Peak(s):  Chiquita, Mt  -  13,069 feet
Ypsilon Mtn  -  13,514 feet
Mount Chapin - 12454
Date Posted:  07/05/2013
Modified:  07/20/2013
Date Climbed:   07/03/2013
Author:  andrewrose
 CYC, or CCY the hard way.  

"It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?"- C. M. Burns
12:50am, alarm goes off. 12:55 snooze awakens me. Don't feel great, but get up and get ready. Sunscreen on, tea heated, final gear check done. Drive one hour to RMNP. Forgot Fall River entrance, and enter by Beaver Meadows. Extra drive. Arrive at Lawn Lake trail head shortly before 2:30. On trail minutes later.
My original plan was to ascend Mummy Mountain and then hit some of the peaks in the area. Hiking at night is both entrancing and scary. The entire night sky laid out for the viewing like a thousand diamonds, but the absolute darkness of the trail, the cone of headlamp illumination.
I made it to Cutbank in an hour, on my planned pace, but was not feeling so hot. I kept wondering if I was really awake, if it was possible to walk while asleep, if I had crashed my truck on the way up and was stuck in some sort of hiking limbo. Hunger struck, but rather than make me feel better, food made me feel nausea.
"I can't do this."
Heading back down frustrated that I had wasted the gas and effort to get up this far and just turn back. I had come this far, I should at least try to do something. What about CCY? I'll just get back to the Ypsilon trail and see how I feel there.
At the trail intersection, it was now 4:30 and the sky was starting to lighten. Maybe I'll just go up a bit and see how I feel. I can always turn back.

Ypsilon Trail, early morning.
The day grew brighter, and I started to feel better. I continued up the Ypsilon Lake trail until a point where I could no longer see Chiquita looking west and felt like I was getting close to Chipmunk Lake. Here the real fun began.
In reality, the bushwhack wasn't too bad at all. Some dead fall to go over, around, and balance beam on. The bush was mostly ankle height or lower, until tree line came and krumholtz became more predominate.

On the eastern ridge. It was easy to pick a way through and avoid all bushwhacking.

Crest the ridge and you are granted this beautiful sight. Chapin on the left, with point 12005 and Chiquita directly ahead.
I topped out point 12005 and contemplated the last 1000 feet of gain on a relatively solid talus and tundra slope. Up was the only way now.

Chiquita Lake, with Ypsilon in behind, Donner and Blitzen Ridges visible, and Fairchild in the background.
In what felt like no time at all, I was standing atop Mount Chiquita (13069 feet), only my fourth 13er of the year, though the late spring journey in waist deep snow to Chiquita Lake and area was probably a bit more difficult.

From the top, you can see just how long the eastern ridge is.
Ypsilon was the next goal of the day. I was not looking forward to the loss of 300 feet and subsequent regain of 700, still not feeling great.

Fur and early morning dew. I surprised myself by marching right up to the top, without pause to catch my breath, though a few pauses were taken for photos.

Spectacle Lakes from one of the Y couloirs.

Fairchild, Hagues, Mummy. More adventure on another day.

Looking down Blitzen Ridge, Fay Lakes visible. This was the site of the fatal accident over the winter.
I sat in the windbreak atop Ypsilon (13514) and ate. I found it fun to point out and name all of the surrounding peaks, ones I had climbed and ones I had not yet, out loud and to no one in particular. I was still majorly tired, but the sights elated me. A few chocolate covered espresso beans helped as well.
A few deep breaths to gather my nerves, and I was off to Chapin. I would hit the saddle between Chiquita and Ypsilon and contour around. Again here the talus was pretty solid, well mixed in with tundra. Eventually I stumbled onto a trail heading down to the saddle between Chapin and Chiquita. I followed this, and much to my surprise, ran into another hiker. He said Old Fall River Road had opened at 9am and he started from Chapin Pass TH to go for Ypsilon. Go figure! I took a few pictures for him, wished him well, and we went out ways.

Chapin was now looking like alot of gain, but I guess everything does.
I stuck out up over the tundra, eventually hitting the trail up this peak. This trail does not take you directly to the summit, but rather to a windbreak. It was obvious this was not the high point, so I headed back up to another windbreak and then a cairn marking the summit.

Summit cairn. Interestingly, I couldn't find registers on any of the three peaks. Maybe a fair amount of traffic registers them unregisterable.
And now, a problem. Nature was calling. And not a #1, nor a #2, but the dreaded #3. I happened to be prepared for the occasion with a kitchen trash bag. Why couldn't you wait one hour longer dear Nature? I only mention something so foul now because there is some later relevance.
Looking east down my descent route, I was experienced a moment of happiness that will likely only be surpassed when I hold my yet to be conceived first born child in my arms for the first time.

A trail was sighted!
I had been expecting an "arduous bushwhack" but there was a trail! Who knew how long it would last, but there was a trail! The top part was through some looser talus, scree, and dirt. Once I hit the grassy tundra it was pretty solid, though there were times it had been overgrown completely. No problem, just look for the depression.

The east ridge of Chapin holds some cool rock features.
When I reached tree line, I expected the trail to disappear, but to my surprise, it multiplied. There were many trails headed down the ridge, which seemed to split, come back together, split, come back together. I've never seen anything like it. They were obviously not NPS trails, and the only foot prints I saw were deer or elk. Maybe one was an old hunters trail, and the spurs were animal trails that developed as dead fall blocked the way of the main trail?
Lisa Fosters description was to stay east to avoid steep cliff faces. I was confused by this, since the ridge runs west to east. Of course it actually runs SEE, so stay on the east or north side of the ridge. I was really too tired to figure this out at this point, and ended up cliffed out on the south side.
I could find a way back up, but my legs didn't want anymore up. I could now hear Fall River below, see the road, see cars. I decided to pick my way down. Really, it wasn't too bad. One third class move and some steep ground was manageable.

Cliffy south face of Chapin.
I popped out onto Old Fall River Road right above Chasm Falls. Walking down the road, I thought why the hell not? I was expecting the requisite tourist questions, "What were you doing? Where did you come from(usually answered by jerking a thumb over my shoulder)? Really? You were up there? No, he's lying, no one can do that!"
But instead, I was given a wide berth accompanied by a few odd stares. Maybe it was my bush scratched arms, the wild sleepless look in my eyes, or the ice axe strapped to my pack, saying I don't give a 5h!t. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the increasingly aromatic white trash bag of poo tied to my backpack. I'll let you decide.

Chasm Falls. If I were you, I'd wait until Old Fall River Road closes and just walk up from Endovalley. It's not far at all, and just hard enough to keep tourists away.
From here it was still several miles back to the Lawn Lake TH and my truck. I finally found a trash can along the way and rid myself of my foul cargo.
Right near the TH I looked back.

And noticed that I could see Chapin and a good chunk of Chiquita from down here.
The view was pretty impressive, and it was hard to believe that just a few hours before I had stood on both. My noble spirit felt embiggened.
It was great to slip out of my trail runners and into some more comfy sandals. After a tenuous drive down 36, at home I quenched my thirst with some beer, a margarita, and ate about three days worth of food.
While not technically difficult, this was a decidedly long and hard hike, especially when you compare the numbers to those of CCY from Chapin Pass. That hike will bring you a net gain of 2500ish feet, and a round trip distance of 8 miles or so. Here it was a touch under 5000 feet of gain, and six miles just to summit the first peak. I ended the day with an estimated 14 miles and 6100 feet of gross gain under my belt. And I don't even wear belts.
And there you have it. CYC, or CCY the hard way.

 Comments or Questions

#3 Hah!
07/05/2013 17:09
Never heard that before, isn't it more like 1.5?


07/06/2013 04:51
Really it depends on how you do the math...

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