I rolled into Bear Lake TH at about 4:30am, and the overcast skies I saw concerned me a bit - I hoped that I wouldn't be turned back by an early storm. I was packed and on the trail by 4:45, keeping a quick pace while my path was relatively flat - by this time I was super stoked on the new trekking poles I picked up at REI the day before. I passed Nymph and Dream Lakes, and was at Emerald Lake by 5:30.
The trail ended so I headed south around the lake and up towards Tyndall. After an hour and a half of boulderhopping, I rested at the base of Tyndall Glacier. There was evidence of 2 or 3 slab slides on the glacier - the breakaway areas looked black and covered in ice. I spotted a couple of climbers scrambling down the steep and unstable rock patch just right of the glacier. When they made it down, I found out that they were the group that arrived at the TH just as I was getting on trail. They had planned on climbing a technical route on Hallett, but took the standard route up, instead of following me through Tyndall Gorge. We chatted for a bit while we smoked a bowl of krondon. Then, they headed down the Gorge to find their route on the North Face of Hallett.
I geared up with my axe, helmet, and crampons and headed up the north side of Tyndall, just left of the rocks. I had seen a picture that indicated that my route was about 30° in slope, but it seemed much steeper - using the spike as pro wasn't cutting it so I had to flip that shit and use the pick...it was righteous! The patches of rock and ice below me really made it exciting! It only took 20 minutes to gain the glacier, and I topped out at 7:50. I geared down, took a break, and called my parents in South Dakota.
After taking some photos of the crevasses near the top, I headed North to Flattop, which was closer than I thought. I rested at the trail fork and met a large group of runners that came up the standard route.
I had decided that I really didn't want to try to glissade back down Tyndall and retrace through the boulderfield, so I took it easy and descended on the standard trail. I love the looks that touring people give me when they see the mountaineering getup I rock (the white glacier glasses, gaitors, helmet, axe, etc)!
I arrived at Bear Lake at 10am and found a nice big boulder in the water to have a snack - a big can of pineapple! I finished slowly, admiring the awesome view of the Divide, then packed up and strolled over to the parking lot, which seemed more like a damn circus than anything...I guess that's summer in RMNP.
A super fun climb that I'm sure I'll do again sometime!