Peak(s):  Hagues Pk  -  13,560 feet
Fairchild Mtn  -  13,502 feet
Mummy Mtn  -  13,425 feet
Date Posted:  04/01/2012
Modified:  07/08/2015
Date Climbed:   03/25/2012
Author:  kimo
Additional Members:   wooderson, Papillon, lordhelmut
 The Beauty of Madness: Bagging Mummies in the Park  

New dawn rises over the Mummy Range of Rocky Mountain National Park.

"What flavor ice cream do you want?"
"Then chocolate it shall be."

We stumble like walking dead through darkened forest, stuck in some kind of purgatory between Heaven and Hell. My feet burn as if walking on embers, while sweat pours from my scalp in a feeble attempt to douse the fire below. I push bad thoughts aside and dig deep to find a happy place. It's a fleeting moment as I dream of a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I fall over a twisted splintered tree and drop my ice cream into dirt. The dreaded madness returns like a five-alarm fever that just won't break.

"How are things going, Mr. Torrance?"
"Things could be better, Lloyd. Things could be a whole lot better."

The hallucination comes to an abrubt end - there is no ice cream for miles. We have only dirt, deadfall, and darkness ahead. Thirty pounds on my back feels like three hundred. Each step pushes through snow that swallows legs like quicksand. We are deep in the wilderness making a mad descent to civilization. The going is slow, laborious, and surreal. Headlamps cut through shadows. A quick flash of iridescent green between the trees; carnivore eyes on the hunt?

"God, I'd give anything for a drink. I'd give my god-damned soul for just a glass of beer."

I wipe my face with my sweat-soaked glove. Get a grip, man. It's almost over. A tiny sliver of moon shines through the humid haze like a blacklight. I'm on nature's dancefloor under a disco ball of stars. I put my head down and move a little faster. Kevin, Sarah, Brian, and myself - four souls in search of everything and nothing, moving across nature's stage, sharing this madening dance.

"I can remember when I was a little boy. My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it shining."

A car passes far in the distance. I want to stop and lay down, hold the ground, crawl the rest of the way. But we don't stop - we keep moving like the flood rushing down this valley. Out of control; one foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. And soon we find our vehicles playing a game of hide and seek in the dark. We don't have much interest in games. Lights flash on. Doors swing wide. Packs drop to concrete. Beers crack open. The fire is doused...the soul is comforted. We celebrate life. We had survived the fits of madness - The Mummy Madness.

All italicized quotations are from the movie The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, an adaptation of the Steven King novel inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The Beauty of Madness: Bagging Mummies in the Park

Hagues Peak - 13,560 feet
Fairchild Mountain - 13,502 feet
Mummy Mountain - 13,425 feet

Climb date: March 24 and 25, 2012
Trailhead name: Lawn Lake TH, approx. elevation 8,540 feet
Camp location: Camp Overlook Hotel at Lawn Lake, approx. elevation 11,000 feet
Total distance: Approx. 21 miles roundtrip (6.3 miles one way from TH to Lawn Lake)
Net vertical gain: Approx. 6,500 feet
Weather: Bright in day and dark at night (the new moon occurred just two nights previous)
Rocky Mountain NP homepage:

Map of our route.

Hagues Peak - 13,560 feet
Ranked 213 in Colorado elevation
2,420 feet of prominence
Difficulty: Class 3

Fairchild Mountain - 13,502 feet
Ranked 254 in Colorado elevation
922 feet of prominence
Difficulty: Class 2

Mummy Mountain - 13,425 feet
Ranked 304 in Colorado elevation
485 feet of prominence
Difficulty: Class 2

Captions on top of photos.

Going to the Sun. The first view of the Mummy Range from Highway 36 approaching Estes Park.

From left to right: Fairchild Mountain, Hagues Peak, and Mummy Mountain.

Approaching Estes Park.

We enter the park at the Beaver Meadows gate and continue towards the Lawn Lake trailhead. This view of the Mummy Range appears. From left to right, Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain, and Fairchild Mountain.

Fairchild Mountain seen from the east. A blue truck is parked at the Lawn Lake Trailhead below.

We park in the half-empty lot, shoulder our packs, and start up the trail at 11:30 am.

Good trail switchbacks up the mountainside.

Roaring River roared tragically on July 15, 1982, after the dam failure at Lawn Lake. Three campers were killed. The destruction remains terribly apparent. The story is here:

Mummy Mountain appears between the trees.

The snow through the trees becomes deep and soft. Travel is tiresome with 30-40 lb backpacks. The park ranger who issued our backcountry permit recommeded that we enter the Roaring River stream bed once the snow becomes too deep. We find a good location to drop in. Mummy Mountain beckons us.

We scramble over boulders while ascending the river bed.

The Roaring River flows softly. I find my first cascade for the year.

Passing clouds add texture to the rugged face of Mummy Mountain.

The snow deepens in the river bed as we get higher.

We continue toward Lawn Lake. Brian pushes through sans snowshoes. Kevin, Sarah, and I go to mechanical flotation.

The river bed turns west and steepens. This is the final push to Lawn Lake. Hagues Peak comes into view.

We arrive at Lawn Lake. The valley is immense. Fairchild Mountain is on the left, Hagues Peak is on the right. Further to the right, out of view, is Mummy Mountain.

Camp Overlook Hotel. Kevin and Sarah stamp out their tent platform.

The Deviants go on ice.

And soon we are relaxing by the side of the lake on a warm sunny day, unaware of the Madness that waits.

The south face of Mummy Mountain towers ominously above us. The huge stone blocks resemble glacial seracs ready to fall.

The sun goes down at 7 pm. I carry my tripod to the other side of the lake and snap a few photographs.

Two lovers made of stone.

We enjoy some spirits and libations, and then retire for the night.

I wake at first light. Alpenglow illuminates Fairchild Mountain.

It's not long before dawn pours down the mountaintops.

We eat a quick breakfast and quietly prepare for a big day. At 8 am, we start up the valley toward our first objective: Fairchild Mountain seen on the left.

We hike up a low-angle snowfield to access the upper basin.

The view back toward Lawn Lake.

The rugged north face of Fairchild Mountain dominates the skyline to our left.

A hanging lake pours out as ice.

We circle the frozen lake, stash our snowshoes, and then hike across golden grasses. This will all be green again.

We start the final push up Fairchild Mountain. The grass-covered slope turns to rock and snow.

We reach the top of an easy ascent. The view from the top is remarkable. Ypsilon Mountain and its impressive Blitzen Ridge are directly south. Beyond Ypsilon are numerous 12ers and 13ers that form the nucleous of the park. In the distance are the unmistakable profiles of Chiefs Head Peak, Pagoda Peak, Longs Peak, and Mount Meeker.

The rugged north face of Ypsilon Mountain.

Satiated by the view, we turn our attention to the north and our next objective: Hagues Peak. We head down towards the saddle.

Across the Void to our left are the twin summits of Desolation Peaks.

Hagues Peak looms ahead. My legs start to ache in anticipation.

We take a short break to rehydrate and eat, and then start up the south ridge of Hagues Peak.

Mummy Mountain watches every move.

We cross a low-angle snowfield.

Brian moves effortlessly over the rocky terrain and takes the lead.

We go higher.

And higher.

We make a few third-class moves here and there. It's a fun finish to Hagues Peak.

Lordhelmut eats this stuff up.

We traverse onto the face to avoid some difficult terrain on the ridge proper.

The beauty of Madness.

The view down slope.

We continue an ascending traverse across the face.

We reach the impressive summit block.

Near the top of Hauges Peak.

Brian finds a weakness on the left side. An awkward third-class shimmy or a straight-forward fourth-class move will gain the summit.

Sarah makes the move.

We are now on the expansive summit of Hagues Peak.

A neverending view.

I'd like to linger here and celebrate the summit but Mummy Mountain beckons.

We start toward our third peak of the day. The Madness has set in.

Our motivation takes a serious hit - the hike to Mummy Mountain involves side-hilling across broken talus. It is time-consuming and tedious. We approach the saddle with Mummy Mountain an hour after leaving Hagues Peak.

Mummy Mountain won't go down easy. A mess of large boulders guard the lower flank.

We scramble up and over the boulders, staying mindful of tippy rock.

Kevin approaches the summit.

The ridge peels away and the impressive vertical face of Mummy Mountain comes into view.

The summit of Mummy Mountain. Longs Peak is visible in the distance.

The view to the south is big.

The view to the northeast.

The view back toward Fairchild Mountain and Hagues Peak. We breath in the view like a sickness. The plan has been executed later than expected and now we must get down.

We descend back to the saddle with Hagues Peak. From the saddle, we make a descending traverse across mild slopes toward the hanging lake and our stashed snowshoes.

The big come down. It's 4:30 in the afternoon. We must break camp and pack out this evening.

I trickle like the creek towards Lawn Lake.

"Hey dude," says the rock, "part of being sane is being a little bit crazy."

The mood at camp is quiet from exhaustion. Today has been long, and unfortunately, we are only half-way home. The thought of packing out this night is madening. We tear down Camp Overlook Hotel as an ominous grey cloud moves overhead.

We put on our snowshoes, shoulder our full packs, and begin to descend. The snow in the trees is like wet cement.

The soft snow swallows a whole leg with every other step. The mountain does not intend to relent. I struggle to keep my head in the game.

And soon the sun leaves us to the denizens of the dark. (These are two headlamps moving through the dark.)

We work our way through a neverending maze of trees. Kevin leads us through the gauntlet with the Madness hot on our trail.

"It's amazing how fast you get used to such a big place. I tell you, when we first came up here I thought it was kinda scary."

It's the beautiful madness - The Mummy Madness.

 Comments or Questions

Amazing report!
04/01/2012 22:09
Absolutely loved this report. Really look forward to getting up in that area soon. Awesome pictures and a really unique report. Looks like you guys had a great trip despite going Mad


Great Photo #1
04/02/2012 00:15
That photo captures the raw essence of northern RMNP, especially this time of year: solitude.

PS I've searched high and low and still can't figure out how to code for select images to appear large. Any suggestions?


Deviant satisfaction.
04/02/2012 00:47
I have been forced to sit the sidelines for 3 months and am somewhat filled with dread about the prospects of getting to elevation again and wondering what the heck I am doing going on and on and on and for what.... For the looking back and saying, ”I wouldn't have it any other way.” Thanks for the ride.


04/02/2012 02:41
TR. Usually I just skim the photos. You're photos are great, but your writing really draws the reader in! Very well done.


The Helmut on Snowshoes!?!?! Say it ain't so!
04/02/2012 14:44
Incredible trip guys, nice selection of the lesser travelled this time of year. Kimo, are you joining us in the Sangres this month?


Deviant indeed ... madness not so much.
04/02/2012 16:18
More like obsession and obstinacy. Beautiful photos, Kimo; the colors are wonderful. This trip report is a good reminder that the man and I need to head back up there and get Mummy and Hagues. We went up that trail the summer following the flood ... the devastation was amazing. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Thanks for sharing
04/02/2012 17:53
I really liked this report, I climbed Mummy Mt in a day years ago and wished I wouldv'e taged the rest. It was a super long single day hike and your report inspires me to go back camp and get the rest. Good Work


Thanks for the invite, dude...
04/02/2012 18:42
It was a great 33 hours. I'm just glad Helmut didn't pull a Charles Grady on us up there with his new anti-bear knife. That thing is F-I-E-R-C-E.

What's next?


Too bad Dick Holloran
04/02/2012 19:26
Wasn't waiting at the TH for us with a meal from Ed's.

Despite missing our infamous feast and settling for McDonald's, this was a classic, Rocky Mtn adventure. Hell of a report Kimo, glad to finally get out with you.


All work and no play....
04/02/2012 19:56
The hike out was pretty brutal, but overall the weekend was definitely more “play” than “work” (as just about any weekend in the hills is, especially with great partners, beautiful surroundings and tasty beverages).

So glad we joined you on this trip! Looking forward to the next round of madness…

@Floyd: It was rather painful to see helmut have to resort to slowshoes. But in his defense, he avoided putting them on until the bitter end.


March (Mummy) Madness, indeed!
04/03/2012 00:06
Great job, guys!! And another exceptional report with outstanding photos, Kimo! A trip down memory lane for me! I've been back there several times and did that trio as a dayhike (although separates ones, each!) But it's great to see the area in a colder season. One of the best flower displays I ever came across was along that trail just above Lawn Lake.

I suppose you're in no hurry to go back to Holy Cross, Kimo, now that you did it recently. Was hoping to see and experience your marvelous perspective on the Halo Ridge. Some day maybe...

Thanks again for putting in your time to put these together and sharing with us!


some shots
04/03/2012 03:29
The Crew :



04/03/2012 03:53
Well...I guess the madness had TRULY set in by that I'm not so sorry I couldn't meet up with you guys. Nice pics as usual. Brought back some good memories of when llamaman and I toured the range. Beautiful area. Congrats!


Thank you for your kind comments...
04/06/2012 14:00
I couldn't take pictures in the dark on the wild descent so I thought I'd try my hand at writing about the experience. I'm very happy that so many here enjoyed reading about it. Your comments are much appreciated.

As Sarah said, all-in-all, the trip was an absolute blast. I want to thank Sarah, Kevin, and Brian for making it so. Beautiful mountain, quiet solitude, and great partners made for an adventure that I won't soon forget. Thanks partners!


07/17/2012 13:18
A story of perseverance………full of beautiful photos and words as you continue on your adventures with your friends. This trip is considered Epic in my book. Congratulations to you all.

Apologies for the belated comment – the heart knows nothing of time - at times.

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