Date: August 28, 2006
Author: Adam Helman
This effort was part of a larger journey
collecting Colorado county highpoints in August and early September 2006.
Weather is an issue for this climb. The weekend is bad, with the first "good" day being Monday.
I coax Tim Worth, partner, to skip his single 9 a.m. class in order to finally reach the
highpoint of his home county.
With his agreement we initiate the bold plan of independently entering
Rocky Mountain National Park well before the entrance booths are manned.
In so doing we avoid the $20 entrance fee, and, as importantly, get an early start
up this 5,000 foot gain highpoint before the inevitable afternoon storms intervene.
I arise at 2:12 a.m. in Denver's American Motel; check The Weather Channel,
and, espresso chip chocolate and coffee at-hand, drive north on Route 36 through Estes Park
by 4 a.m. My nocturnal rendezvous with Tim at the Lawn Lake trailhead is completed,
and we hike at 4:46 a.m. uptrail.
The trail is excellent, allowing rapid elevation gain clear to Lawn Lake.
A bitter wind greets us, suggesting an additional layer each.
The weekend storm leaves snow beginning at 11,700 feet just where our route
departs from the standard one which heads for the saddle.
Nearby clouds race by, suggesting that the saddle cum ridge route will be too windy.
We thus head north up to the Hagues-Mummy saddle on easy, snow-covered grass and talus.
Snow is a serious issue on the summit ridge, where hefty, refrigerator-sized boulders
are negotiated with six inches of the white stuff. My gloves are soaked even though they
are of water-wicking material in the palm and other areas. I need the Gore-Tex hood to
combat the wind on this, the northern and windward side of the ridge.
Summit siesta is only brief enough for Tim to investigate the register.
The photograph below is taken minutes later along the summit ridge.
Just below the Hagues Peak - Mummy saddle I descend and wait for Tim at the trail
where we had started uphill. Tim climbs Mummy Mountain.
By twelve noon the snow is nearly all gone - so strong is the sun's influence.
Hagues Peak is a 5,000 foot net gain ascent using the Lawn Lake trailhead.
A 8,520 foot spot elevation is located at a nearby road junction just east of
the trailhead; and I detected no gradient on the road between said junction and the
parked vehicles. By subtraction, one obtains a 5,040 foot net elevation gain.
Ours is a twelve hour day - including the climb of Mummy Mountain for Tim,
and the hour I spent waiting for him at 11,700 feet.
Rime ice atop the Hagues Peak summit ridge
with Adam setting the scale.