North Bald Mountain, Middle Bald Mountain, and Laramie Mountains HP
Joe & Frédérique Grim, Chris & Gretchen O'Dell, and Ellie the dog
9.4 miles round-trip
2448' elevation gain (10% grade)
We started the hike under sunny skies at 8:55am from the Killpecker Trailhead and headed up the Killpecker Trail for 2.3 miles to where the trail takes a turn toward the west, where we cut off trail to the south-southeast. After 0.5 miles off trail, we intersected Killpecker Road (NF300), where we turned left and followed it southeast for 0.3 miles to a where it turns sharply toward the west. Here we again headed off trail toward the southeast, then east, and finally northeast reaching the North Bald Mountain summit at 11:03am. The summit provides nice views in all directions, including 6 different mountains ranges: nearby mountains of the Laramie Range including Middle and South Bald Mountains to the south, the Mummy Range to the south, the Never Summer Range to the southwest, the Medicine Bow Range to the west, the Park Range to the west-northwest, and the Snowy Range to the northwest.
As we started to head toward Middle Bald Mountain, clouds were beginning to build around the area, with one cloud producing some virga. The route we took was initially toward the southwest, to avoid the tricky and rocky south-southwest slopes of the mountain. Once we reached the southwest saddle, we turned more southward toward Middle Bald Mountain and reached its summit at 12:09pm, where we ate lunch and enjoyed more beautiful views. There was precipitation falling from the clouds in nearly every direction, although they were all 20+ miles away. I saw one lightning strike to the west.
After lunch, we headed northwest down to the Killpecker Trail, which we followed northwest for 0.3 miles to where we cut off trail to the west and then south to the location of the Laramie Mountains HP given here on Lists of John (the northern of two 11,000' contours on USGS topos - essentially just a high point in the woods), arriving at 1:03pm. From there, we could see what appeared to be a slightly higher rocky peak just to the south (the other 11,000' contour on the USGS topos). I'm 90% sure this southern point is the higher of the two. We stopped for some quick photos, but rain clouds were coming in from the west, so we quickly headed back down. It soon started sprinkling a bit and 15 minutes later we heard the first boom of distant thunder. We cut back north to the Killpecker Trail, which we then followed back to the trailhead, reaching the car at 3:05pm. The most rain we got were only sprinkles, although we did hear several booms of distant thunder. Snowcover was patchy above 10,000' with as much as 50% coverage in some stretches above 10,500'. It was a great hike, except for the mosquitos that gathered each time we had to stop in the woods.
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