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Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,259 feet
Mt. Meeker  -  13,916 feet
McHenrys Peak  -  13,330 feet
Chiefs Head Peak  -  13,577 feet
Mt. Alice  -  13,319 feet
Isolation Peak  -  13,114 feet
Fairchild Mountain  -  13,509 feet
Mummy Mountain  -  13,420 feet
Ypsilon Mountain  -  13,513 feet
Pagoda Mountain  -  13,488 feet
Date Posted:  10/30/2023
Date Climbed:   09/18/2023
Author:  illusion7il
 SOLO Day Hiking the RMNP 92   

SOLO Day Hiking the Rocky Mountain National Park 92

East Inlet Trail on 8-4-2022

About RMNP Rocky Mountain National Park covers 415 square miles and is home to 92 ranked peaks (A peak with at least 300 feet of prominence) The park lies just north of the Indian Peaks Wilderness area and south of the Neota, and Comanche Peak Wilderness areas. I calculated that there are 46 peaks that are best accessed from the west side of the park, 13 peaks mainly along the continental divide that can be done from the east or the west, but expect longer approaches from the west, and 36 peaks that are best accessed from the east side of the park. The East Troublesome Creek fire started on October 14 2020, but one week later the fire exploded and went on one of the most raging runs in Colorado fire history. On October 21, high winds sent the 25,000 acre fire racing at a rate of 6,000 acres per hour. By the next day, it had grown to 125,000 acres, burning through the town of Grand Lake, and into Rocky Mountain National Park, leaving dozens of charred homes and other buildings in its path. The fire actually jumped ever the Continental Divide near Sprague Pass at 11,750 feet above treeline and started to burn towards the town of Estes park where it was then put out. I had a front row seat from my home when the fire exploded, but was never evacuated.

Front row seats when the fire exploded on 10-21-2020

The Inspiration I've lived in Granby since the summer of 2017, and have had this idea for years, and because I had to get some other goals out of the way, I really had not seen much of the park until now. Lauren got me a Rocky Mountain National Park map by Outdoor trail maps. We went through Lists of John and marked every single peak. My goal was to complete all of the ranked peaks in the same style that I completed the 14ers, Centennials, Bicentennials, Indian Peaks, and that was to do them all solo and complete the routes as single day hikes from the trailheads without the traditional method of backpacking and use of a high camp, but I think it's safe to say that most people don't camp for these peaks anyway. For this project I decided to implement a new rule, and that was to never use a headlamp. While I have done plenty of hiking in the dark, I realized that if I planned my routes correctly and only hiked on fair weather days, I wouldn't have the need for a headlamp. But of course I always carried one just in case. The most difficult ranked peak in the park is The Sharkstooth, which is rated 5.4, so I didn't even know if it would be possible to complete this project on my own.

The Red Tape Easy access from the town of Estes Park makes this National Park an incredibly busy place, especially in the summertime. In 2020 they implemented a timed entry reservation system from 9am to 2pm to the enter park, and 5am to 6pm to access the Bear Lake corridor. However, if you're going to be climbing peaks, you'll most likely want to be in the park or even at the trailhead before the timed entry system anyway. I actually never had a reservation for this entire project. I would strongly advise getting to the Glacier Gorge or Bear Lake trailheads by 4:45am as the lot will likely be full by 5:00am. For a more enjoyable experience it's really best to not drive through the park anytime between the hours of 9am and 6pm or plan on getting stuck behind a bunch of tourists and people taking selfies. The line at the gates on the east side can literally be hours long. Another thing to check for is all of the closures within the park as some areas will be closed for Raptor nesting, burn areas, and wildlife closures. I did my best to obey all the rules, but it's hard to keep up with all of it, so I may have missed something along the way. For some reason, the park has made it more difficult to purchase a National Park pass, as they no longer sell them at the visitor centers. You can only purchase a pass at the entrance gates, but the problem is that the line at the gates are long, and when there is no line, it usually means there is no one at the gate to sell you one.

This place has got to be a paradise for the life of an Elk

Class rating and the YDS YDS stands for the Yosemite Decimal System which is used to give climbers a general idea of the difficulty of the climb, however these ratings can really vary from one area to another.

  • Class 1 : trail hiking
  • Class 2: off trail hiking
  • Class 3: scrambling, use of hands for upward movement
  • Class 4: climbing use of hand hold that you will need to look for and test
  • Class 5: technical rock climbing usually done with protective gear, but sometimes free soloed depending on the climbers comfort level
There should be a rating system for bushwhacking which is necessary to access many peaks within RMNP

Calendar of Climbs This report covers all 92 ranked peaks, 28 unranked peaks, 5 alpine climbs, 8 epic bike rides, and a few side adventures as well. For references, I used Listsofjohn.com, Richard Rossiter's RMNP guidebook as well as Derek Wolfe's Front Range 13er guidebook. I also included a people stat that says approximately how many people I actually saw on the mountain while I was up there to give a sense of how few people actually climb these mountains. I do not count the people I see on the approach or hanging out in the basin below.

  • 6-16-22
  • Mount. Ida (#1) & Chief Cheley Peak (Unranked) & PT 12,820 (#2) & “Cracktop” (Unranked) & Mount. Julian (#3)
  • Trailhead – Milner Pass
  • Route – Ida – Julian Tour (Class 3)
  • Miles – 14
  • Gain – 4,700
  • Start – 9:25am Ida – 11:25 Chief – 12:00 PT 12,820 – 12:30 Cracktop – 12:40 Julian – 1:55 End – 6:00pm
  • Total - 8:35
  • People – about a dozen on Ida

Notes: Mt. Ida is one of the few peaks that actually has a trail to the top. From the summit of Ida, I followed the ridge all the way to Mt. Julian and due to snow, I returned the same way.

Mount Ida summit view

  • 6-20-22
  • Jackstraw Mountain (#4) & "Gray Jay Mountain” (#5)
  • Trailhead – Timber Lake
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 14
  • Gain – 3,700
  • Start – 9:00am Jackstraw – 11:20 Gray Jay – 1:05 End – 2:30pm
  • Total – 5:30
  • People – 0

Notes: I took the Timber Lake Trail to 10,700 feet where I left the trail and ascended the steep south slopes to the summit of Jackstraw Mountain. I then returned to the Timber Lake Trail where I left it again at 10,200 feet and took the primitive trail into Long Meadows. It was a nasty bushwhack up the northeast slopes with down trees, patches of drifted snow and swampy areas to the summit of Gray Jay Mountain.

Jackstraw Mountain summit viewing the Never Summer Range and the Speciman Mountains

  • 6-28-22
  • Fall River Pass Mountain” (Unranked) & Marmot Point (#6) & Mt Chaplin (#7) & Mt Chiquita (Unranked) & Ypsilon Mountain (#8) & Fairchild Mountain (#9) & Desolation Peaks West (Unranked) & Desolation Peaks East (#10)
  • Trailhead – Alpine Visitor Center
  • Route – Multiple (Class 4)
  • Miles – 18
  • Gain – 7,300
  • Start – 6:10am Fall River – 6:20 Marmot Point – 6:40 Chaplin -7:50 Chiquita – 8:40 Ypsilon – 9:25 Fairchild – 11:00 Desolation West -1:15 Desolation East – 2:05 End – 5:20pm
  • Total – 11:10
  • People – 0

Notes- From the Alpine Visitor Center, it's an easy ridge line and wide open tundra hiking all the way to the summit of Ypsilon Mountain. From the saddle of Ypsilon and Fairchild, I stayed ridge proper (Class 2+) to the summit of Fairchild Mountain. On the return I stayed 200 feet below the ridge which made the return back to the saddle a little quicker. I then followed the ridge line over to the Desolation peaks which is where the real fun began. The traverse from Desolation West to East is a maze of elephant rocks to get through, over and around. The summit block of Desolation Peaks East has a couple of exposed, but fun class four moves. The traverse back to Desolation West went a little quicker and for the return I descended southwest to 11,600 and contoured just above treeline over Chaplin Pass and back to the visitor center.

On the ridge to Desolation Peaks East with Fairchild (R) and Hagues (L)

  • 7-5-22
  • Cascade Mountain (Outside the Park)
  • Trailhead – North Supply
  • Miles – 10
  • Gain – 2,000
  • Total – 3:40
  • Additional Party - my kids Xander and Xia

Notes: From the North Supply trailhead, it's a nice hike on the Blue Ridge Trail through a burn area.

Coming down from the summit of Cascade Mountain

  • 7-22-22
  • Nutcracker Peak” (#11) & “Confluence Peak” (#12)
  • Trailhead – Milner Pass
  • Miles – 15
  • Gain – 2,300
  • Start – 9:15am Nutcracker - 11:45 Confluence - 1:05 End – 3:40pm
  • Total – 6:25
  • People – 0

Notes: After a couple of miles the Poudre River Trail becomes hard to follow. The runoff from above makes crossing the meadows wet and swampy. I left the trail at 10,300 and bushwhacked to the summit of Nutcracker and Confluence Peak. Most of it was a nasty, wet and soggy bushwhack with tons of down trees. Saw four moose along the way.

On the approach to Nutcracker Peak

  • 8-4-22
  • Mount Wescott (#13)
  • Trailhead – East Inlet
  • Route – South Ridge (Class 2+)
  • Miles – 10.5
  • Gain – 2,400
  • Start – 7:05am Summit – 9:55 End – 12:25pm
  • Total – 5:25
  • People – 0

Notes: Wescott is now a newly ranked peak due to changes in elevations via Lidar. At 3.75 miles, I left the East Inlet Trail, and it was a nasty and steep bushwhack with tons of down trees, swampy areas, and rock slabs to navigate around. Mamma bear and her three cubs were also making the ascent. The terrain eased where I accessed the south ridge and made a couple of class 2+ moves to the summit. I returned the same way.

Mount Wescott summit view

  • 8-5-22
  • Bowen Baker Loop
  • Trailhead – Bowen Baker
  • Route – Counter Clockwise
  • Miles – 17
  • Gain – 4,000
  • Total – 5:45
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Listed on Hiking Project as Baker Gulch to Bowen Lake this was a very enjoyable three pass loop with about half of it on runable trail. On the ascent of the Baker Gulch Trail near treeline, we literally walked right past a bull moose that was laying under a tree within five feet of the trail but it didn't seem to have any interest in us. We skipped the out and back to Bowen Lake which cuts about three miles off the route.

Heading towards Bowen Pass

  • 8-6-22
  • Cascade Lollipop
  • Trailhead – North Supply
  • Route - Clockwise
  • Miles – 15.5
  • Gain – 3,600
  • Total – 5:40
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Blue Ridge Trail to Bowen Pass to the Bowen Lake trail. This is also a very enjoyable loop on mostly runable trail. We tagged the summit of Cascade Mountain, but the trail also goes right past Ruby Mountain so it's best to get both of them along the way.

Bowen Lake with Cascade Mountain

  • 9-1-22
  • Mount Craig (#14) & “Fleur de Lis” (#15)
  • Trailhead – East Inlet
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 20
  • Gain – 5,250
  • Start – 8:30am Craig – 12:10 “Fleur de Lis” - 1:15 End – 4:55pm
  • Total – 8:25
  • People – 0

Notes: I took the trail to 10,200 where I left it and ascended the northeast slopes to the summit of Mount Craig. I then followed the ridge line to the summit of Fleur de Lis. I descended northeast and down a very steep gully back down to the East Inlet Trail.

Picking my way up the northeast slopes of Mount Craig

  • 9-7-22
  • Ptarmigan Mountain (#16) & Andrews Peak (#17) & Ptarmigan's Beak (#18)
  • Trailhead – East Inlet
  • Route – South Slopes (Class 2)
  • Miles – 19
  • Gain – 5,500
  • Start – 8:35am Ptarmigan – 12:20 Andrews – 1:20 Ptarmigan's Beak – 2:10 End – 4:55pm
  • Total – 8:25
  • People – 0

Notes: Back up the East Inlet drainage again. I love this trail! I left the trail at 9,400 and it was another nasty bushwhack following the creek up to the south slopes and to the summit of Ptarmigan Mountain. I then followed the ridge line over to the summit of Andrew's and Ptarmigan's Beak. It was a rough descent south, back down to the East Inlet Trail.

Ptarmigan Mountain summit viewing the ridge to Ptarmigans Beak with Mount Alice, Tanima Peak, and Isolation Peak behind

  • 9-12-22
  • Never Summer Peak” (#19) & Lead Mountain (#20) & “Hart Ridge” (unranked) & Mount. Cirrus (#21) & Howard Mountain (#22) & Mt Cumulus (#23) & Mount Nimbus (#24) & Red Mountain (unranked)
  • Trailhead – Colorado River
  • Route – Multiple (Class 3)
  • Miles – 16
  • Gain – 6,750
  • Start – 8:50am Never Summer - 11:30 Lead – 12:15 Hart Ridge – 1:05 Cirrus – 1:45 Howard – 2:15 Cumulus – 3:50 Nimbus – 4:45 Red – 6:00 End – 7:15pm
  • Total – 10:25
  • People – 0

Notes: At this point, I've lived and Granby for five years and have been looking out my window at the Never Summer Range everyday, and it was finally time to go summit a few of them. Colorado River Trail to Red Mountain up to the Grand Ditch, to the Lake of Clouds Trail. I left the Lake of Clouds Trail at 10,800 and ascended the south slopes to the summit of Never Summer Peak. I then followed the class three east ridge to the summit of Lead Mountain. It was a long and time consuming ridge traverse with a lot of rock hopping all the way to Mount Nimbus. I then descended east and followed the ridge to Red mountain where I continued my descent down the east slopes and back down to the Red Mountain Trail.

Lead Mountain Summit viewing the ridge to Howard Mountain with Lake of Clouds below

  • 9-19-22
  • Mount Alice (#25) & Tanima Peak (#26)
  • Trailhead – East Inlet
  • Route – Class 2+
  • Miles – 23
  • Gain – 5,850
  • Start – 8:45am Alice – 1:10 Tanima – 2:10 End – 5:40pm
  • Total – 8:55
  • People – 0

Notes: I took the trail 8.5 miles near Fourth Lake where I left the trail (there isn't much of a trail at this point anyway) and bushwhacked up to the tundra and to the summit of Mount Alice. It was an easy traverse on mostly tundra with some rock hopping over to the summit of Tanima Peak. I then descended down the northwest slopes and made my way back down to the East Inlet Trail.

Mount Alice Summit with Chiefs Head, Pagoda, and Longs Peak behind

  • 9-24-22
  • Human Potential Running Series (HPRS) Sangre De Cristo Ultras
  • Trailhead – Music Meadows
  • Distance – 50K (30.06 miles)
  • Gain – 7,173
  • Total – 7:16
  • Additional Party – Brad McQueen, Andrew Gagnon, Ross Gary + 21

Notes: I finally participated in my first race. A week before the race I wasn't even sure if I was gonna go. I then found out that McQueen and Gagnon were going to be there so I showed up. Chatting with them before the race they were telling me that I was going to be so much faster than them. Well, they were totally wrong as these guys really gave me a run for my money. I gave this race just about everything I had and they were just a few minutes behind pushing me the entire way. Our finish times were not very far apart and I could barley walk the next day.

While I don't have much experience with Ultra Running, I found this to be a very enjoyable experience. This is an excellent race series with a great community and without all the riff raff. I enjoy the race director (John Lacroix) attitude. We don't care about your Strava. We don't care about your Ultrasignup. There is no podium. There is no award ceremony. These races are for you to find your very own Human Potential... Highly recommend. https://humanpotentialrunning.com

On 9-23-23 I completed the Sangre De Cristo 100K race course in 18 hours, 10 mins and placed 10th out of 16. The true distance is 58.5 miles with 12,811 feet of elevation gain. I chose to do the 100K distance because it would allow me to see the entire course and it would also be a chance to do more miles and elevation gain I have ever done in a single day.

  • 9-28-22
  • Taylor Peak (#27) & Otis Peak (#28) & Hallett Peak (#29)
  • Trailhead – North Inlet
  • Route – Class 2
  • Miles – 27
  • Gain – 6,400
  • Start – 8:45am Taylor – 12:45 Otis – 1:40 Hallett – 2:20 End – 5:35pm
  • Total – 8:50
  • People – 0

Notes: My hip flexors were still really tight from the race so I wasn't sure how this route was gonna go. I took the North Inlet Trail 10.5 miles, where I then left the trail and did a direct ascent to the summit of Taylor Peak. It was an easy ridge line on mostly tundra but some rock hopping over to the summits of Otis and Hallet Peaks. I then cut back to the North Inlet Trail and made the long trek back to the trailhead.

Hallett Peak summit viewing the ridge to Otis and Taylor Peaks and Longs Peak in the back

  • 10-10-22
  • Bushwack Hill” (#30) & Nakai Peak (#31) & Sprague Mountain (#32) & Stones Peak (#33)
  • Trailhead – Green Mountain
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 20
  • Gain – 6,850
  • Start – 8:50am Bushwack – 9:40 Nakai – 11:50 Sprague – 1:40 Stones – 2:25 End – 5:40pm
  • Total – 8:50
  • People – 0

Notes: Bushwhack Hill isn't much of a bushwhack considering everything is burnt down in this area. I took the Green Mountain Trail just short of a mile and ascended through the burn area and made my way to the summit of Bushwhack Hill. Then it was an actual bushwhack to the west ridge of Nakai Peak. I stayed as high as I could and traversed all the way around to the summit of Sprague Mountain. I got hit with a couple of brief snow showers on the out and back to Stones Peak. It was then a steep tundra hike down to the Tonahutu Trail and jogged back to the trailhead.

Sprague Mountain summit with Longs Peak off in the distance

  • 10-19-22
  • Cascade Falls Point (#34) & Mount Patterson (#35) & Snowdrift Peak (#36)
  • Trailhead – North Inlet
  • Miles – 18
  • Gain – 5,500
  • Start – 8:45am Cascade Falls – 10:15 Patterson – 12:20 Snowdrift – 2:05 End – 5:30pm
  • Total – 8:45
  • People – 0

Notes: I took the North Inlet Trail three miles where I left it and ascended the south slopes through a burn area to the summit of Cascade Falls Point. I then continued north up the south slopes to the summit of Mount Patterson. From Patterson's summit, I turned east and went through many open areas, and it was an easy bushwhack to the west slopes and summit of Snowdrift Peak. I descended south which was a rough, steep bushwhack back down to the North Inlet Trail.

Mount Patterson Summit viewing the route to Snowdrift Peak

  • 2-1-23
  • Shadow Mountain (Unranked)
  • Trailhead – East Shore
  • Miles – 10
  • Gain – 1,800
  • Start – 10:00am Summit – 1:30 End – 4:00pm
  • Total – 6:00
  • People – 0

Notes: Although this peak is unranked, it has an excellent trail to the summit. I just needed a strong winter workout and put in a deep trench after a storm.

Deep trenching up to the watch tower on Shadow Mountain

  • 2-12-23
  • Mount Antero
  • Trailhead – Baldwin Gulch
  • Miles – 11
  • Gain 5,200
  • Start – 8:20am Summit – 12:55 End – 3:40pm
  • Total – 7:20

Notes: I had just two peaks left to be a three time 14er finisher. I went up Princeton the week prior and finished up on the amazing Mount Antero.

Ascending the east rib on Mount Antero viewing Cronin Peak

  • 2-18-23
  • Green Mountain (#37)
  • Trailhead – Kawuneeche Visitor center
  • Route South Ridge (Class 2)
  • Miles – 6.25
  • Gain – 1,700
  • Start – 1:00pm Summit – 3:00 End – 4:30pm
  • Total – 3:30
  • People – 0

Notes: I followed the established trench about a half of a mile and then made my own trench all the way up the south ridge to the summit. When I got back to the established trench, I noticed that one of my snowshoe tails must of unattached itself somewhere along the way. With it being late in the day and a storm coming in, there just wasn't enough time to go back and look for it, so I figured it was a lost cause. Just a few days later, on 2-20-23 after the storm, I went back and re-summited the mountain, but with a few inches of new snow, I never could find my snowshoe tail. But miracles do happen! When I was almost back down to the main trench, I saw something sticking up out of the snow and BOOM, it was my snowshoe tail which means I actually stepped on it on the ascent. The location was only about a half mile from the car.

Making my own trench on the south ridge of Green Mountain

  • 6-20-23
  • South Speciman” (Unranked) & Speciman Mountain (#38) & North Speciman” (#39) “Poudre Peak” (#40)
  • Trailhead – Milner Pass
  • Route – South Ridge (Class 2)
  • Miles – 11.5
  • Gain – 4,000
  • Start – 7:45am S. Speciman – 8:55 Speciman – 9:10 N. Speciman – 9:45 Poudre - 10:50 End – 1:30pm
  • Total – 5:45
  • People – 0

Notes: I cut up through the trees from Milner Pass and took the ridge line north all the way to Pordue Peak and returned the same way.

The ridge to the Speciman Mountains

  • 6-21-23
  • Trail Ridge” (#41)
  • Trailhead – Lava Cliffs parking area on Trail Ridge Road
  • Route – South Slope (Class 1)
  • Miles – 1
  • Gain – 250
  • Start – 7:25am Summit – 7:35 End – 7:43am
  • Total – 18 mins
  • People – 0

Notes: This one is just a short walk from the Lava cliffs parking area.

Trail Ridge summit viewing Trail Ridge Road and the snow capped Longs Peak

  • 6-21-23
  • Sundance Mountain (#42)
  • Trailhead – A pull off on Trail Ridge Road
  • Route – West Slopes (Class 2)
  • Miles – 1.25
  • Gain – 400
  • Start – 7:50am Summit – 8:04 End – 8:13am
  • Total – 23 mins
  • People – 0

Notes: This one is also just a short hike up the west slopes starting from a small pull off on Trail Ridge Road

Sundance Mountain summit viewing Trail Ridge Road and the snow covered Never Summer Range

  • 6-21-23
  • Deer Mountain (#40)
  • Trailhead – Deer Ridge
  • Route – West Slopes (Class 2)
  • Miles – 6.25
  • Gain – 1,350
  • Start – 8:55am Summit – 9:50 End – 10:40am
  • Total – 1:45
  • People – dozens

Notes: One of the few peaks with an established trail to the summit. This is a popular one.

Deer Mountain summit viewing Beaver Meadows and Longs Peak towering above

  • 6-21-23
  • Eagle Cliff Mountain (#43)
  • Trailhead – Park Entrance & Bear Lake Road
  • Route – North Slopes (Class 2)
  • Miles – 2.75
  • Gain – 875
  • Start – 11:00am Summit – 11:40 End – 12:15pm
  • Total – 1:15
  • People – 0

Notes: Since I didn't have a reservation for Bear Lake Road, and didn't really need one anyway, I parked at a pull off near Bear Lake Road, cut through the woods and went up and down the north slopes.

Eagle Cliff Mountain summit viewing many peaks along the continental divide

  • 6-21-23
  • Castle Mountain (#44)
  • Trailhead – A pull off on West Wonderview Avenue
  • Route – Southeast Slopes (Class 2+)
  • Miles – 1.75
  • Gain – 1,100
  • Start – 12:40pm Summit – 1:15 End – 1:45pm
  • Total – 1:05
  • People – 0

Notes: Not sure if this was a legal parking area, but I didn't worry too much as I knew I would be up and down the steep southeast slopes rather quickly.

Castle Mountain summit viewing Estes Park

  • 6-28-23
  • Mummy Mountain (#45) & Hagues Peak (#46) & Mount Dunraven (Unranked) & “Dundicking” (#47) & Mount Tileston (#48) & Bighorn Mountain (#49)
  • Trailhead – Lawn Lake
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2+)
  • Miles – 22
  • Gain – 8,000
  • Start – 7:55am Mummy – 11:35 Hagues– 1:05 Dunraven – 2:45 Dundicking – 3:20 Tileston – 5:45 Bighorn – 6:55 End – 6:25pm
  • Total – 12:30
  • People – 2 on Mummy and 1 on Hagues

Notes: I took the standard route from Lawn Lake trailhead up to the summit of Mummy Mountain and followed the ridge northwest to the summit of Hagues. I then took the most direct line east I could over to the the summits of Dunraven and Dundicking. There must have been a large herd with at least 100+ elk all hanging out in a big snowfield. I don't blame them as it was a rather warm day, even up high. From Dundicking's summit I dropped down to 11,800 feet and contoured around Mummy Mountain and descended down to Potts Puddle. I bushwhacked up the north slope to Mount Tileson, and continued south to to the summit of Bighorn Mountain. From Bighorn's summit I made a direct descent southeast down a gully and it was easy travels back down to the Lawn Lake Trail.

Mount Tileston summit viewing Hagues (L) and Mummy Mountain (R)

  • 07-03-23
  • Fall Mountain (#50) & Comanche Peak (#51) & Comanche Wilderness HP (Unranked) & PT 12314 (#52) & "Mount Ikoko" (Unranked)
  • Trailhead – Corral Creek
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 22
  • Gain – 4,950
  • Start – 7:45am Fall – 10:55 Comanche – 12:00 Comanche HP - 12:15 PT 12314 – 1:10 Ikoko - 1:35 End – 4:15pm
  • Total – 8:30
  • People – 0 (on a 4th of July weekend)

Notes: These peaks are on the northern boundary line of the park and the Comanche Peak wilderness. Here it was the 4th of July weekend and I was the only car at the trailhead and I never saw anyone the entire day. I took the Corral Park Trail to the Pordue River Trail to the Mummy Pass Trail. Most of the area on the Mummy pass Trail was completely burned out and it was was difficult to follow in spots. I then took the primitive Mirror Lake Trail and worked my way up the southwest slopes to the summit of Fall Mountain. It was an easy tundra walk along the ridge line to the Comanche Peak and PT 12,314 summits. I then descended south to the unranked Mount Ikoko and down the south slopes all the way back to the Mummy Pass Trail.

At the saddle of Comanche and PT 12,314 looking down on Mirror Lake

  • 7-07-23
  • Mcgregor Mountain (#53) & The Needles (#54) & Dark Mountain (#55)
  • Trailhead – a pull off near the Fall river entrance
  • Route – Multiple (Class 3)
  • Miles – 12.5
  • Gain – 5,500
  • Start – 7:30am Mcgregor – 9:30 Needles – 11:10 Dark – 12:45 End – 3:30pm
  • Total – 8:00
  • People – 0

Notes: This turned out to be one of the worst bushwhacking routes I have ever done. My route was absolutely terrible and I do not wish to describe it as it would be better forgotten. The Needles has a nice little scramble to the top. The forecast was calling for storms after 3pm but just after summiting Dark Mountain at 12:45, BOOM the thunder started and the temperature dropped rapidly. The weather was like clockwork for the next few hours as it would rain for 10 minutes, then hail for 10 minutes, and this continued throughout the duration of my hike.

The Needles summit viewing McGregor Mountain (L) and Dark Mountain (R)

  • 7-08-23
  • Joe Mills Mountain (#56) & Mount. Wuh (#57)
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 9.5
  • Gain – 2500
  • Start – 5:45am Joe Mills – 7:30 Wuh – 8:35 End – 10:15am
  • Total – 4:30
  • People – 0

Notes: I was able to secure one of the last spots at the Glacier Gorge trailhead and the lot was completely full at 5am. I took the connector trail to Bear Lake, and then the Fern Lake Trail to the south slopes of Joe Mills Mountain. From the summit it was mostly easy travel through a burn area to the summit of Mount Wuh. I then descended south back down to the Fern Lake Trail.

Joe Mills summit

  • 7-08-23
  • Glacier Knob East (#58)
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – West Face (Class 2+)
  • Miles – 3.25
  • Gain – 1,200
  • Start – 10:30am Summit – 11:30 End – 12:15pm
  • Total – 1:45
  • People – 0

Notes: This one was a short approach and with careful route finding I was able to find a route that did not exceed 2+ up the west face.

Glacier Knob East viewing Glacier Gorge

  • 7-09-23
  • Signal Mountain (Outside the Park) & South Signal Mountain (Unranked) & “Pennock Peak” (#59) & Stormy Peaks East (Unranked) & Stormy Peaks West (#60) & Sugarloaf Mountain (#61)
  • Trailhead – Dunraven
  • Route – Multiple 2+
  • Miles – 26
  • Gain – 7,500
  • Start – 6:20am Signal – 8:55 S. Signal – 9:15 Pennock - 10:05 E. Stormy – 12:00 W. Stormy – 12:20 Sugarloaf - 1:25 End – 5:00pm
  • Total – 10:40
  • People – 1 on Stormy Peaks Pass

Notes: This was a long route from the Dunraven trailhead. The Bulwark Ridge Trail is steep and washed out, but it took me all the way to the summit of Signal mountain which is just outside the park boundary line. The next part of the route follows the boundary line over South Signal, Pennock, and to Stormy Peaks summits. I descended south off of Stormy Peaks West summit and crossed over the Stormy Peaks Pass Trail. It was an easy tundra hike to the large and broad summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. I then realized that I must have set my trekking pole down where I last took a break around Stormy Peaks Pass. I have a tendency of doing this, so I followed my tracks back to the pass but couldn't find it. I then went back up to the summit of Stormy Peaks West and it wasn't there either. I had to give up on the search for the lost trekking pole and headed back down to the pass and...Found it! It was a long trek down the North Fork Trail.

Signal Mountain summit viewing the long route to Stormy Peaks

  • 7-12-23
  • Copeland Mountain (#62) & Mahana Peak (#63) & Isolation Peak (#64)
  • Trailhead – Wild Basin Ranger Station
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2+)
  • Miles – 21
  • Gain – 8,600
  • Start – 7:30am Copeland – 11:35 Mahana – 3:20 Isolation– 4:20 End – 8:40pm
  • Total – 13:10
  • People – 0

Notes: This would be my first time ever in the Wild Basin and I do wish I would have planned my route better. From the Wild Basin Trail at 1.75 miles, I crossed Cony Creek and did a very long bushwhack up the east ridge of Copeland Mountain. It would be a far better experience to take the standard route from Ouzel Lake which would be my descent route. Here is where I made another mistake and bushwhacked up to the east ridge of Mahana Peak. There were a few cairns along the way but it would probably be a better experience to take the standard route from Bluebird Lake. From the summit of Mahana I dropped to to the saddle of Mahana and Isolation and made my way up to the summit of Isolation Peak. Isolation Peak has a tiny summit and has to be one of the absolute best summits I have ever stood on.

Isolation Peak summit ridge

  • 7-15-23
  • Mount Meeker & Lookout Mountain
  • Trailhead – Horse Creek
  • Route – Meeker Ridge (Class 3)
  • Miles – 11
  • Gain – 5,600
  • Total – 8:30
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: This was an enjoyable and underrated route up Meeker. Even though it was a Saturday, there was only one other car at the trailhead and we saw only one other hiker on the Meeker Ridge route. A good climbers trail is marked with plenty of cairns that leads to treeline and the Meeker Ridge. On the way back we decided to checkout out the class four summit block of Lookout Mountain which I would come back for just two days later.

Working our way up the Meeker Ridge route

  • 7-17-23
  • Mt Orton (Unranked) & North Ridge (Unranked) & Chiefs Head Peak (#65) & Lookout Mountain (#66)
  • Trailhead – Wild Basin
  • Route – Multiple (Class 4)
  • Miles – 19
  • Gain – 6,700
  • Start – 7:30am Orton – 10:15 North Ridge – 10:30 Chiefs Head -11:50 Lookout - 2:45 End – 3:50pm
  • Total – 8:20
  • People – 0

Notes: I took the Sandbeach Trail to the lake and the lake really does have a sandy beach. I then found a climbers trail up the southeast ridge over Mount Orton and North Ridge to the summit of Chiefs Head Peak. I was able to catch a nice 200 foot glissade down the upper slopes. I followed the trail back down to 9,600 where I left it and bushwhacked my up to Lookout Mountain. The summit block has an interesting class four, one move wonder with a hidden foot on the down climb. I returned back down to the Sandbeach Trail.

Mount Orton summit viewing the North Ridge to Chiefs Head Peak

  • 7-17-23
  • Meadow Mountain (#67) & Saint Vrain Mountain (#68)
  • Trailhead – Saint Vrain
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 9.5
  • Gain – 3,700
  • Start – 4:25pm Meadow – 6:15 St. Vrain – 7:00 End – 8:30pm
  • Total – 4:05
  • People – 0

Notes: These were also a part of the Indian Peaks project as they are right on the boundary line of the park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It was thundering with light rain going up the Saint Vrain trail so I had to wait a good 20 minutes at treeline for the sky to clear up a bit.

Meadow Mountain summit viewing Saint Vrain Mountain

  • 7-21-23
  • Twin Peaks East (#69) & Twin Peaks West (Unranked) & “Roaring Peak” (#70) & Mount Adams (#71) & Watanga Mountain (#72)
  • Trailhead – Roaring Fork
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 16
  • Gain – 5,400
  • Start – 6:30am Twin E. – 9:15 Twin W. - 9:25 Roaring – 10:00 Adams – 10:30 Watanga -11:30 End – 1:40pm
  • Total – 7:10
  • People – 0

Notes: These were also a part of the Indian Peaks project as they are right on the boundary line of the park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Mount Adams summit viewing Isolation Peak and Longs Peak in the distance

  • 7-22-23
  • Green Knoll (Unranked) Mount Stratus (Unranked) Baker Mountain (Unranked)
  • Trailhead – Holzworth Historic Site
  • Route – Multiple (Class 3)
  • Miles – 13
  • Gain – 4,400
  • Start – 6:40am Green Knoll - 9:15 Stratus - 10:00 Baker - 10:45 End – 1:25pm
  • Total – 6:45
  • People – 0
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: For three unranked peaks, this was a very enjoyable route. We ascended the Ditch Road to the Grand Ditch trail and worked our way up the steep slopes and joined the southeast ridge of Green Knoll. The traverse to Mount Stratus has some fun and interesting class three scrambling. The traverse to Baker Mountain is mostly a tundra hike with a few sections of rock hopping. We then descended down the southwest slopes back down to the Grand Ditch Trail

Heading to the summit of Baker

  • 7-24-23
  • Ogalalla Peak (#73) & Elk Tooth (#74)
  • Trailhead – Roaring Fork
  • Route – West Slope and Ridge (Class 3)
  • Miles – 20
  • Gain – 8,000
  • Start – 5:30am Ogalalla - 10:05 Elk Tooth – 11:20 Ogalalla - 12:45 End – 4:35pm
  • Total – 11:05
  • People – 0

Notes: These were also a part of the Indian Peaks project as they are right on the boundary line of the park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This time from Stone Lake instead of going up from Cooper Pass, I took the west ridge from the saddle of Hiamovi and Ogalalla. I stuck to the south side of the ridge and found it to be rather slow and time consuming. Since I had done the traverse to Elk Tooth before I was able to make quick work of it and avoided the class four section keeping the entire traverse to class three.

On the ridge to the Elk Tooth

  • 8-9-23
  • Little Yellowstone (Unranked) & Mount Neota (Unranked) & Thunder Mountain (#75) & Lulu Mountain(#76) “The Electrode” (#77) & Static Peak (Unranked) & Mount Richthofen (#78)
  • Trailhead – Colorado River
  • Route – Multiple (Class 3)
  • Miles – 23
  • Gain – 6,750
  • Start – 5:45am Little Yellowstone – 7:45 Neota – 9:25 Thunder – 9:45 Lulu – 10:15 Electrode – 11:05 Static Peak – 12:30 Richthofen – 1:15 End – 4:35pm
  • Total – 10:50
  • People – 0

Notes: This was one of the more enjoyable routes of the entire project. I took the Colorado River Trail past Lulu City where I joined the Little Yellowstone Trail. Little Yellowstone summit is unranked and just a short detour off the trail. From the Poudre Pass Ranger Station , I bushwhacked up to the ridge of Mount Neota and followed the ridge over to Thunder Mountain, Lulu Mountain and The Electrode summits. I then could see that the only reasonable way was to drop down to Snow Lake and ascend Static's class three ridge. The ridge offers lots of sustained and exposed class three climbing which was definitely the best part of the route. I continued on the ridge which was easy terrain to the summit of Mount Richthofen. I had originally planned on taking the ridge to Tepee Mountain, but it's unranked and I felt like I was done for the day. So I decided to descend the southeast ridge of Richthofen which consisted of some some loose rock and steep grass down into Skeleton Gulch. I then took the trail down to the Grand Ditch Trail all the way to the Red Mountain Trail.

Lulu Mountain summit viewing Mount Richthofen, The Electrode, Static Peak and Nokhu Crags

  • 8-12-23
  • N. Inlet Tonahutu LOOP
  • Trailhead – N. Inlet
  • Route – Counter Clockwise
  • Miles – 26.8
  • Gain – 4,100
  • Start – 7:15am End – 3:15pm
  • Total – 8:00
  • People – a handful of backpackers
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: This has to be the best loop in Rocky with most of the trail being very runable. Just over half way through the loop on the route down, I filtered some water just below treeline and unfortunately got a little sick which really slowed my pace. Since I was so slow, Lauren went back at a later date and completed the loop in just five and a half hours.

Excellent high alpine trail along the North Inlet Trail

  • 8-15-23
  • (The Longs Peak Grand Slam) Mount Meeker (#79) Longs Peak (#80) Pagoda Mountain (#81) Storm Peak (Unranked) Mt. Lady Washington (Unranked)
  • Trailhead – Longs Peak
  • Route – Roach description (Class 3)
  • Miles – 15
  • Gain – 7,500
  • Start – 5:45am Meeker - 9:05 Longs – 10:55 Pagoda – 12:25 Storm – 2:35 Lady Washington – 3:30 End – 5:30pm
  • Total – 11:45
  • People – about a dozen on longs, a group of 2 were also doing the slam as well and a solo climber that was doing the glacier gorge traverse.

Notes: I'm no expert in baseball, but I have always been under the understanding that a grand slam is four runs, but for some reason this route includes five peaks and two of them are now unranked with the new Lidar elevations. I found the Clark's arrow route to be very confusing but the rest of the route was fairly straight forward.

Pagoda Mountain summit viewing Longs Peak and Mount Meeker

  • 8-21-23
  • (The Shelf Cirque Traverse) Arrowhead & McHenry's Peak (#82) Powell Peak (#83) Thatchtop (Unranked)
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – Multiple (Class 5.0)
  • Miles – 12.5
  • Gain – 5,200
  • Start – 5:45am Arrowhead – 8:45 McHenry's – 10:15 Powell – 11:15 Thatchtop – 1:30 End – 3:45pm
  • Total – 10:00
  • People – 0

Notes: I have actually down this route before with a Spectacular Adventures Group, but that was 10+ years ago, so I pretty much had no memory of it. I have also seen this route referred to as the Solitude Lake traverse so I am unsure of the official name for it. I took the Black Lake Trail and went right around the lake and took my time ascending the fourth class south face route to the summit of Arrowhead. On the summit I spotted another group that was about half way across the traverse. The traverse went smooth and the route finding was fairly straightforward. I caught up with the other group on the summit of McHenry's. One of them asked what what my plans were and I shared that I was going to traverse to Powell. The guy responded like “Oh yeah it's 5.4 down climb to McHenry's notch.” I said that I believe there is an easier route that shouldn't go over class four. His response was “Yup, that's what they all say, a guy recently had to be choppered out of there.” That didn't seem to help with anything, so I just turned and went off on my way towards Powell. I did a descending traverse on easy third class ledges over a few rock ribs. I looked at my GPX file and noticed I was about 250 feet below the ridge line where I suppose to be. I continued across another rock rib on easy third class ledges but exposed terrain and the notch suddenly came into view, and the route forward looked very doable. It wasn't long until I was standing in McHenry's notch and I was happy that I somehow kept the route at just class three. Now the real fun begins on the traverse from Powell to Thatchtop. Most of the ridge is very exposed, but never a move more difficult than 5.0. At one point on the ridge to avoid a slab section, I squeezed through a hole and made a few hyper exposed, but with very secure holds on the south side of the ridge. I must not of researched the route off Thatchtop, because the way I went was very rough and steep back down to the trail.

Near the summit of McHenry's viewing the ridge from Arrowhead Peak with Thatchtop (L)

  • 8-29-23
  • Emerald Mountain (#84) & “Lightning Peak” (#85) & “Thunder Peak” (#86)
  • Trailhead – East Portal
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 6.75
  • Gain – 3,850
  • Start – 7:35am Emerald - 8:05 Lightning – 10:00 Thunder Peak – 10:50 End – 11:45pm
  • Total – 4:10
  • People – 0

Notes: Emerald Mountain has a nice little climbers trail up the south slopes. I returned the same way, walked right passed where I was parked, and cut through the campground across the street. It was an easy bushwhack to the north ridge to the summit of Lightning Peak. I made a direct line to the summit of Thunder Peak and returned back to the trailhead.

Thunder Peak summit viewing Lightning Peak and Estes Cone with Twin Sisters (L)

  • 8-29-23
  • Sheep Mountain (#87) & “Gem Peak” (#88)
  • Trailhead – McGraw Ranch
  • Route – Multiple (Class 3)
  • Miles – 12
  • Gain – 3,250
  • Start – 12:25am Sheep – 2:30 Gem – 4:55 End – 6:35pm
  • Total – 6:10
  • People – 1 on Gem Peak

Notes: The North Boundary trail is pretty rutted but its a short section to the east slope of Sheep Mountain. I retraced my steps back and went west on the Cow Creek Trail to the Gem Lake Trail. I was unsure of the route up Gem Peak because all I had was a picture of the route from Summit Post, but I had no idea what aspect of the mountain to climb. My phone wasn't giving me a GPS location and after messing around for at least an hour trying to find the route I found the saddle between Gem Peak and what I believe is West Gem. The route looked doable and I scrambled to the summit on mostly third class rock. I was surprised to see another hiker just laying on the summit and confirmed that I was on the correct peak. On the descent I was able to find cairns the entire way.

Gem Peak summit viewing Estes Park and Twin Sisters

  • 9-6-23
  • The Sharkstooth (Recon Mission)
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – East Gully (Class 5.4)
  • Miles – 10.5
  • Gain – 3,750
  • Additional Party – Dave

Notes: The plan was to go lead the route with a partner, learn the route, practice the moves and come back and solo the route on my own on a future date. I actually had to dust off my rack and inspect my rope as this would be my first rock climb for the 2023 year. This route is also the descent route for all other climbing routes and fixed anchors were recently installed. I found the route description to be a bit confusing and contradictory between mountain project and the Rositter guide book and I was unable to find any picture showing the exact line you are suppose to climb.

The rugged approach to The Sharkstooth

The first pitch is easy fourth class and straight forward. For the second pitch I was unsure where to go because everything looked like it was much more difficult than 5.4. Am I really suppose to climb this near vertical head wall? It looks like it leads to a small roof or bulge. I ended up just climbing the head wall straight on and all of the hands and feet were there but the moves were very committing. It was right then and there, I decided that there was just no way I was going to be able to solo the route. From the top of the head wall, I made an ascending traverse to the right on fourth class rock, which is opposite of what the guidebook says, but it worked well and all moves felt very secure. We then got up to the final pitch with the last 5.4 crux section. I placed three cams in this section which further confirmed that there was absolutely no way I was going to solo the route. We finally reached the summit around 1:00pm.

Somehow this route took us 13 hours, however we were probably sidetracked by 10 hours of political debate which really slowed our pace. On the hike out, I felt disappointed because I realized that I wasn't going to be able to get up the route on my own. The next day, I wrote down my notes on the climb and I even changed the name of this trip report to SOLO Day Hiking the RMNP 92 (-1). Over the next few days, I just couldn't get the climb out of my head. I kept thinking that the moves were very committing, but they were not that hard. I didn't place very much protection on the climb. Maybe I could get up there on my own? I at least needed to go give it a try.

Me leading the last 5.4 pitch

  • 9-12-23
  • Bowen Mountain (Outside the Park) & Ruby Mountain (Outside the Park)
  • Trailhead – Gaskill Cemetery
  • Route – Multiple (Class 2)
  • Miles – 17
  • Gain – 4,500
  • Start – 8:40am Bowen – 11:20 Ruby – 12:25 End – 2:10pm
  • Total – 5:30
  • People – 0

Notes: This route starts on the boundary of the park but the peaks are technically outside the park in the Never Summer Wilderness. The Gaskill Cemetery is a small trailhead with enough room for only about 10 cars and commonly used by hunters. I took the Bowen Gulch trail to the Blue Lake Trail. I then left the trail and went left around the lake and made a direct ascent to the top of Bowen Mountain. I then followed the ridge past Bowen Pass to the summit of Ruby Mountain. I retraced my steps back to Bowen Pass and jogged the entire trail back do to the trailhead.

Bowen Mountain summit viewing Ruby Mountain and Parkview in the distance

  • 9-16-23
  • Mount Meeker
  • Trailhead – Longs Peak
  • Route – The Loft (Class 3)
  • Miles - 11
  • Gain – 4,700
  • Total – 10:00
  • Additional Party – Xander and Dave

Notes: Going up Mount Meeker for a third time this year was never the plan. Dave had it on his to do list, and I wanted to take my son Xander up a peak that actually required some scrambling. Meeker seemed like a good fit. The plan was to to take the iron gates route and the loft down, but that changed quickly once we saw the amount of snow Meeker was holding with the snow line starting about 12K so we took the loft both ways.

Xander leading the way on the snowy slopes of Mount Meeker

An EPIC FinishThe Sharkstooth, Twin Sisters East, Twin Sisters Mountain & Estes Cone

  • 9-18-23
  • The Sharkstooth (#89)
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – East Gully (Class 5.4)
  • Miles – 10
  • Gain – 3,600
  • Start – 6:10am Summit – 10:10 End – 1:00pm
  • Total – 6:50
  • People – 0

Notes: A snow storm came through on 9/14 but with a couple days of dry and warm weather, it was time to give The Sharkstooth a go. I knew that this would be my most difficult solo climb to date. I wasn't totally confident I would have the guts to solo this route but figured I needed to give it a try, and also have a backup plan if I needed to bail. During my recon mission of the east gully with Dave, I noticed that there were a few smaller size gear placements around the cruxes so I brought along four small cams (Black Diamond .1-.4) and some slings to make an anchor. This wouldn't allow me to bail at any point, but would at least give me the option to when available. Put all this all together with a 70 meter rope, a harness, climbing shoes and my regular hiking supplies made for a very heavy pack.

The boulder field on the approach to The Sharkstooth

I got to the trailhead before 5am to beat the reservation system. I didn't want to use a headlamp so I geared up and waited for an hour. With zero other climbers in the area, I reached the base of the east gully at 9:10am, geared up for the climb, put on my harness, and said my prayers. It was also kinda cold out so I wore a tight fitting pair of rubber gardening gloves for the entire climb. The first pitch, which is fourth class went quickly, and now its time for the first crux which is basically a vertical head wall. I was sketched out and almost called it right then and there. A fall in this area would most definitely be fatal. It took me at least 10 minutes to commit to the first move which starts in a small corner, and I knew that once I made the first move and stepped out on the wall that I would be fully committed to the first 5.4 crux section. I took my time and made every move as secure as possible and pulled myself over the first head wall. In my opinion, this was the most difficult part of the climb.

For the third pitch, even though it doesn't match the route description, I went with the devil I knew and made an ascending traverse to the right which was mostly fourth class up to the big ledge system below the fourth pitch and the final crux. This final crux requires a sequence of three 5.4 moves in a row with some really awesome exposure on the climbers left. I scrambled up to this section and pulled the moves without hesitating. The technical climbing is now over and it's just a short scramble to the top. Relieved and excited, I made the summit at 10:10am. It was four rappels to the base of the gully My rope pulled clean every time and I was back on the ground at 10:50am. I never planned on finishing today but stoke was very high at this moment. I then had the idea to just go finish the remaining three peaks I had left, so I rushed back to the car and got geared up for the remaining peaks.

Sharkstooth Summit with The Loch below

  • 9-18-23
  • Twin Sisters West (Unranked) Twin Sisters East (#90) & Twin Sisters Mountain (#91)
  • Trailhead – Twin Sisters
  • Route – Multiple - Class 2
  • Miles – 9
  • Gain – 3,150
  • Start – 2:05pm Twin Sisters West – 3:30 Twin Sisters East -3:35 Twin Sisters Mountain - 4:00 End – 5:30pm
  • Total – 3:25
  • People – about a dozen on the trail

Notes: The Twin Sisters trailhead requires a reservation from 9am - 2pm. I rolled up at 1:55pm and the parking lot was nearly empty, but within just a few minutes it was full again. A storm was brewing over Longs peak and heading my way, so I rushed up to the top of Twin Sisters only to figure out that the trail doesn't take you to the true summit. The real summit is the big pile of rocks to the east which only takes a few minutes to get to. The route then moves quickly over to Twin Sisters Mountain. I basically returned the same way and hustled down the trail.

Twin Sisters summit viewing Twin Sisters West and East

  • 9-18-23
  • Estes Cone (#92)
  • Trailhead – Longs Peak
  • Route – Standard (Class 2)
  • Miles – 6.5
  • Gain – 1,850
  • Start – 5:55pm Summit – 7:10 End – 8:05pm
  • Total – 2:10
  • People – 0

Notes: It was raining at the time I pulled up to the Longs Peak parking lot and I had my choice of any parking spot that I wanted. Starting this late also meant that I would most likely have to violate my no headlamp rule. I just wanted to get this project done so I didn't have to think about it anymore. At this point in the day, my legs were tired, but the trail is very rutted and a little slower moving anyway. I reached the final summit at 7:10pm. Up until this point I have never used a headlamp except for when I was climbing peaks with other people, but I had to put it on for the last 30 minutes on the hike out. I got back to the car at 8:05pm. PROJECT COMPLETE !

Estes Cone summit viewing of Mount Meeker and Longs Peak


  • 6-27-17
  • The Spearhead
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – North Ridge (Class 5.6) Follow
  • Total – 12:30
  • Additional Party - Steve

Notes: It was a windy day on the north ridge of Spearhead but the route is pretty straightforward. It starts off in some chimneys, then has some easy scrambling sections but gradually gets better as you near the summit.

Climbing our way up to the Barb Flake

  • 9-19-17
  • The Sharkstooth
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – North East Ridge (Class 5.6) Follow
  • Total – 14:00
  • Additional Party - Steve

Notes: It was another cold and windy day with a mostly overcast sky. So cold that we had to wait for nearly two hours for the sun to hit the rock before we could climb. The lay back moves on pitch two is definitely the crux of the entire climb. When we reached the summit, the weather was warm, windless and pleasant. For the descent we had to do three double rope rappels. This was before the new rappel route was installed. Pic 1: Looking up pitch two. Pic 2: Looking down pitch two. Pic 3: Looking up pitch five.

  • 7-8-21
  • The Petite Grepon
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – South Face (Class 5.8) Follow
  • Total – 14:30
  • Additional Party - Steve

Notes: Listed as one of the top 50 classic climbs in North America, we were lucky to have this route to ourselves. The route starts out in some chimneys but then turns into some excellent sustained climbing. We got hailed on, during the last pitch and when we reached the spectacular tiny summit we witnessed a rainbow below over Sky Pond. The descent was tricky and finding the anchors was a challenge. It was six rappels to the bottom.

Looking down on Sky Pond, taken on our descent

  • 7-27-21
  • The Zowie Tower
  • Trailhead – Glacier Gorge
  • Route – South Face (Class 5.8+) Follow
  • Total – 11:30
  • Additional Party - Steve

Notes: With an easy approach, this was probably the most enjoyable alpine climb I've ever done. The route finding was straight forward and the climbing was all very positive. We had no problem with the 5.8+ finish and the descent went smooth as well.

Looking down on our route just before the summit pitch

  • 8-10-22
  • Longs Peak (Circle the Diamond)
  • Trailhead – Longs Peak
  • Route – multiple (Class 5.9+) Follow
  • Total – 18:30
  • Additional Party - Steve

Notes: We were not sure what was going to happen on this day. Our intention was to climb what we could of the casual route and see what happens from there... A few years prior we climbed the North Chimney route from Chasm Lake (Class 5.5) up to Broadway, but found the route to be a bomb and not very enjoyable. So our plan this time was to rappel down to the Broadway ledge from Chasm View which we found to be very efficient and worked well. We then climbed the first two pitches of the Casual route, called it, and rapped back down to the start of the climb. We then traversed across the Broadway ledge and climbed the Kiners Route (Class 5.4) to the summit of Longs Peak. We rappelled down the north face and basically did a complete circle around the diamond. This was an excellent tour of Longs Peak in a fantastic setting. Pic 1: Maybe the greatest view of the diamond from Chasm View. Pic 2: Our highpoint on the Casual Route. Pic 3: Traversing the Broadway Ledge to the Kiners Route.

BIKE Rides

  • 7-13-22
  • Wasatch Crest / Mid Mountain Loop (NO Shuttle) Park City UT
  • Trailhead – Park City Resort
  • Route – Clockwise
  • Miles – 32
  • Gain – 4,100
  • Total – 5:40
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Listed as an IMBA Epic, this ride is a cross country riders paradise. Some will choose to shuttle this ride but we started at Park City resort and rode up the Armstrong and Pinecone Trails on smooth and perfectly built trail. Great views of Solitude and Brighton resorts along the Wasatch Crest trail. We altered the route by bringing back the Mid Mountain trail rather than taking the road back to the resort where we started.

Just one of many amazing sections along the Wasatch Crest Trail

  • 7-18-22
  • Tahoe Meadows Flume Trail Loop (NO Shuttle) Lake Tahoe CA
  • Trailhead – Diamond Peak Ski Resort
  • Route – Clockwise
  • Miles – 35
  • Gain – 3,900
  • Total – 11:25
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Listed as an IMBA Epic, this ride offers expansive views high above Lake Tahoe. Some people will choose to shuttle this ride but we started at the Diamond Peak Ski Resort and peddled our way up the forest road that runs along Mount Rose Pass. We joined the Tahoe Rim Trail and rode that all the way to Marlette Lake. We added to the route by taking the Flume trail to the Incline Flume Trail and dropped back down to our car via the Tyrolean Downhill Trail.

On the Tahoe Rim Trail with Lake Tahoe in the background

  • 9-4-22
  • The Monarch Crest / Rainbow Trail Loop (NO Shuttle)
  • Trailhead – Poncha Springs Visitor Center
  • Route – Counterclockwise
  • Miles – 55
  • Gain – 6,200
  • Total – 7:50
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Listed as an IMBA Epic, this ride takes you far above treeline, and offers panoramic views as far as the eye can see including centennial Mount Ouray. Almost always done as a shuttle ride, we started at the Visitor center in Poncha Springs and peddled 18 miles to the top of Monarch Pass where we then refilled with water and hit the trail. The Monarch Crest Trail has the absolute best section of trail I have ever ridden and gives a feeling that you are riding on top of the world. The Silver Creek descent is steep, chunky with a ton of sharp rock. The Rainbow Trail has really gotten beat up over the years but still has some fun and fast flowy sections. Shuttle or not this is probably the second best adventure ride ever.

One of the best and highest sections along the Monarch Crest Trail

  • 4-28-23
  • The White Rim Trail Loop (NO Support crew) Canyonlands UT
  • Trailhead – Mineral Bottom Road
  • Route – Counterclockwise
  • Miles – 100
  • Gain – 6,500
  • Total – 11:25
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Having done this ride twice before in the clockwise direction, we decided to try this route in reverse. We were both very surprised on how much better the counterclockwise flows. With about 15 miles to go, Lauren dropped me and did a sprint to the finish and completed the route in just under 11 hours. Most of this ride is on 4wd road, so the trail tread isn't all that interesting but the views are second to none.

Cruising down the Mineral Bottom Road

  • 6-18-23
  • The South Boundary Trail Loop (NO Shuttle) Taos NM
  • Trailhead – El Nogal
  • Route – Clockwise
  • Miles – 42
  • Gain – 4,800
  • Total – 6:15
  • Additional Party - Lauren

Notes: Listed as an IMBA Epic, most people will choose to shuttle this ride but we started at the El Nogal trail head and rode up Hwy 64. It doesn't have much of a shoulder to ride on and it gets kinda tight when a semi truck goes by but starting early, there weren't too many cars on the road. It only took about an hour to ride the road and then it's mostly forest road all the way up to the start of the South Boundary Trail. The trail starts out a little rough but then turns into some of the best flowy bench cut trail I have ever ridden and ends with a technical and chunky descent.

Some very fine bench cut trail

  • 8-23-23
  • Trail Ridge / Old Fall River Road Loop
  • Trailhead – Alpine Visitor Center
  • Route – Counter Clockwise
  • Miles – 30
  • Gain – 3,900
  • Start – 9:10 Fall River Rd – 10:15 End – 12:10
  • Total – 3:00
  • Max Speed – 39.3 mph
  • People – Lots of cars, 5 other riders

Notes: This turned out to be a lot more fun than anticipated. I started at the Alpine visitor center, rode Trail Ridge Road, and up Fall River Road. This would probably be a better experience to start at the Lawn Lake Trail Head with a cyclocross bike.

Viewing a beautiful Scott Spark RC with an internal rear shock along Trail Ridge Road with some rocks in the background

  • 9-28-23
  • The Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop
  • Trailhead – Aspen Airport
  • Route – CounterClockwise
  • Miles – 60
  • Gain – 8,200
  • Total – 11:00

Notes: Listed as an IMBA Epic, this ride is a beast with an impressive amount of elevation gain and I got lucky to do this one in the peak of fall colors. Driving in from the north, I chose to start at the Aspen overnight parking area near the airport. This was not a good day for me as I felt nauseous and weak, but I was determined to get it done. Miles 20-26 took me two hours which is generally slower than my hiking pace and when I reached mile 50, I didn't have any more uphill in me. I also went through around eight liters of water, which was twice the amount I was planning and very unlike me. This is truly an amazing ride with lots of smooth machine built cross country trail with some technical sections as well. The downside is that there are probably 30+ intersections. Most of them are marked, and some are not, which will keep you glued to your GPS.

Amazing cross country trail in the peak of fall colors
  • 10-08-23
  • The Whole Enchilada (NO Shuttle) Moab UT
  • Trailhead – Grand County Transit Hub
  • Route – CounterClockwise
  • Miles – 62
  • Gain – 8,150
  • Total – 10:45

Notes: Listed as one of the worlds most famous rides, this ride takes you through multiple climate zones from the high alpine all the way down to the the red rock desert with over 7,000 feet of elevation change. Almost always done as a shuttle ride, I started at the Grand County Transit Hub at Hwy 128/191. With the starting point at just below 4,000 feet, it's 23 miles of pavement and 8 miles of gravel road, to the top of Geyser Pass with nearly 7,000 feet of gain just to get to the start of the trail. With my method of travel selected as bicycle, Google maps said that I would be to the top in 4 hours and 50 minutes. Well it took me 5:15 so I guess I'm not even an average rider. On my way up, I saw shuttle after shuttle just loaded up with bikes, and I estimate that I saw at least 150 bikes being shuttled up. The trail was a little steep up to the high point on Burro Pass and my legs were out of gas, so it was a hike a bike to the top. From the top of Burro Pass the descent consists of steep, loose, rocky, technical terrain all the way to the bottom of the valley floor. It really doesn't ever let up and keeps you on high alert and beats the heck out of you the entire ride. The UPS and LPS trails were probably the most difficult sections with Burro Pass being the most interesting and the Porcupine Rim the most fun. Shuttle or not, riding through all of the different climate zones makes this the greatest adventure ride ever.

Dropping through many climate zones in the peak of fall colors


  • Time span it took to complete all 92 peaks - 15 months and 2 days
  • Total Mileage to complete all 92 peaks - 531
  • Total elevation gain to complete all 92 peaks - 173,125
  • Total Hiking Days to complete all 92 peaks - 30
  • Headlamp Violations – 1 (Estes Cone)
  • Times I drove over Trail Ridge Road for all 92 peaks - 21
  • Failed summit attempts - 0
  • Worst Bushwhack - McGregor, Dark and the Needles
  • Best summit to stand on - Isolation Peak
  • Most memorable route - Shelf Cirque Traverse
  • Longest Route - Mummy Mountain group in 12 hrs. 30 mins.
  • Shortest Route - Trail Ridge in 18 mins.
  • Shoe of choice - La Sportiva Ultra Raptor, Salomon X Ultra Mid
  • Pack of choice - Camelbak 18x
  • Longest drive to a trailhead - 2 hours 15 mins (St. Vrain)
  • Most used trailhead – East Inlet
  • Nights spent at a trailhead - 0
  • Time spend making this report – 50+ hours

My SPOT Tracks for the entire project

Conclusion Magnificent peaks with some very rugged routes. I found this project to be enjoyable and rewarding, but sometimes frustrating. I'd like to give a special thanks to Lauren for inspiring me and helping me make this dream come true. Due to the incredible amount of bushwhacking, completing this list was a step up from everything I have done in the past and I had to use GPS navigation more than ever, and sometimes to the point of frustration. I actually thought about adding a bushwhacking rating system. I couldn't find information on a lot of these peaks and combinations which required me to make up many of my own routes. Sometimes it's two unknown routes when I find myself in a situation where I don't want to go down what I came up. This can be really time consuming and often times frustrating, and I think I finally found my B*S* tolerance level. I do enjoy the adventure aspect of going into the unknown, but it often leads to some risky situations when I just have to hope that the route goes. If it doesn't, then I got to be prepared to backtrack and try finding another way. Unlike the 14ers, there were very few peaks that actually had a trail to the summit. Unlike the Indian Peaks, these routes have far less cairns and almost no summit registers. Most of these routes all start from a very well maintained trail with lots of people, but as soon as I leave the trail I would rarely see anyone. It was nice to complete every route as a day trip from my home and not have to drive around the state which would often includes traffic and construction delays, and a night spent at a trailhead. The earliest I ever set my alarm was for 2:30am, and that was only to beat the timed reservation system for the Bear Lake corridor. Trail ridge road is probably the most well maintained road in the state and it was nice to never have to drive any rough roads as just about every trailhead is paved with facilities. I would say there was definitely a few advantages to living on the west side of the park with more peaks being easily accessible, and there are far less tourists driving east to west in the evening on my way back home. I almost could of called this report 92 pictures of Longs Peak but there were a few summits where Longs was just not in view. For more Solo Day Hiking adventures be sure to check out my other reports.

SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 100

SOLO Day Hiking the HIGH 200

SOLO Day Hiking the INDIAN PEAKS 58

Live the Dream...

An evening view of Longs Peak from Trail Ridge Road
Mamma and her baby along Trail Ridge Road

Comments or Questions
Finger cancer
10/30/2023 12:22pm
Im going to get it scrolling through this over and over again.

10/30/2023 1:31pm
Great write up.

Youre my hero!

10/31/2023 7:52am
”Wow” not only for the accomplishment, but oy...your photography is superb! Really enjoyed this. And your caption early on wondering about a rating scale for bushwhacking, I've thought the same many times when out in remote areas off trail. I came up with a ”B” rating, 1-10. Totally informal, personal musing when I was daydreaming in the field. Never been, but my B10 was the Darian (sp?) Gap in Panama. Totally untracked jungle and swamp, deep water crossings with snakes, or so I've read. My max has been deep, shoe sucking mud, river crossings, destroyed packs, etc. Fun stuff to recall...

Anyway, I admire your perseverance (and photo skills), great report!


Bushwhacking scale
10/31/2023 8:47am
1-Saves time
2-Wastes time
3-Scratches and bruises
4-Something is bleeding
5-Stuck until SAR gets you
6-The Taps song plays

Quite possibly
10/31/2023 9:07am
the best trip report I have ever read.

And Amy - your BW scale is awesome!

1 Person on Gem Peak
10/31/2023 3:40pm
That was me! Cool running into you. Thanks for this write up! Will definitely be utilizing it a bunch as I continue knocking out peaks in the Park.

Good Lord....
10/31/2023 5:19pm
What Tom & Amy said. Never thought of putting a scale on Bushwhacking before but....this has promise.
Freaking report is FREAKING EPIC. I'm drooling over your photos and sheer persistence in seeing this through. Both the project AND putting this behemoth together. No better place to do this than up in RMNP. That pano. from the saddle of Comanche is SICK!
Beyond impressive dude.

11/3/2023 7:23am
Strong work, Preston! Man, you are relentless! It is inspiring. I really enjoyed this TR and will reference it in the future for RMNP adventures. I've also put them off because of red tape but your report illustrates that it is a peak bagger's paradise. I also dig your idea of having a Bushwhacking scale. Maybe out of 5 chainsaws or 5 machetes, and defined by % distance added to a straight hiking path or number of scratches per mile? Cheers, Rob

Thank You
11/8/2023 9:54am
Glad everyone enjoyed the report. It's like a full time job trying to put these things together.

Amy - Your rating scale looks like a winner to me.

Tom - ”Shoe sucking mud” are words I wish I would of written myself. I generally wear my shoes loose and I have certainly had shoe sucking mud pull my shoe right off a few times.

Stratosfearsome - Yes, I found that the reservation system is really just setup for the tourists and works out well for peak bagging. The Indian Peaks are also an excellent group of peaks with way less bushwhacking

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