Peak(s):  Fairchild Mtn  -  13,502 feet
Date Posted:  01/20/2013
Date Climbed:   01/19/2013
Author:  tlerunner
 Fairchild Mountain - Lawn Lakes Trail  

So far the winter of 2012-2013 has had very little snow fall. I have been taking advantage of that to climb some of the more remote peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. Two weeks ago I climbed Mummy Mountain.
View of Mummy Mountain, climbed that one two weeks ago

At that time the Lawn Lake trail had a great track put in most of the way to the Black Canyon Trail junction. Not much had changed since then so I figured that Fairchild could be done in a day.

I started hiking a little before 6 a.m. under the light of my headlamp. Microspikes were very helpful as there were at least four or so iceflows covering the trail. This was the largest, half-way across it really angled down hill. A slip here could lead to significant hurt.
One of several ice flows across the trail

Shortly after the last ice flow, the trail had been drifted over and it was time for snowshoes.
Time for snowshoes
This was shortly after the two campsites along the trail.

Soon I arrived at the Black Canyon Trail junction where two weeks ago I cut to the right. This time I went straight and walked on top of the Roaring River for 50 yards or so.
Roaring River covers the trail just past the Black Canyon trail junction

After the ice, I had about 3/4 of a mile of trail breaking to get to frozen Lawn Lake.
Frozen Lawn Lake

This is really a beautiful basin. I was up here two summers ago to fish. Did not catch anything but it was an enjoyable day nevertheless. I hiked along the side of the lake and soon Fairchild came into view.
Fairchild Mountain

It still looked far away but I still had plenty of time and the weather was spectacular. Not a cloud to be seen and the winds were light. As I started climbing up from the lake, I was unable to follow the trail but the snow was quite firm lending itself to easy travel. Came across some interesting snow sculptures.
Strange snow sculptures - Aliens?

Soon enough I made it to the saddle named "The Saddle." I wanted a less steep route to the summit so did not cut the left any earlier. Along the ride the view of the Desolation Peaks was impressive.
Desolation Peaks

I stopped to eat lunch part way up the ridge. Hot soup and Triskets was a great picnic in the park. Fueled up, I hike the remaining 300' or so to the summit. Here is a view of Hagues and Mummy.
Hagues and Mummy from the Summit

I reached the summit at 1:00 p.m. The temperatures were quite mild for January and the winds were light.
Thanks for reading!

The hike down was quite nice. I basically followed my tracks to Lawn Lake and picked up the trail. The sun went down shortly after the Ypsilon Lake trail junction so out came the headlamp. I arrived back at the trail head about 6 p.m. making for a 12 hour day. I you believe the RMNP sign at the Lawn Lake trail head, I hiked about 20 miles. I estimate just under 5000' of climb. Now to find some food.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Looks like a great day
01/20/2013 20:37
Love reading about these peaks in RMNP-those alien cairns were pretty cool-thanks for sharing!


01/20/2013 21:48
I wonder if they could be footprints from a previous hiker, packed down during their hike, and then the unpacked snow around them eroded from the wind? I seem to remember someone else's TR where that happened and it looked pretty weird. Nice job! That's a great area; I've been up there several times but never in the winter. It looks so much different. Thanks for sharing!


01/20/2013 23:28
Looks pretty sunny for a 01:00 summit.


01/20/2013 23:39
Oops, should be pm


01/21/2013 04:11
Impressive effort! That area takes awhile to get to in the summer. Winter would be extra tough. Thanks for sharing.


01/21/2013 05:37
Thats a long hike in winter but it looks like conditions are good. I've been thinking of trying this one in winter. Thanks for the report.

Ridge runner

Nice job
01/21/2013 21:11
Looks like you had a very rewarding day. I enjoyed your report and pictures - the one of Desolation Peaks is beautiful! Nice Blue Sky Marathon hat, by the way. That was a hot day.

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