Peak(s):  Chapin, Mt (12460)
Chiquita, Mt  -  13,069 feet
Ypsilon Mtn  -  13,514 feet
Fairchild Mtn  -  13,502 feet
Hagues Pk  -  13,560 feet
Rowe Mtn  -  13,184 feet
Rowe Pk  -  13,420 feet
Gibraltar Mtn (13300)
Mummy Mtn  -  13,425 feet
Dunraven, Mt (12571)
Date Posted:  07/12/2020
Date Climbed:   07/10/2020
Author:  timewarp01
 Massacring the Mummies   

The infamous Mummy Mania route has been hanging in the back of my head ever since I started hiking and climbing seriously in RMNP but it wasn't until this year that I got to a point in my physical and mental training that I felt like I might actually be up to the task. I've been in and around the Mummy Range a number of times in the past years but had yet to tackle the central cluster of peaks. There were also quite a few less obtrusive peaks that I wanted to check off my list so I spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with ways to link mountains together. The idea behind Mummy Mania is to knock out an entire mountain range in one go, so it seemed in keeping with the spirit of the hike to add on as many of the smaller summits that could be reasonably included into one big traverse. I had originally intended to save this one for a bit later in the year so the rest of the lingering snow fields would be gone, but recent opening of Old Fall River Road and the absolutely perfect weather forecast this weekend was too tempting to pass up. I left Boulder around 2:30 am and started my trek from the Chapin Pass TH just before 5.

Sunrise over the Desolation group on the way up the CCY trail

I quickly made it up to the first summit of the day, Mt. Chapin (12,460'). I chose to hike the trail all the way to the saddle before cutting up to the top, the hiking is easier and you can do it pretty fast.

Local sunrise from Chapin, looking east over Chiquita's limb

Next up was Mt. Chiquita (13,075'), RMNP's lowest 13er. The trail is easy to follow and quickly gives way to easy rubble as you get onto the summit block.

Mummy Mtn looking impossibly far away from Chiquita, with Ypsilon at left. Mummy would be my 9th summit of the day and I definitely had some doubts I was going to make it that far
A great view of the iconic Blitzen Ridge

The hike from Chiquita to Ypsilon Mtn (13,520') isn't bad, but the trail becomes hard to follow pretty quickly and you end up just taking the path of least resistance up the scree. There are a few false summits before the top, but soon enough I was standing atop the first major checkpoint for the day. Moving beyond Ypsilon basically meant committing to exiting at a different TH from the one I'd started at, necessitating a pickup or car shuttle. From here on out the terrain would also get more difficult, with no trail and lots of Class 3 and 4 for the next four miles or so. I ate a quick bite and began down Ypsilon's winding north ridge toward the imposing Fairchild Mtn (13,508').

Following the ridge toward Fairchild. I stayed low off the ridge to avoid most of the snow

As you lose elevation off Ypsilon the going gets slower as you move onto huge talus fields. Many of the rocks are loose and will shift or settle under your feet, so you have to be pretty careful. I would have liked to stay on the ridgeline, but there was enough snow still lying around that I moved east to save some time.

Looking northwest at East Desolation Peak, one of my favorite hikes in the whole park

Finally I reached the saddle and began moving up the south slope of Fairchild Mtn. The summit is ringed by a steep cliff band that can be bypassed through a large, loose gulley in the southwest face.

The best way to access the summit block is to pick a line that goes in between the two large outcroppings near the center of this image

Once above the cliffs, the summit is an easy walk over stable talus

I made it to the top of Fairchild around 8 am, and took some time to eat and relax. It was warming up pretty quickly but there was a strong wind blowing in from the west so I kept my windbreaker on. The view from Fairchild is absolutely incredible; it's centered in the heart of the Mummy Range and overlooks huge valleys in all directions.

Looking back at Ypsilon from Fairchild

Soon enough it was time to press on. The next obstacle is the intimidating Hagues Peak (13,570'), which would be the technical crux of the route. Like Ypsilon-Fairchild, the ridge to Hagues has a very deep saddle that requires losing more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain that must then be immediately regained. The hike down Fairchild's north face is easy and stable tundra, a nice change from all the loose stuff.

Looking north toward Hagues
Mummy Mtn standing sentinel over Lawn Lake from the Hagues saddle

The ascent up Hagues' south ridge starts easy enough, with a series of small humps that get increasingly steeper and more rocky. About 500 feet below the top, the ridge narrows and becomes a series of jagged protrusions that can either be scrambled or bypassed over talus to the east. I opted to stay as near to the ridge direct as possible, picking a line over easy 4th class that occasionally touched the extreme exposure over the west side of the ridgeline.

Fun 4th class on the summit ridge. A less exposed line could easily be found along the top of the snow field at right

The nice thing about Hagues is there are no false summits; once you make it up over the last pinnacle you're on top! There's a small weather station and a BLM benchmark overlooking the Lawn Lake valley.

Looking southwest to Mummy Mtn from Hagues Pk

From Hagues you have two options: scramble the ridge direct to Rowe Peak (13,404'), or hike north down the face and circle Rowe Lake to access its east ridge. The ridge looked fun, but I hadn't done any research into that particular stretch and didn't know if I'd be able to get around the big gendarme in the middle. I didn't want to risk having to backtrack because at this point I was starting to feel the effects of all the elevation gain on this hike.

Rowe Lake is apparently the third highest named lake in the continental US
Viewing the Hagues ridge from the summit of Rowe Mtn

From Rowe Mtn it's a short half mile walk over to Rowe Mountain (13,404'), a soft ranked peak that overlooks Hague Creek and the western valleys of RMNP. This was peak number 6 for the day, which meant I was halfway done. Most of the elevation gain was thankfully behind me, but I hadn't yet hit the halfway point in terms of mileage. I didn't spend too much time on top because the wind was pretty brutal on the west side. I tagged the summit and quickly bee-lined over a mixture of talus and tundra to Gibraltar Mountain (13,300').

Looking back at Rowe Lake from the top of Gibraltar

After Gibraltar I had to make my way back over to the east shoulder of Hagues to access Mummy Mountain (13,425'), the eponymous peak of the range. I tried to contour around the south slope of Gibraltar to avoid losing any elevation. It was here that I ran into the only people I would see that day; two hikers who had camped at Lawn Lake and were dayhiking Mummy and Hagues.

Gibraltar Mtn from the east shoulder of Hagues

I gradually gained elevation again until I found a good spot to cross over the ridge and start moving directly toward Mummy Mtn. I've climbed Mummy before from the other side; it looks a lot sharper from this angle!

Mummy from the Hagues ridgeline

Getting up Mummy's summit block was pretty miserable. I had been above 12,000 feet for the last 8 hours and the miles were taking their toll. It was worth it though; the view from the top is second to none in the park.

Chiquita, Ypsilon, and Fairchild over Crystal Lake from the summit of Mummy Mtn
Looking south, the Longs Peak group and the peaks of the Continental Divide over Lawn Lake

Mummy is the 6th and last summit of the traditional Mummy Mania hike, but unfortunately for me there were still three more mountains I wanted to knock out. I had tried to tackle them earlier in the year, but seasonal road closures and trailhead closures due to COVID had thwarted those attempts. Adding them on to the end of this hike was no small ask; their inclusion meant that Mummy was only the halfway point for the total mileage.

Looking north to my final three goals for the day

Descending off Mummy was easy at first, but soon forced me to cross a huge snow field that had gotten pretty soft in the afternoon sun. Once past that I trudged to the top of the tallest of my three remaining peaks, Mount Dunraven (12,571').

Looking west from Dunraven, Gibraltar at center

From Dunraven I was just following the highest line on the wide ridge to the next high point, the unranked 'Dundicking' (12,312'). The going got easier as the terrain became more grassy, but the tundra always gave way to blocky talus hopping near the top.

Looking east from Dundicking at my last summit, Mt. Dickinson

The last stretch of ridge to Mount Dickinson (11,836') was a lot longer than it looked on the map. The talus gave way to annoying scree fields punctuated by larger gendarmes that poke out of the gravel. After what seemed like an eternity, I was standing on top of my 12th and last peak of the day.

From Dickinson, looking north to the Stormy Peaks group

Relieved to finally be done with any real elevation gain, I took a long break and refueled for the next obstacle, which proved to be even worse than I had anticipated. From Dickinson, you have two options: descend south to meet the faint and poorly maintained Husted trail, which takes you southwest to the McGraw Ranch trailhead, or head northwest to meet the North Fork trail along the Big Thompson River. I opted for the latter route in an attempt to save some mileage, but that turned out to be a mistake. The bushwhack off Dickinson was one of the worst I've ever experienced; an endless slog of incredibly dense bushes and brambles that quickly turns into thick forest filled to the brim with deadfall. It didn't help that in that solid mile of misery also had nearly 1,200 feet of elevation loss, making the descent uncomfortably steep and brutal on my already tired knees. To add insult to injury, when the slope finally relents and you reach the valley floor, you have to cross several hundred feet of marshy reeds to reach the river and finally get on the trail. Thankfully I'd thought to bring extra socks.

Meeting up with the North Fork trail at last! From here it's an 'easy' six miles to the Dunraven TH

The hike out was on a very well-kept, gentle trail, but it felt like it would never end. I'm glad I was able to finally knock this hike out, but I can say with certainty that I'm never doing that particular route again. I hobbled my way out to meet my pickup at the Dunraven TH around 6pm; it had taken me nearly 14 hours to hike 22.8 miles with nearly 8,000 feet of elevation gain. It'll probably be a long time before I go back to the Mummy Range again!

Map of the final route, interactive version here

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Mummy mania "stretch" version
07/13/2020 09:48
Yep that's what you did! Not sure many Mummy Mania folks
have added peaks like Dunraven or Dickinson to their itinerary
but it was gutsy of you to do so. You documented your hike
with a nice narrative and great pics. I really enjoyed it.

One minor observation (as has been noted in other TRs
involving Hagues Peak): the consensus seems to be that the
equipment on Hagues' summit is a signal repeater for the
Park Rangers' radios.

nice haul
07/13/2020 10:11
way to push through all the extras, and that bushwhack at the end. FWIW, the east ridge through the trees from Dickinson is a much easier bushwhack, staying on the ridgeline, to pick up the North Boundary trail. Husted trail is actually in decent shape most of the way, especially below the burn. And you picked a good exit point at Dunraven TH vs Cow Creek - that ~800ft climb up the pass towards the end would be even more brutal. You still had a bit of uphill at the end of North Fork, but not as bad.

I think another variation of the Mummy Traverse is to go north to Comanche Peak or as far north as you feel if you have a ride waiting at one of those trailheads. Probably a bit longer, don't know of anyone doing that in one push, although I know someone who was considering it with a bivy, at least the terrain and grades are gentler.

descending Dickinson
07/15/2020 16:57
cougar: good to know about Dickinson's east ridge; I had intended to hit those three earlier this year from that side, but RMNP kept the McGraw Ranch TH closed during the first phase of reopening. I think I read about adding the Comanche group to the Mummy Mania in Rossiter's guidebook. If I remember correctly he even mentioned looping back and hitting the Desolation group to end back at Chapin Pass. I think I'm gonna pass on that one!

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