Hagues Peak
Hagues via the saddle
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Difficulty:
 Class 4 
Trailhead:Lawn Lake
Start:8,525 feet
Summit:13,560 feet
Total Gain:7,050 feet
RT Length:18.1
Author:krishcane
Updated:6/2013
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:5 reports
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Trailhead

Lawn Lake Trailhead is 2 miles inside the Fall River Road Entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. From Estes Park take Highway 34 to the Fall River Entrance.

From the entrance follow the road just past the viewing area for bighorn sheep, with Bighorn Mountain on your right. Turn right as if going to Old Falls River Rd., just after Bighorn Mountain, but then turn immediately in to the Lawn Lake trailhead parking area.

Note that Rocky Mountain National Park has a substantial entry fee and pet restrictions.

Route

From the Lawn Lake trailhead at 8,525 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park, ascend 500 vertical feet on easy, well-maintained trail and follow the signs toward Lawn Lake ( 2). The trail heads mostly west to go around Bighorn Mountain.

After about a mile, the trail turns north and begins to parallel the Roaring River, which really roared in 1982 when the Lawn Lake Dam failed. The valley bears impressive evidence of that catastrophic failure, and the banks are still unstable in places. The trail here is easy and well-defined, taking the next five miles to gain gradually 1700 feet of vertical.

At 1.45 miles, the trail splits with the option for Ypsilon Lake. Stay right to continue to Lawn Lake. ( 3) At 2.5 miles, aspen groves give way to pine forest and the trail cuts east, a bit further from the river. Near 2.9 miles, pass the turnoff for the Cutbank and Golden Banner campsites ( 4). Hagues Peak first comes into view around 5.3 miles from the trailhead ( 5) looking west from the northbound trail. Continue north toward Mummy Mountain ( 6).

Around 6 miles, pass the Black Canyon Trail split, but continue on the Lawn Lake Trail. Around 6.5 miles and 11,000 feet take in a view of Fairchild on the left of the horizon, the Fairchild-Hagues saddle, and Hagues Peak itself ( 7). The trail splits in three near here for camping sites and llama tethering. Tether your llama as needed and then head left ( 8).

The trail cruises through light forest and meadows ( 9) between Lawn Lake and Mummy Mountain's Class 4 south face, before breaking out of treeline on the other side of the lake at 7.5 miles from the trailhead ( 10). The trail splits near 8 miles - go right, per the sign indicating The Saddle ( 11).

The trail turns south to cross a drainage which can be snow-filled even into July ( 12) and then turns west again to gain altitude toward the Fairchild-Hagues saddle ( 13). Reach the saddle at a bit over 9 miles from the trailhead, altitude 12,300 feet. Small cairns run east-west on the saddle to help find the trail under snow while descending from either peak, but no trail runs up Hagues Peak. Turn right (north) to survey the route to come ( 14).

The summit is just under one mile away now. Head toward the summit, staying reasonably inside the big west-facing cliffs. The route slowly fades from alpine meadows to meadows with rocks ( 15) to just rocks ( 16), but it stays Class 2 until at least 13,000 feet. By 13,250, it becomes Class 3 rock ( 17).

The true summit comes into view at 13,300 ( 18). Survey the remaining climb ( 19) and pick a route - though it is mostly Class 3 scrambling, a few isolated Class 4 moves will be required. 20 is a close-up of the last 150 vertical feet.

Note that the southwest side of Hagues has sheer cliffs and significant exposure ( 21). Approach from the south or southeast side of the summit to avoid this, and the Class 4 moves will not be exposed ( 22), ( 23). If conditions on the direct route are too challenging, head to the right (northeast) until a weakness in the face is found. Reach the summit at just over 10 miles and 13,560 feet ( 24).

For the return, it is easier to traverse the ridge of Hagues eastward toward Mummy Mountain, staying just on the left side of the ridge and losing altitude just slightly, and then drop into the Hagues-Mummy saddle ( 25) at around 13,400 feet. 26 is an overview of this traverse and initial descent as seen from Mummy. Head toward Mummy Mountain until about 13,200 feet. Then orient toward Lawn Lake at the base of Mummy until 12,875 feet. Then finish turning right, orienting toward Crystal Lake at the base of Fairchild, for the rest of the descent to the trail ( 27). Look for the cluster of bushes in 28 and cross the field below just uphill of them to rejoin the trail. Turn left on the trail to return to the trailhead.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28

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