Coming to a Mountaineering Website near you…Winter 2042