I had been planning a trip for my days off for nearly two weeks, but nothing seemed to be working in my favor. My original plan was to finish off the Elk 14er's Pyramid, Castle and Snowmass on my days off. When I checked the weather report before leaving it showed T-Storms for all day Wed. Not wanting to drive all that way to sit in the rain I thought about an alternate plan.
I've wanted to do the Mummy Mania traverse of the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountian National Park since first reading about it in Roach's guide to RMNP. The route starts at Chapin Pass trailhead and crosses the summits of 5 13er's (Chiquita,Ypsilon, Fairchild, Hagues and Mummy) and 1 12er (Chapin) over 16 miles and 5700 ft of vertical gain, ending at the Lawn Lake trailhead. My new plan was to take Wed. as a rest day and convince my wife to drop me off at 4am on Thurs. at the Chapin Pass TH.
All was going well until I started catching a cold mid day Wed. I started pumping the vitamins, hell-bent on making this trip after all the other delays. By the time I awoke at 2am Thurs. I felt about 80% up for the trip. My wife got out of bed and drove me to the trailhead. I was having second thoughts about the trip when I considered my condition and the fact that I was about to be dropped off a long ways from any other people and my car.
Once on the trail heading towards Mount Chapin I started to feel a bit better, by the time I made the summit I felt like crap. Knowing how far I was from the car I made myself start for the summit of Chaquita. From here I did not see a trail until the traverse was completed. The rock was slick with frost and ice which made for tough going, on the otherhand I once again felt better. I made the summit of Chaquita without incident only to slip on the way to Ypsilon's summit nearly breaking my index finger and cutting it to the bone.
At this point I had nearly had it when I suddenly thought of my 85 year old grandmother. Two days before she had fallen and broken her hip. Due to her bad health the doctors opted not to do surgery and put her to bed with pain killers. I realized how she will never walk again and suddenly I realized how fortunate I was to be in the mountains hiking. My troubles suddenly didn't seem so bad. I decided to put it behind me and continue on.
The trip from the summit of Ypsilon to Fairchild was easy going despite some loose rock in places. I soon found myself headed down Fairchild towards the broad saddle leading to Hagues. The climb leading to the summit of Hagues approached class 4 in spots although these could have been avoided with some altitude loss. When I made the summit of Hagues I seriously considered taking in Rowe Peak and Mount Rowe with an addtion of 2 miles and 800 ft. I decided to stick to the original plan and soon found myselft on the summit of Mummy Mountain.
The descent from Mummy was very interesting with a bit of bushwhaching near the end. The long 6 mile walk out was rather pleasent as I saw no one else the entire trip until the last 3 miles.
The traverse is a great tour of the Mummy range and is very commiting with few options for bailing. Two cars are highly recommended. The route can be done in reverse with nearly 9000 vertical feet of gain.
I was glad that I continued, finishing just under 8 hours without running. I said a little prayer for my Grandmother and took one last look at the traverse before heading home.