Peak(s):  Mummy Mtn  -  13,425 feet
Fairchild Mtn  -  13,502 feet
Hagues Pk  -  13,560 feet
Rowe Mtn  -  13,184 feet
Rowe Pk  -  13,420 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2020
Modified:  08/30/2020
Date Climbed:   06/27/2020
Author:  nmedica
 Busted Mummy Traverse  

Overview:
The idea started when a contact of mine mentioned that the Mummy Range northwest of Estes Park was his favorite part of RMNP. I had never heard of it before. Immediately I looked up different routes and lines in the range. I had heard of Blitzen Ridge and Y Couloir on Ypsilon, but I had never checked to see where they were on a map, nor did I know they were within the RMNP boundary lines. The trail miles leading up to the SW slopes of Mummy Mountain looked "plod-able" and the SW slopes looked solid. After reviewing a few trip reports, it became apparent that a traverse of the range would, in fact, be possible. I asked a friend to join, and two weeks later we were wheels down at '5:00am on a Saturday' (shout out to "Always Sunny in Philadelphia").

The day started off with my hiking partner stating she did not run uphill (fair enough for our first time hiking together and a huge day in front of us). We settled into a nice hiker's pace with light trail running packs and trail runners. That said, I had carbo-loaded the night before, and it was SUPER challenging to not jog such great highway trail mileage early in the morning to save us time for the 50% forecasted post-noon thunderstorms. The trail miles flew by and the SW slopes of Mummy Mountain could not be more stable and fun to hike up. We found ourselves on the Summit of Mummy Mountain at 8:45am (~3:45 in elapsed time). The next step was a traverse over to Hagues Peak with a planned drop down into the North Fork of Hagues/Rowe Peak to go tag three peaks. In my opinion the drop-down and small loop to bag the three peaks would not be worth it, but I was committed to the "GPX" line. Knowing the scree fields would be tedious and slow, I asked my hiking partner (moving slower and content with keeping the pace/day more mellow) to head over to Hagues and skip the scree fields of Gibraltar Peak (13,399 and not listed on 14ers.com), Rowe Mountain, and Rowe Peak. She agreed.

My assumption was validated; I will skip the scree fields of Gibraltar and the Rowe's when I go back to try the traverse for a second time.

~2 hours later I met my hiking partner on the Summit of Hagues, and the clouds were rolling in. The downclimb off Hagues proved to be challenging sans crampons, so we traversed back toward Gibraltar, dropped down and cut back under the SE face of Hagues (screen and block laden 40-60 degree slope) and then down to "The Saddle." At this point, the clouds were really building, but we wanted to go tag Fairchild Mountain and look West to see if we should continue the traverse based on weather. I've never experienced it (probably because I bail at the smell of thunder), but I've heard you don't want to be on a ridge/summit up high in a thunderstorm. The climb up Fairchild was relatively uneventful minus some mellow snowfield slipping and sliding in trail runners. Climbers' right of the slope was much easier, and I recommend that line. After obtaining the Summit of Fairchild and looking over to Ypsilon, Mount Chaquita, and Mount Chapin (final planned summits of the traverse) we determined the right call was to descend "The Saddle Trail" back to our car due to a combination of our pace and the building clouds.

I'm glad we descended "The Saddle Trail." It was absolutely gorgeous, and we would have never seen the East Face of Fairchild or the gorgeous panoramic view of Longs Peak beyond Lawn Lake. I've hiked and climbed pretty extensively in the US, and Lawn Lake and its views are a memorable spot. I highly recommend a camping/hiking trip to the area if nothing else - you will not be disappointed. At any rate, 8 miles and 4K of descent later we found ourselves back at the car for a ~25mile | ~8K gain | ~11hour day (orange line on topo). I plan on going back and completing the traverse, as it was a special range, and I believe cutting out the scree slog and carrying a faster pace in good weather will make the day and even more enjoyable experience.

Notes:
  • We were planning on exiting the traverse at the Chapin Pass Trailhead and running Falls River Road back down to the car at the Lawn Lake Trailhead
    • ~8 miles and 2K decent (purple line on the topo)
    • We missed out on ~2K gain | ~7K descent | ~6miles to the Chapin Pass Trailhead (blue line on the topo)
  • Falls River Road
    • One way westbound, and it was not open on 6.27.20
    • The opening date varies year-to-year based on the snowpack and NPS's ability to get the road opened
    • If you just want to do the traverse and not run the 8 miles back to your car; it would be helpful for the road to be open and
  • Trail Ridge Road
    • Trail Ridge Road must also be open to gain Chapin Pass and Lawn Lake Trailheads
    • Falls River Road is off of Trail Ridge Road, so it too needs to be open to access the trailheads

  • Parking Options

Pictures:

20266_01
Early morning trail miles heading up to Lawn Lake via the Lawn Lake Trail


20266_02
Looking back from the turn to gain southern slopes of Mummy Mountain


20266_03
South Slopes of Mummy Mountain. They are completely runnable if you're so inclined...


20266_04
View from the summit of Mummy Mountain looking over to the Y Couloir of Ypsilon.


20266_07
Looking at the North Face of Hagues from Rowe Peak


20266_08
Looking up the talus filled South Face of Hagues Peak


20266_09
Looking back at the West Face of Hagues from "The Saddle."


20266_10
Looking over to Ypsilon from the summit of Fairchild Mountain.


20266_11
This view was almost worth the bail - hiking out via "Black Canyon Trail."


20266_12
Fairchild Mountain's East Shoulder with Lawn Lake at the bottom. You can see Fairchild Mountain's East Face in the distance.


20266_13
Glorious trail miles back to the car via the Lawn Lake Trail. Longs Peak in the distance.




My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13


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