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RMNP Noob Tour

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RMNP Noob Tour

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:16 pm

I will be in RMNP next year, Aug 1 - 7, meeting up with three guys I grew up with. I have hiked quite a bit with one of them, Isle Royale and so forth, but I have not seen the other two in 20 years.

I have been to RMNP twice, and within it I have hiked from Grand Lake to Lake Verna, hiked Estes Cone and climbed Longs via the Keyhole. I have also done a few of the regular day hikes out from Estes Park.

I'll be staying on a bit in CO after these guys leave to climb a couple 14ers elsewhere, but while in RMNP, I'm looking for recommendations as follows -

Mostly the idea is to hang out, fish a little, and become regulars at brew pubs, but there will be some outside stuff too. I don't think at least two of these guys would be up for anything like Longs (not a good idea on several fronts anyhow), but would like to get them a fun "summiting" experience to take home with them. They're all from Michigan and have not climbed before, and except for the one aforementioned guy, have not backpacked. (Although the two backpack noobs say it "sounds like fun" and are "willing to try it", finding out you hate carrying a pack up a hill while you're a day into heading up to Lake Verna is not really a good time.) They're all reasonably fit and mid 40s.

Estes Cone kinda fits the bill here, but I am wondering if there is another hill somewhere else that also offers up a good experience for flatlanders without hours of approach time, overnights, or exposure.

So - recommendations for fun no-more-than-a-shade-of-Class-3 climbs in RMNP that are not Estes Cone or Longs Peak?

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby smoove » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:24 pm

Mt. Alice is a good, long 13er hike. Mostly a long, easy, pretty Class 1 trail. A little bit of Class 3 near the end (seemed more like 2+).

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby 12ersRule » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:24 pm

Chapin/Chiquita/Ypsilon sounds about perfect for them. The trailhead is the Chapin Creek TH off of Fall River Road. You get above treeline without too much effort (maybe 15-20 minutes before you're above treeline). Views are spectacular.

Going all the way to Ypsilon (and beyond) is a pretty respectable accomplishment, but the other 2 summits are good and not too committing.

No exposure on this either.

EDIT: And beyond, I'm talking about East and West Desolation, some 12ers, that have a nice scramble between the West and East summits.
If you're really gung-ho, do Mummy Mania. Get Fairchild, Hagues, and Mummy Mtn (or just Fairchild) and then shuttle back to your other car.

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby cocraig » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:07 pm

Flattop Mountain/Hallett Peak are nice ones and put you right on the Divide. Bear Lake trailhead.

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby mountain_man » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Twin Sisters is a good hike. Class 1 up to the top and then some scrambling to the summit. 8 miles, took me about 4.5 hours the other day. It has views similar to Estes Cone.
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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby DaveSwink » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:50 pm

From the Wild Basin trailhead, hike to Sandbeach Lake and then onto the summit of Mount Orton.

From the Longs trailhead, Mount Lady Washington provides awesome views of the Diamond and Chasm Lake.

Edit: a second vote for Twin Sisters!

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby dillonsarnelli » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Hey SuperiorTrailHiker,

Below is a link to the RMNP TR on a trip I did with some friends when they came to town this past June. From Wild Basin, we camped at the St Vrain site and then trekked up Alice and Chiefs Head the following day. This area is AMAZING and these guys are still talking about it... Hope it gives you some ideas!

http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12141

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Last edited by dillonsarnelli on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby JasonF » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:19 pm

Suggest Deer Mountain (10,000 ft) as a good warmup hike for flatlanders (6 mile RT, 1300 vert gain). Offers great views of most of the other potential peaks mentioned above.
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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby kimo » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:30 pm

anna wrote:I'd throw in a big hoorah for Saint Vrain Mountain...


Enthusiastically agree with Anna. I've now been on 26 unique RMNP summits and St Vrain Mtn ranks near the top for views. Factor in the good trail and reasonable mileage, and this is one nifty summit worthy of repeat visits.

The view of Longs and Pagoda from the St. Vrain Mtn trail.
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The view of Wild Basin from the summit of St. Vrain Mtn.
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anna wrote:Whatever you do, don't take the trail to Sandbeach Lake from the Sandbeach TH... 4.5 miles one way of endless trees.


Papi told me to hike this trail in the dark. I wish I had listened to his advice. STH, if you want to keep your friends, consider Anna's comment as fair warning. #-o

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby Mindy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:37 pm

49ersRule wrote:Chapin/Chiquita/Ypsilon sounds about perfect for them. The trailhead is the Chapin Creek TH off of Fall River Road. You get above treeline without too much effort (maybe 15-20 minutes before you're above treeline). Views are spectacular.

Going all the way to Ypsilon (and beyond) is a pretty respectable accomplishment, but the other 2 summits are good and not too committing.

No exposure on this either.



+1... easy bail from Chapin/Chiquita if required AND you will drive over Trail Ridge Road (Fall River is a one-way), additional views for your buddies to behold.

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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby SilverLynx » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:44 pm

kimo, I really like that picture of Longs and Pagoda! How beautiful! Did you take those?
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Re: RMNP Noob Tour

Postby SuperiorTrailHiker » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:59 pm

Folks, really appreciate the time people have taken to reply, and especially the pictures. This stuff is exactly what I was looking for, and the personal commentary makes it much better than floundering around looking for impersonal reports elsewhere. I know there are plenty of beautiful spots in the area that in my limited experience I haven't come across.

As I told one person in an IM, looking to make sure these guys have the "Man, would you look at THIS" Colorado experience without making them do 14ers I know about (I don't think they'd be too happy), and you all have given me a lot to work with to make sure that happens.

I don't want to shut down the recommendations; if you have one, definitely fire it up, I'm taking all the info I can get in plotting this out.

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