Mt Alice as seen from a small pond just before reaching Lion Lake #1 on the Lion Lake Trail in Wild Basin, RMNP.
Mt. Alice is in one of the most beautiful settings in the Rocky Mountains. It is located on the Continental Divide, deep in the heart of Wild Basin within the borders of Rocky Mountain National Park. Suprisingly, it is not climbed as often as many of the other mountains in Colorado. It is a challenging mountain to climb, simply because of the long approach. It is an 18 mile, round trip hike, that includes an elevation gain of 4,810 feet.
There is a debate on the easiest route to the summit. However, this will include no more than Class 3 hiking whether you summit via Hourglass Ridge, or Boulder-Grand Pass.
Round trip: 18 miles
Elevation gain: 4,810 feet
You will need to enter the National Park at the "Wild Basin" Entrance. This is the Southern most entrance on the East side of the Park, about 20 minutes South of Estes Park on Hwy 7. From the entrance to the Park, you will follow a dirt road around Copeland Lake, following North St. Vrain Creek until you reach the Wild Basin Ranger Station and Trailhead. You will then hike along the Thunder Lake Trail, passing Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls. Follow the same trail until you reach a fork, where you will then decide if you will approach the mountain from the south, via Boulder-Grand Pass, or from the North, via Hourglass Ridge.
Again, these two routes are about the same in difficulty. You may experience more Class 3 hiking by going the Hourglass Ridge Route. But, Boulder-Grand pass is quite steep, and a challenge in itself. But once above Boulder-Grand, it is a nice, grassy Tundra walk to the summit.
The only permit required is a pass to get into the National Park. You can buy a week pass for $20, or an annual pass for $35. If you plan on camping in Wild Basin, you will need to contact the Backcountry Office at 970-586-1242. Fees for camping vary, depending on the season, and the number in your party. A parking pass will only be required when parking overnight. A pass is included in the price of you backcountry camping permit.
Mount Alice is usually climbed between June and September. By the end of July, the large snowfield, on the North Face (Hourglass Ridge) will, most likely, be gone. This mountain is quite a bit more difficult to climb in the Winter months. First of all, they close the dirt road about a mile from the trailhead, this adding another two miles, round trip, to the hike. Second, the approach will be a lot more difficult in snowshoes. And, finally, you will definately need an ice axe and crampons to summit either route.
Camping is allowed in Wild Basin. There are a few campsites, some closer to Mt. Alice than others. Call 970-586-1242 to make reservations. Fees will vary depending on season and the number in your party. These will ALL be STOVES ONLY campsites.
To get the most accurate conditions on this mountain, it would be best to call Rocky Mountain National Park directly. 970-586-1206.
Basically, the only things you will need to check on before attempting to summit Mt. Alice, would be the weather for the day, and the conditions of the snowfields on the North Face, and at Boulder-Grand Pass.
This is a long, strenuous day hike, so please use your basic knowledge of backpacking/mountaineering. Bring plenty of water, food, and clothing etc......