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
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 ( 5
). Rowe Peak is hidden behind Hagues Peak. The trail splits in three near here for camping sites and llama tethering. Tether your llama as needed and then head left ( 6
The trail cruises through light forest and meadows ( 7
) 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 ( 8
). The trail splits near 8 miles - go right, per the sign indicating The Saddle ( 9
The trail turns south to cross a drainage which can be snow-filled even into July ( 10
) and then turns west again to gain altitude toward the Fairchild-Hagues saddle ( 11
). 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 ( 12
The summit of Hagues Peak 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 to just rocks, but it stays Class 2 until at least 13,000 feet. By 13,250, it becomes Class 3 rock.
The true summit comes into view at 13,300 ( 13
). Survey the remaining climb ( 14
) and pick a route - though it is mostly Class 3 scrambling, a few isolated Class 4 moves will be required. 15
is a close-up of the last 150 vertical feet.
Note that the southwest side of Hagues has sheer cliffs and significant exposure ( 16
). Approach from the south or southeast side of the summit to avoid this, and the Class 4 moves will not be exposed ( 17
). 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 ( 19
Rowe Peak and Rowe Glacier are visible to the north from the Hagues summit ( 1
). Traverse eastward along the Hagues Peak ridge for a quarter mile or so, and then drop into the Rowe Glacier basin. 20
shows the route across and to the summit of Rowe Peak ( 21
). The drop into the basin loses about 300 vertical feet, but it's much better than the very technical and glaciated ridge between Hagues and Rowe ( 22
The hike over to Rowe is difficult Class 2 throughout and only 0.8 miles from the Hagues summit, but ice and snow fields persist until late in the summer. Evaluate conditions on the glacier carefully. There is a summit register on Rowe Peak, rarely signed. Rarely climbed Rowe Mountain, an unranked 13er, is just beyond Rowe Peak's summit, another half a mile north of Rowe Peak and 300 feet lower.
From the summit of Rowe, study the route back up the Hagues ridge. Plan to ascend toward the rock noted in 23
. ( 24
) shows a close-up of the rock, which sits at 13,350 feet, just below the ridge line at 13,400 feet ( 25
From the top of that ridge, drop into the Hagues-Mummy saddle ( 26
). 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.