| Storm Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park
The Longs Peak diamond glows in the morning sun. From left to right, Mount Lady Washington, the Boulderfield, and Storm Peak cradle Longs Peak. Photo taken from Moraine Park on March 21.
Hike Date: Sunday, April 18, 2010
Summit: Storm Peak, 13,326 ft., unranked.
Trailhead: East Longs Peak
Distance: ~10 miles roundtrip
Vertical Gain: ~3800 ft.
Start time: 7:08 AM
Summit time: 11:03 AM.
Finish time: 2:10 PM.
The weather was perfect: blue skies, mild temps, little wind. The East Longs Peak trail was hard and crunchy in the morning; slushy but firm in the afternoon. I was up here in early April. The snow melt of the past few weeks is obvious.
This was my first time on Storm Peak. The view from the narrow summit is mind-boggling. To the right, Storm's west slope drops away steeply. Glacier Gorge opens up beneath your feet. Framing the beautiful cirque are many 13ers that I hope to climb this year. I savored the view but didn't linger long. Dark billowing clouds streamed overhead, putting the spook in me, so I didn't travel beyond Storm Peak's northern-most summit. Someday I need to go back for Storm's two southern summits.
East Longs Peak Trail, RMNP: April 18, 7 AM.
Captions on top of photos.
I like this trail. It leads to some very cool places.
Longs Peak fills a break in the trees.
The winter shortcuts remain snow-covered. I use every shortcut and trim significant distance from my hike. This photo shows the winter shortcut above the bridge.
Just watch your step.
The first clear view of Longs Peak. Mount Lady Washington is on the right.
The north face of Mount Meeker. Dream Weaver is the narrow strip of snow just left of the large flying buttress that dissects the mountain. The Loft is seen on the right.
The east face of Longs Peak towers high above Chasm Junction.
I cross the snow-covered basin on my way to Granite Pass. Mount Lady Washington is seen on the left.
I reach Granite Pass. Storm Peak appears.
I approach the Boulderfield. The west slope of Mount Lady Washington is on the left. The north face of Longs Peak is at center. The east slope of Storm Peak is on the right. I remove the microspikes from my boots and start on a direct line towards the north slope of Storm Peak.
I reach the base of Storm Peak. I estimate the slope angle at 30 degrees or so. I put on crampons and climb the snowfield while staying close to visible rock bands.
I look out across the Boulderfield towards Mount Lady Washington.
I approach the summit.
The slope angle steepens near the top.
The northern summit.
The view into the Boulderfield.
Longs Peak towers a thousand feet above Storm Peak.
The north face of Longs. The Keyhole is at the bottom right corner of the photo.
A closer view of the Keyhole and shelter. Snow pours from the shelter door.
Storm Peak has three summits. I wasn't on the tallest summit block (I believe the middle summit is tallest, at right of photo), but I was very content with my vista. Pagoda Mountain is at distance. Pagoda is only 160 feet taller than Storm but appears like a giant.
A beautiful snow-filled gulley separates Pagoda Mountain from Chief's Head Peak (partially visible on right). Keyboard of the Winds is at far left of photo.
13er McHenrys Peak is on the left. Arrowhead drops along the knife ridge from the summit of McHenrys. Behind McHenrys are 13ers Powell Peak and Taylor Peak.
My time on the summit is short-lived. I follow my tracks from the summit.
I plunge step down the left edge of the snowfield. I reach the base in no time.
I cross the Boulderfield on my way to Granite Pass. I look back and give thanks to Storm Peak.
The trail through Jim's Grove is soft. Twin Sisters in distance.
It's 2 PM. Time for a beer and some tacos.