Flattop Notchtop Knobtop Gabletop
Situated as the Northeast corner of the Bighorn Flats, Gabletop Mountain is the 4th and least visited mountain of the '-tops.' An inconspicious summit, Gabletop is often skipped because it lies below Knobtop Mountain(the 3rd -top), thus elevation must be lost in order to reach it. However, the loss is only a gradual 400 feet, and really is not a big deal when reconnecting to the Tonahutu Creek Trail.
In my opinion, Gabletop is a much more interesting summit than Knobtop and Flattop (I have not climbed Notchtop), and the seclusion and less frequented summit is appealing.
Elevation Gain(Net):2464' (Bear Lake TH)
Mileage: ~6.5 without side trips (Bear Lake TH)
Latitude: N40 19.989
Longitude: W105 41.946
Knobtop, Sprague Mtn, Gabletop, Stones Peak
Reaching Gabletop Mountain
Gabletop is almost always summited from Bighorn Flats via its west slope, however GABLETOP CANNOT BE SEEN FROM THE TONAHUTU CREEK TRAIL! When you look for Gabletop from the trail, you will only see the uninterupted horizon of Bighorn Flats. The best bet to reach the summit from the trail is to head in the general direction (between Sprague Pass and Knobtop Mtn) and you will eventually see it as you hike across the mild tundra, or climb Knobtop for a birds eye view of your route. Either way you are led to a small saddle .1 mile west of the summit at 11800'. The rest of the hike consists of an easy scramble over medium sized boulders. The true summit (or at least the one with the register) is the westermost point. The return to the trail should not present a problem if you head in a general SW direction and look for the giant cairns that mark it. Grade I Class 2
Ascents are also made from Odessa Lake through Tourmaline Gorge. Grade I Class 2
The main trailhead used is Bear Lake, which can be reached by taking US 36 to the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station west of Estes Park, then driving to the end of Bear Lake road.
One can also ascend from Odessa Lake, meaning starting at Fern Lake TH, which can be reached by exiting the Bear Lake road at Moraine Park and following the road to the TH.
Park Regulations and Entrance fees apply no matter how you plan to climb Gabletop Mountain. Visit the Parks website at www.nps.gov/romo for more details.
Be advised to start early as afternoon thunderstorms are ALWAYS a danger.
The nearest campgrounds to Gabletop are Moraine Park Campground and Glacier Basin Campground. The nearest Backcountry campsites are at Odessa Lake, Timberline, and Fern Lake. All are stoves only.
External LinksSP for Flattop Mountain
SP for Knobtop Mountain