Alright, this isn’t exactly “new” beta on the Mummy Mania after reading about Kirk and Teresa’s hike, but what the heck, I thought I’d post it anyway. I have heard a lot about this hike for quite some time; however, I never really knew anything about these mountains other than a few brief mentions on the forum.
After two of Bob’s dear friends Marlene and Laurie did this trek last weekend, and after reading about Kirk and Teresa’s outing, I could tell Bob was fired up and chomping-at-the-bit to do this fun ridge-run-loop-hike. Bob seemed a little hell-bent on doing this hike and on Friday he asked me if I wanted to join he and one of his good hiking buddies, Jeff Kunkle, on Sunday. I quickly obliged, as this sounded like it could be a lot of fun.
We met at the Fall River entrance to RMNP at 5:25 am and dropped off my vehicle at the Long Lake TH, as two cars are needed for this loop hike. I hopped into Bob’s car and we drove up to the Chapin Pass TH. The three of us started hiking at 6:00 am.
We started hiking E up the good Chapin Pass Trail ascending at a good rate until skirting below Mount Chapin. After reading other beta on this route, we didn’t want to get sucked into leaving the trail too early and heading up the slopes of Chapin. Try as we did to avoid this mistake, and thinking that we remained on the trail long enough, we started hiking up the hillside only to find ourselves on Chapin’s western summit. We still had a way to hike to reach the western summit, the highest point on Chapin.
As a general rule on this day, we had steady nonstop, icy, gale-force winds to contend with, oftentimes with gusts that would throw us off-balance momentarily. While we had the necessary layers to adapt to the conditions, the wind would not relent all day. The high temperature of the day was 23 degrees, who knows what the wind chills were!
We quickly descended the N slopes of Chapin to the Chapin/Chiquita saddle and hiked up the gentle ridge NE to the summit of Chiquita. From the summit we could see several lakes to the E below including the Spectacle Lakes, Chiquita Lake and Ypsilon Lake.
After a few minutes we began our descent down the north slopes of Chiquita to the Chiquita/Ypsilon saddle and hiked NE to the summit of Ypsilon Mountain. Surprisingly there were a few light clouds above and around us, however they didn’t seem to go away, even with the howling wind!
The next leg of the hike was a bit more complicated than the previous summits. We hiked down the N slopes of Ypsilon and lost a good bit of elevation to the Ypsilon/Fairchild saddle and ended up near the sharp ridge leading up to Fairchild. Thanks to prior beta, we dropped down to the gentle slopes and traverse on the SE side of the ridge. The route leading up to the summit looked rocky and loose, however we ended up scampering up the boulder-laden slope between two gendarme-like features and climbed up through good solid boulders to the summit plateau. This was a fun little bouldering exercise. The hike to the summit highpoint was easy and straightforward. From the summit of Fairchild, we could see the aforementioned lakes to the S as well as Crystal Lake and Lawn Lake to the E including our final summit and goal; Mummy Mountain.
Descending the N slopes of Fairchild was easy and we lost ~ 1,000 ft. of elevation to “The Saddle” between Fairchild and Hagues Peak. I found myself needing an energy boost to make it up the ENE steep boulder-filled steep slopes to the summit of Hagues Peak. The Gu Shots weren’t cutting it. The last 100 ft. or so was fun rock scrambling to the summit. This is also the Larimer County Highpoint and a fun summit.
From Hagues, we dropped down the loose N slopes and in moments were in view of Hagues Lake, which was completely frozen over, as well as Hagues Glacier. Wow, how cool! This was an unexpected bonus to this outing! It was cool to see this glacier with crevasses and all! When we arrived at the lake, the low point between Hagues and Rowe Peak, we walked along the edge of the lake on the ice, which was frozen quite thick. Bob took some cool photos of the lake and glacier before making the relatively easy ascent up Rowe Peak on the N end of the lake.
The quick jaunt over to Rowe Mountain was fairly easy, but it we were unable to discern which point was actually Rowe Mountain. I grabbed my map and Bob did a quick compass bearing to the peak and we figured it out. Since there was little elevation loss/gain, this NNW leg of the hike went rather quickly.
With one peak left, we dropped back below Rowe Mountain and traversed/contoured around Rowe Peak and back along Rowe Lake. From here we did a long contouring traverse around Hagues Peak. Bob stayed low on flatter terrain while Jeff and I stayed higher on this traverse. Turns out Bob was right-on with his guestimate on elevation and ended up roughly at the same elevation as the low point between Hagues and Mummy Mountain, our final peak of the day. Jeff and I ended up descending to the saddle and met back up with Bob at this point.
The clouds thickened a little bit and the air was somewhat misty with the howling wind. We took a quick break at the saddle and mustered up the energy needed to make our final ascent of the day up Mummy Mountain. The wind was more brutal than ever as we often quickly lost balance and footing on our way to the summit. After giving eachother high-fives after hiking all eight peaks, we all regrouped a bit and studied the route down on our maps.
The funny thing about this day was that the shallow clouds lingered amidst the peaks despite the wind! The weather was somewhat bizarre all day. We made the long SE, then S descent off Mummy Mountain on gentle slopes and then soft grass that led us down the grassy slopes to where the treeline began where we followed the drainage to the Tileston Meadows where we met the Black Canyon Trail. Since the air was holding moisture in the late afternoon sun, there was a rainbow that appeared above the ridge. After a gentle ascent back to the NW for a short hike on trail, we turned south on the Lawn Lake Trail for the final 5.7 miles back to the TH. It was enjoyable hiking on a gentle trail in trees! Hiking along the Roaring River was very scenic in areas as the riverbed is deep and rocky. This last six miles on trail was almost effortless as we cruised back to the TH. We used our headlamps for the remaining two or so miles.
Just over 12 hours we were back at the TH and we all had ravenous appetites. We jumped into my truck and drove up to Bob’s car and sped out of RMNP to Estes Park for a bite to eat. When we arrived in Estes Park, it was like a ghost town at only 7:30 pm. The restaurant that Bob wanted to go to was closed, as was almost everything else on the main drag. We walked into a bar on the main drag that was open but didn’t serve food. The bartender told us that the only thing open was the bowling alley. Oh well, so on our way down the street Bob and Jeff spotted Ed’s Cantina, which was still open! Wooo hooo…great food and beers! What a fun day and great company! Bob has been a great buddy to hike with as of late and Jeff is a helluva cool dude too, not to mention he is an animal! Again……what a blast!