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 Peak(s):  Chiefs Head Pk  -  13,579 feet
 Post Date:  01/20/2013
 Date Climbed:   11/17/2012
 Posted By:  tlerunner
 Chiefs Head - Sandbeach Lake Trail   

The start of the winter of 2012-2013 has had very little snow fall. I have been taking advantage of that to climb some of the more remote peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. I tried climbing Chiefs Head before last spring but was turned around by heavy snow and wind on the North Ridge. Time to give it another go.
I started from the Copeland trail head before sunrise under the glow of my headlamp. The wind was howling in the trees so I knew what to expect. The sun rose shortly after the junction with the Horsetooth mountain trail

Image
Sunrise


My plan was to hike up to where the trail crosses Hunters Creek.

Image
Frozen Hunters Creek


From there I followed Hunters Creek upstream. This is a spectacular area, I came down this creek last summer after climbing Mt. Meeker. At first the snow was pretty thin but deepened with altitude.

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Around Hunters Creek


Pagoda is certainly a cool looking mountain.

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Pagoda Mountain


The wind was still howling. Here are some banshee’s playing across Mt. Orton.

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Banshees


I continued up along the upper reaches of Hunters Creek. Eventually I reached the small un-named tarn at its head. It was completely frozen.

Image
Frozen tarn in upper Hunters Creek


From there I angled up the steep slope to the North Ridge. North Ridge of what? Orton? Seems to be strangely labeled on the map. Anyways, I followed the North Ridge up to the summit ridge of Chiefs Head. There were a number of false summits but finally the real summit revealed itself through the clouds and snow.

Image
The summit


Even though it was not calendar winter, it was full on winter conditions.

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It was a goggles required day


Pagoda, Longs and Meeker peeked through the clouds.

Image
Pagoda, Longs, Meeker


I did not stay too long on the summit as it was quite cold and windy. However it cleared up (of course) as I descended.

Image
Looking down at Mt. Orton


I followed my tracks the whole way back down. I took a break to eat some soup in upper Hunters Creek. Not a bad place for a picnic. All in all a great hike, good to get the summit after failing previously.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):


  • Comments or Questions (1)
MtnHub


Very nice!     2013-01-21 15:48:06
Some really nice shots with the clouds!



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