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Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

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Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby franklin411 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:07 pm

Hello all,
I'm a historian writing a biography of William Allen White, the famous American journalist who lived in Kansas and spent most of his summers after he turned 18 in a cabin near Estes Park. I want to "follow in my subject's footsteps," so I'm planning a trip there in late July. White mentions in his Autobiography that he climbed Longs Peak twice in the late 1880s, and he is very clear that he freaked out during the descent and had to be coaxed down by his friends. So I'm looking for help figuring out what hikes I should do each day that I'm there that will give me the William Allen White experience (aside from visiting the cabin, of course!).

Longs Peak: I won't attempt a summit. I plan to hike the trail to the Keyhole, snap a few pictures, and head back, maybe stopping at other cool features only the way.

About me: I'm 36 and have been doing heavy cardio for about 7 years (2-2.5 hrs in the gym, 5x a week: 4-6 miles running, 35 mins recumbent bike, 35 mins rowing each session). I'm short at 5' 4" and never had great athletic coordination.

Experience: I'm a total newbie when it comes to hiking/climbing. Yesterday was my first hike ever, and I kicked things off with Arlington Peak in Santa Barbara. I got lost numerous times, hiked 4-5 extra miles before finding the right trail, succeeded in climbing the Class 3 scramble to within maybe 500' distance and 100' elevation of the peak, but I took a false path and ended up at a dead end. I was running low on water, and then I heard a rattlesnake rattle nearby two separate and distinct times. I started to descend, and a horde of bees came swarming out of a rock crevice and investigated me, but luckily they didn't attack. That was definitely it...the mountain wanted me gone.

I plan to do more training hikes before Colorado.

What I'd like to get out of a hike: Scenic vistas, cool geological formations, historic routes. I'd like to experience 14000', but I don't have any ambition of being a mountain climber. Getting a peak would be awesome, but my Arlington Peak hike shows my attitude: I had fun, saw cool stuff, put in a respectable 8 hour day, and didn't die. Good enough for me.

Here's the details of my trip so far:

I'm trying to get my friends to join me, but most likely will be alone on this trip.

Thursday, 7/25: Fly into Denver, get a rental car, go shopping, and spend the night in a hotel
Friday, 7/26 and Saturday, 7/27: Spend Friday and Saturday nights at the Moraine Park campground. I have reservations.
Sunday, 7/28: Spend Sunday night into Monday morning at the Olive Ridge campground. I have reservations.
Monday, 7/29: Hike in the morning, drive to Denver in the afternoon, spend the night at a hotel in Downtown Denver
Tuesday, 7/30: Fly home

Thanks for any advice you might give!

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby jsdratm » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:48 pm

Mt. Lady Washington is a great choice and it will get you to 13,000' along with great views of Longs Peak. From the boulderfield side it is pretty easy scrambling even if you are new to hiking.

On the north side of the park, a good hike is from Old Fall River Road to Chiquita, Chapin, and Ypsilon, which are part of the Mummy Range and two of which are above 13,000'. The hiking is on nice alpine slopes.

Another favorite of mine is Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak from Bear Lake. You get nice views of the south side of Longs Peak and all of Estes Park. Once you reach the continental divide you can see down the other side and far into Colorado. If you want you can keep walking along the divide to some of the other peaks, but it gets pretty long. Again, this is a good hike even for beginners.

The glacier gorge hikes are also fantastic and worth seeing. The trails are well marked and very scenic.

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby Mindy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:52 pm

jsdratm wrote:Mt. Lady Washington is a great choice and it will get you to 13,000' along with great views of Longs Peak. From the boulderfield side it is pretty easy scrambling even if you are new to hiking.

On the north side of the park, a good hike is from Old Fall River Road to Chiquita, Chapin, and Ypsilon, which are part of the Mummy Range and two of which are above 13,000'. The hiking is on nice alpine slopes.

Another favorite of mine is Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak from Bear Lake. You get nice views of the south side of Longs Peak and all of Estes Park. Once you reach the continental divide you can see down the other side and far into Colorado. If you want you can keep walking along the divide to some of the other peaks, but it gets pretty long. Again, this is a good hike even for beginners.

The glacier gorge hikes are also fantastic and worth seeing. The trails are well marked and very scenic.


+1

You should purchase this book...

LisaFosterBookDrop-TH[1].jpg
LisaFosterBookDrop-TH[1].jpg (14.88 KiB) Viewed 779 times


http://renaissancemountaineering.com/

Given you have the keyhole already planned, I would skip the Twin Sisters suggestion and head further into the park.

Again, this book will be very helpful.

Good luck!

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby madbuck » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:50 pm

anna wrote:A few possibilities that come to mind:

* Twin Sisters Peaks: An 11er with great views of Longs and a trail pretty much to the top. http://www.summitpost.org/twin-sisters-peaks/151216
* Mount Lady Washington: A 13er with great views of Longs' Diamond face. You don't have to go to the top to get the views. A sidetrip from the Boulderfield area to the north side of MLW will do nicely. http://www.summitpost.org/mount-lady-washington/151663
* Glacier Gorge: Trail hike to see a different side of Longs. Beautiful, so I hear and hope to see myself this summer. http://www.summitpost.org/hiking-in-glacier-gorge/475674

Keep in mind that altitude is a factor to consider as you'll be coming from the lowlands. You might want to start off with something easy and lower to help with acclimatization.

Really, you can do no wrong in RMNP. Good luck and enjoy!


Great suggestions. The investigative journalism angle is very cool. To get yourself oriented to the mountain, check out a map of Longs Peak (there's a Trails Illustrated map just for Longs, but a RMNP will do), and note how the classic view and trail begins from the east, and winds around the backside of the mountain before summiting.

My top suggestion would be Chasm Lake as well as the Keyhole, which gives you stellar views along a nice trail. With additional effort, you can backtrack and then continue across the boulderfield to the Keyhole (or vice-versa). This gives you a taste of some of the familiar landmarks, and lets you peak around the other side. The wind, exposure, and views are remarkably different than the sheer views of the Diamond.

The next suggestion, as above, would then be Glacier Gorge. It's beautiful all the way, but Black Lake and then Green Lake give you views of the backside of Longs, including the "Trough" which is where your subject mentioned coming down on "all 5's." Those 2 hikes should give an appreciation of the mountain; they follow established trails; and I would rank them higher than MLW or Twin Sisters, which have fantastic views but perhaps aren't as "intimate" with the mountain itself. No matter what, enjoy!

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby nyker » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:20 am

franklin411 wrote:About me: I'm 36 and have been doing heavy cardio for about 7 years (2-2.5 hrs in the gym, 5x a week: 4-6 miles running, 35 mins recumbent bike, 35 mins rowing each session). I'm short at 5' 4" and never had great athletic coordination.


Sounds like an interesting project.

With that routine, I think you would be fine doing just about any hike/climb, provided the altitude doesn't get to you and the terrain is within your risk/comfort level.

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby DeTour » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:42 am

If you're not planning on summiting Longs Peak because you don't feel the urge to, that's fine. But if you wish in your dreams to summit but feel like it's too ambitious: wrong. You absolutely can summit Longs. As long as you avoid bad weather (2-3 a.m. start being the best strategy for that) the difficulties of Longs should not approach anything you experienced on Arlington Peak.

Bear in mind the route on Longs is extremely easy to follow given that it's marked the entire way and numerous people will likely be on it. You're in shape for the long day, and you have class 3 climbing experience. You're in far better position than I was when I did Longs as my first mountain of any type.

I'm not dissing the Keyhole or any of the other alternatives mentioned. (Especially Chasm Lake, an absolutely marvelous experience.) But don't sell yourself short. If you want to breath 14,000 foot air, go for it.
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby Kiefer » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:48 pm

I like your idea for a trip to Estes by following in the footsteps of this man.
Have you looked at James Pickering's book on White? I've used some of Pickerings' books in the past on Longs and the history
of Estes and the Tahosa Valley.
The library here in town has all of his books including the historical accounts which, I found are quite good especially with detailing the specifics.
The museum also has Pickering's books for sale.

It doesn't look like he ventured into town much but preferred to stay at his cabin in Moraine Park. He even distained to a moderate degree, public events
that held F.O. Stanley, Mills and Charles E. Hewes in attendance. Seems Moraine Park was his escape from the political trappings he routinely delved into back in Kansas.
Unlike some of the folks who had summer residences in Estes, he never called his place by any sort of proper name. He ever only referred to his summer cottage as, "The Cabin."
He would also stray into the offices of the EP Gazette on occasion and 'talk' to the publishers/editors.
So the newpaper office here in town should probably be included on your 'circuit' while in town, if it isn't already.

Image
-With Teddy

I'm sure you also know since you have reservations at the CG in Moraine Park, the cabin at the far eastern end of Moraine Park, is now used as the
cabin for 'artists-in-residence', is his old summer cabin.

I've done a little digging of my own into this White character you seekth, and I've been able to find that he made direct reference to the West Face Trough ledges.
So he climbed Longs at least that far. I ran across a reference that he and his friends from KU summited Longs as well but it was an indirect comment.

I can't find any references or notes that he ever hiked Twin Sisters or Lady Washington...but Longs, at least to the West Face ledges...yep.
I'm sure, as logic would dictate since he stayed predominantly in Moraine Park, the local trails stemming from the valley were probably trod by his foot as well.
So local trails in Moraine Valley should be part of your itineary also.

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby franklin411 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:04 am

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! So it sounds like Glacier Gorge should be on the list, maybe for Saturday. I like the fact that I'll be able to take a shuttle from my campsite at Moraine Park. Maybe early Monday morning I could do the Keyhole/Chasm Lake route. That leaves Sunday...maybe diversify with the Old Fall River Road?

@DeTour, I decided to write off summiting Longs' right after I read the stuff about the narrow ledges and such after the Keyhole. I'm a sloppy runner (I veer back and forth when I'm not paying attention), and sometimes if I'm standing in one place I'll start to lean to one side and have to reposition to keep my balance. Who knows why (I really attribute it to not paying attention), but that plus the ledges made me decide to skip the peak! I suppose I could reassess the plan the day of, but I thought it was safer to renounce any claim on Longs Peak in advance so I won't feel compelled to do something that might be ill-advised. I do thank you for the encouragement!

@Kiefer
No, I haven't looked at the Pickering book (hadn't heard of it, to be honest), but I'll defintely look at it now. Thanks for the suggestion! Yes, I've come across letters from White explaining that Colorado was the summer home for about 2000 of Kansas' leading citizens. Having spent a few days in Kansas during the high summer season, I definitely understand why!

I'm still doing research on White's early years, but I did come across a reference to an article White wrote for the Kansas City Star in 1893 entitled "The Tragedy of Longs' Peak." I wonder if the Pickering book cites that article. If not, and it turns out to be interesting, I'll be happy to post the gist of it when I have a look at it in a few weeks.

Here's the excerpt of White's Autobiography that mentions Longs' Peak:

"Twice that summer, [Vernon] Kellogg and I climbed Longs Peak: once with no one else along; and once with a party which included [Frederick] Funston [future US Army major general], [Herbert] Hadley [future governor of Missouri], and Ed Franklin. It is a hard, long climb, impossible by any machine that man has yet made. Of it's 14,500 feet you go up almost 2,000 on all fours, creeping and climbing along crevices and cracks in almost perpendicular rocks. You come down on all fives until you strike a level 2,000 feet above timber line. Then you walk a mile over huge boulders, jumping from one to another. When I got to the summit the first time, we could see across the plains the smoke of Pueblo two hundred miles away. We could see over into Wyoming. It was a beautiful sight. But when I started down that precipice I was frightened, literally scared numb and stiff, and Kellogg had to coax me down."

Thanks again!

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby DanandDad » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:19 am

I have to second using the Lisa Foster book. I found it invaluable.
Also, I worked up to Longs last summer.
See http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12699&parmpeak=Longs+Peak&start=15&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include
If you do not plan to summit, the view from the key hole is breathtaking. I had heard and read about it. There were two guys camping and hiking near us and one had done the rtoute before, the other was his first time. The vet was letting his buddy go first up to the keyhole to get the whole experience by not telling him ahead of time how awsome it is. Even being prepared for the experience, it still takes your breath away. My short summary of the route past the keyhole, the ledges as not as steep as they look in photos. The narrows are not as narrow as they look in photos but are as steep as they look in photos.

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby flyingmagpie » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:46 pm

franklin411;
Because you are a flatlander, and your all-too-brief trip to Estes will not be lengthy enough to allow you to acclimatize completely, I think your decision NOT to climb Longs is wise. Longs is a serious mountain. However, something you CAN do is get the absolutely best view of Longs possible, while expending a reasonable amount of effort. In my opinion, the view you cannot miss is from Chasm Lake, at the base of the Diamond Face. It is not an easy hike. You should start before dawn. You need to be back below timberline by noon to avoid the lightning hazard brought on by thunderstorms which come in unpredictably anytime in the afternoon. The hike to Chasm Lake takes you over the lower portion of the Longs Peak trail. You pass an incredible waterfall, Columbine Falls. And the view from the lake is absolutely stunning. Let me tell you about myself--my parents were living in Estes when I was born (no hospital in Estes, so I was born in Boulder). We lived in Estes until I was five. I returned to Estes in the late 90's, and lived there for a number of years, exploring and climbing in the Park. I first climbed Longs in 1969, and have climbed it 16 times by 5 different routes. I think getting in touch with the historian who has done the most work concerning Estes Park would be a good idea for you. James Pickering is an English professor at the University of Houston. Summers he lives in Estes. You can find his office number on the U of H website, and I think he is in the Estes phone book. Concerning the William Allen White cabin in Moraine Park--are you aware that the Park allows artists and presumably historians to stay in the cabin as part of the "Artists in the Park" program? Artists apply for the program, and if accepted, stay in the cabin over a summer season. They are expected to produce art (painting, poetry, a book, etc.) in return. It is probably too late for you to apply for the program for the coming summer. Maybe another summer? You should also be aware of a really nice movie--"Mary White"--about William's daughter Mary who was tragically killed in a horseback riding accident as a young woman. It is available on VHS. Maybe you can find a copy on Amazon or elsewhere. If not, and you are still interested, let me know. Sincerely, flyingmagpie
"I've found the truest paths always lead through mountains." Kate Wolf, "An Unfinished Life"

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Re: Help Planning Estes Park Trip / William Allen White

Postby franklin411 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:43 am

Hi all,
I apologize for not getting back to people who have posted here lately--I've been really busy trying to get ahead on my lecture-writing so I'd be prepared when I got back from traveling. I ended up not summiting Longs Peak, but I did get a lot of great experience and might try it next time! Also, I saw the William Allen White cabin...spectacular view! I was a bit disappointed that none of the rangers I talked to had even heard of him, and the Moraine Park Visitor's Center was closed due to budget cuts.

I figure I hiked almost 50 miles from 7/26-7/29. On Friday I hiked from the Park and Ride to Bierstadt Lake, got lost due to confusing trail signs and a passing storm that made it difficult to figure out what direction I was hiking (also I hadn't figured out which color meant North on my compass!), and eventually sorted it out. I then went to Cub Lake, the Pool, and then the Fern Lake shuttle stop.

Saturday I climbed Flattop Mountain and met some people I had talked to near the Pool the day before. I should have tried Longs this day, because the weather was perfect, but I wanted to see the Continental Divide. I ended up following the people I had met to Hallett's Peak, which was a fun climb and a good introduction to something more "off the beaten path."

The weather was an issue Sunday--cloud ceiling around 12000-13000 feet and rainy, so I did Glacier Gorge. I saw some people proceeding further into the cirque at Black Lake, so I followed them and ended up about 1/2 way to Frozen Lake. Then I ran into the people I had met on Flattop the day before, and we decided that the weather was too nasty to keep going. I did get "stuck" at one point, descending a steep piece of rock near the route to Frozen Lake. I was on all 5s, but my boots weren't gripping the rock and I felt like I might fall. Luckily, I made it through with a bit of encouragement from the people I met. It wouldn't have been a disaster--I might have hit my head and rolled about 10 feet into the stream, rather than falling 1000', but it was sobering. Also, my toes had been hurting on all my hiking descents, but I tried running down the mountain and it worked! I figured I was using my foot in a different way and using my running muscles (which weren't being used to hike), and I had a second wind that way.

Monday the weather was nice, and it was my last day. I had to get the rental car back to DIA by 4 PM, but I was also tired so I slept in a bit and didn't get to the Longs Peak trailhead until 6:30 AM. I also hadn't gotten my pack together or put on my socks/boots, so I didn't start until 7 AM. But wow...I flew up that trail. I had more confidence about running on the trail, and I knew that I wasn't going to summit due to my earlier freak-out and the late hour. I reached the Boulderfield by 9:30 AM, and decided to turn around because I was worried about the car and a storm cloud that was forming right over my head. Little did I realize that the cloud was actually building on the East side of Longs Peak, so the dang thing was over my head the entire descent! I ran back down the mountain to the trail junction for Chasm Lake, and ended up deciding to climb to it because someone told me it was 15 mins tops. It ended up taking 1 hr, but I learned a lot about how to scramble there too and got some great views. Then I literally ran the entire trail back to the trailhead, arriving at 12:40 PM. I must have looked like a lunatic!

I had absolutely no altitude issues at any time, and ditto with my training hikes to San Gorgonio Peak (11500'?) and Mt. Whitney in June. Maybe I can do Longs next time...I'm hoping to apply for the Artists in Residence Program mentioned here, which would give me plenty of opportunity to do it!

Thanks for all the help!

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