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 Peak(s):  Meeker, Mt  -  13,911 feet
 Post Date:  05/20/2013 Modified: 06/03/2013
 Date Climbed:   05/18/2013
 Posted By:  dillonsarnelli
 Additional Members:   awknox
 No Walk in the Park - The Mighty Meeker - South Ridge & Meeker Ridge from Wild Basin   

No Walk in the Park - The Mighty Meeker - South Ridge & Meeker Ridge from Wild Basin

“There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and the wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbal of the great human principle.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunrise along the Sandbeach Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountain: Mount Meeker - Rocky Mountain National Park - Elevation 13,911 ft.
Date Climbed: May 18, 2013
Trailhead: Copeland Lake (Sandbeach Lake Trail)
Route: South Ridge (ascent) / Meeker Ridge (descent)
Distance: ~ 13 miles
Elevation Gain: ~ 5,600 ft.
Participants: Andrew (awknox), Dillon (dillonsarnelli)
Time: ~ 13 hours

Gerry Roach describes the South Ridge route of Meeker as "one of Colorado's finest tours" that is seldom done due to its length. He also goes on to say that after decades of mountaineering, this mountain remains one of his favorite places. That's about all the motivation I needed and Andrew was game. This would be his first trek through the park and it didn't disappoint.

Andrew and I set out from the Copeland Lake TH at about 4 AM. The plan... Head west along the Sandbeach Lake trail to Sandbeach Lake, bushwhack north from the lake to Meeker Meadow, ascend Meeker from its south ridge to the true summit, traverse the knife edge to the lower summit, partially descend Meeker Ridge to treeline, follow Hunter's Creek back to the trail, and then head back to the Copeland Lake TH.

Approaching the 1st river crossing at Campers Creek along the Sandbeach Lake Trail

For the most part, we stuck to the plan. The snowshoes went on at the Hole in the Wall campsite, about a mile and half from the TH. We however, never made it to the lake. We had been following one set of tracks (tracks that only went in one direction) which abruptly ended about 4 miles from the TH at a rock cropping. Nestled in a tent under a large rock formation we found the human who had created our path. He too was on his way to the lake, but had lost the trail, and decided to call this spot camp. We wished him well and went on our way. From here, we decided to bypass the lake and head northwest in search of Meeker Meadow and treeline. For the rest of the journey, the only tracks to be seen would be our own.

Andrew gets a good look at the task at hand as we near Meeker Meadow


I still have no idea how to walk in my snowshoes....!

Nearing treeline and Meeker Meadow, about 4.5 miles from the TH - Dragon Egg Rock pictured upper right

From left to right: South Ridge, Meeker Summit, Knife Edge, Dragon Egg Couloir, Lower Meeker Summit, Dragon Egg Rock, Meeker Ridge

And we go up... A look back as we climb out of the trees. Sandbeach Lake can be seen in the distance.

Still going up. The snow is hard packed.

Still going....


a good look at the large talus along the south ridge at about 12K.

Andrew you are a BEAST! Approaching the ridgeline...

a look back at some of the south ridge. Below this point we stayed low, to the west side of ridge proper. Keplinger Lake, upper right.

Andrew making his way along the ridge. Me trying to keep up!

Andrew is that a large gendarme in your way or are you just happy to see me?

a good look at SE Longs and Longs as we ascend the ridgeline.

Andrew finally takes a breather!

A look back at a portion of the south ridge. The large gendarme can be seen in the middle of the picture.

many many many future ROCKY summits!

Where's Andrew?

The south ridge of Meeker.

A close up of the hidden east face of Pagoda... pretty awesome

L to R - Alice, Chiefs Head Peak, Pagoda

L to R - Alice, Chiefs Head, Pagoda, Keyboard of the Winds, Longs Peak

the elusive Meeker Summit

Andrew taking it all in below the summit boulder

Summit of Mount Meeker - Elevation 13,911 ft - May 18, 2013

These guys came up the Dreamweaver. The knife edge to Meeker's lower summit in the distance.

a look back at Meeker's summit from the knife edge


Andrew making his way along the knife edge.

A look back at the beasts of the park from the knife edge.

A look down at Dragon Egg Couloir and Sandbeach Lake from the knife edge.

The road home - Meeker Ridge...

We descended Meeker Ridge to a point where the angle relented enough to allow us to head for the trees. Once in the trees, we proceeded southeast back to Hunters Creek, followed the creek back to the main trail, and from the main trail proceeded back to the Copeland Lake TH.

This was a LONG day. A few lessons learned - A) Don't underestimate the Mighty Meeker! This mountain is the real deal and gives Long's a run for it's money. 5) Going downhill in snowshoes is really really hard and d) Wild Basin is still one of the best kept secrets in all of Colorado!

Andrew thanks for playing and thanks for reading all.

Off topic - Good luck to the Denali crew - Kushner, Kyle, Caroline and gang. BE SAFE!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions (13)

Important Message     2013-05-20 21:01:25
Dilly -- Tyler wants his pliers. He also ordered $25 worth of chinese food tonight. I'm not sure any is left.

Oh, and nice climb and TR! Have fun in the desert next week Andrew, still kicking myself for not being able to make it.



Really nice!     2013-05-20 21:03:03
That basin is truly Wild. We wanted to climb Meeker from Keplinger's Couloir after Long's, but alas, it is like you said, a LONG day. Looks fun!


Lots Left     2013-05-20 21:10:57
At least 3 meals' worth. What I did have was delicious. And I did all of Jeff's dishes.

Nice TR! Oh, and where is my car key?


Looks like an awesome day     2013-05-20 21:32:17
Nice trip report on a seldom climbed route. Hit me up if you're ever looking for partners for adventures on some of the mountains in that area.


Boss     2013-05-20 21:33:29


Look at his flannel...     2013-05-20 21:53:04
I was content with staring at image #1. Wow!

Q) Nice TR, D.
g.1) What's all that white stuff up there in The Park? (TWFS)
7) Image #28 - The descent down Meeker Ridge - makes me want to curl up in a ball


.     2013-05-20 23:05:45
Well done guys!

Brian Thomas

RMNP > 14ers     2013-05-21 07:46:30
”many many many future ROCKY summits!”


Sweet way to climb Meeker     2013-05-21 08:11:06
While the Loft is a fine cirque, I can see why Roach holds this tour in such high regard. That East Face on Pagoda is something else. There's a lifetime of stuff to do in the park.

Also - nice Roosevelt quote Dillon.


Tyler you're FAT     2013-05-22 08:56:24
Thanks for the comments gang!Lifetime of stuff do in the park indeed, Brian, like Pagoda! thanks man. / D, my friend - g.2 remember it's not part of the Rocky Series unless you're coming too!(TWFS)ROCKY 2, ROCKY 2.../ Eric - I think liking and knowing how to use one's snowshoes is a prereque for boss status, i can live with baller status for now! Brian Thomas, look at your 14er picture... Jeff, Tyler, DanR, painless4u, Chris - thanks guys! WILD BASIN indeed.


Solid TR     2013-05-23 07:37:36
Really enjoyed this....thanks for sharing. Wild Basin is incredible, loved the photos.


Look at Pagoda's seldom seen east face!     2013-05-24 14:19:39
... And look at yourself!

Sweet TR Dillon and Andy; now we know why you never hang with us anymore. I can't wait to toil a bit on a few of those many-x3 summits with you in the future, brother.

You do realize that there's what some brands call an ”Ergo Televator” on your snowshoes to reduce calf strain on the ascents? Ask the boys, we may have answers my friend.


Damnit Dillon!     2013-05-25 22:19:40
I was totally planning on trying to lure Andrew up Meeker and Longs this summer as soon as I got home. Looks like you beat me to it.

But it all seriousness, nice work fellas. Looks like a sweet route in a cool area.

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