It is interesting to read the summit logs from 3 or 4 weeks ago, as we had absolutely no snow on or near the trail. I hiked this in the afternoon with my wife, and I carried DayHikerJr, age 10 1/2 months, for his first summit over 12000 feet.
It's nearly impossible to get an early start with a 10-1/2-month-old, and with the one-hour drive from Estes Park, we were guaranteed to have an afternoon hike, closely watching the monsoon-season Colorado skies. Near the summit, we had some light rain and then brief light hail, but no nearby thunder until about 20 minutes after we had left the summit. We were glad to be off the summit and down away from the high part of the ridge when the thunder rumbled overhead, but we were not completely safe. The main page is definitely right about there being absolutely no cover on the entire upper part of the trail.
We took the Milner Pass route in a heavy snowpack year; the switchback section (mostly facing NE) was covered in 4-6 feet of snow. After getting through the trees, the tundra was snow-free and an easy hike. We saw about three dozen bighorns in several herds. Beautiful views along the way and at the summit!
For being exposed to the weather all day, this was a calm and pleasant hike. Hiked among a flock of ewes for part of the route. The rams gave us no trouble at all. Snow in trees made for a trail-shortening bushwhack as we marched straight through the forest to treeline. Also provided a few brief glissades on the way down, which were refreshing. In sum, an excellent day above treeline.
Still lots of snow in the trees. Made for lots of postholing on the way down. We had 4 male bighorn sheep charge us in what I can only describe as a phalanx and then stopped short of us by 20 feet. Hmmm...
The first time I tried, it was on a July afternoon in 2004, and a strong thunderstorm chased me away when I was less than a mile from the summit (one of the most terrifying experiences ever as I hustled across the open, rolling tundra with lightning, thunder, hail, and snow pounding the area).
No problems at all the second time. I started shortly after dawn and had a pleasant, uneventful hike there and back.
Did this long hike solo. Began at 7:30am. Summited at 12:30am. Its 5.3 mile to the lake alone; From the lake an additional mile "or so" and 1,840ft. higher on steep, off trail talus and tundra. The seclusion was surreal..saw Elk, Hawks, Deer & a Coyote!
This was a consolation prize in what would have otherwise been a really long, really wet adventure in the park.
Very nice hike. We encountered a couple of sheep running down the trail toward us on the way to Ida. The route to Timber Lake is fairly easy to determine and definitely worth the time. We had a little trouble getting a ride back to Milner Pass, but all around, a great day.
too lazy to keep heading over to Cracktop
A long day in the park ...
A continental divide hike from Milner Pass to Bear Lake, later referred to as "The Death March", took us over Mount Ida, Chief Cheley Peak, and Flattop Mountain.
I climbed this peak, like many others, on a trip across the Park. The peak gave me a little surprise after the summit- it had been hidding a storm coming my way! Pretty area. I'll do it over again and again!
Total ascents = 8. First time on a long, one day, traverse from Milner Pass to Bear Lake. The summits that day included Ida, Chief Cheley, Cracktop, Julian, Terra Tomah, Sprague and Flattop. I've repeated that trip without the side trip to Julian and Terra Tomah on two other occasions.
Ida was the first summit of five that day...Ida, Chief Cheley, Cracktop, Julian, and Terra Tomah. Actually Ida was the first and last summit that day since once we went out to Terra Tomah we returned over all of the peak and back to Ida. By the time we reached the summit for the second time the sun had just set. With no moon we couldn't see two feet in front of us even with headlamps and ended up huddling up until sunrise when we returned to our vehicle. I've returned to the summit of Ida 4 times since that day.
Every time I've summitted, it has been a little different. The first time I snowshoed most of the way to the summit without following a trail (basically just going straight up). The second time I took my family and friends up the trail...which made things much easier! The final time I climbed was on route to Bear Lake.
12/21/2003: Day 3 of a Rocky Mountain National Park traverse from Cameron Pass to Grand Lake.
Beautiful day. Climbed Ida on Continental Divide ridge traverse between Milner Pass and Bear Lake. Think we saw pksander and Fabio in saddle between Ida and Chief Cheley, but didn't know (who) until I read this summit log just now.
Climbed Mount Ida and Chief Cheley Peak with Fabio on a beautiful September day. Cold in the mountains at our 5 a.m. start and a great hike to the summit of Ida and then down the steep ridge to the saddle and up Chief Cheley. A long and fun day.
5 hours to top, primarily due to a 50 lb. six-year old daughter who needed to be carried most of the way, and then an overzealous ram bighorn who stood in our way near the start of the boulder hopping. After he laid down for awhile and then turned around, we could resume our climb past 3 or 4 false summits to the top. After lunch, a nice return to the pass after a few snowflakes and raindrops at the top.
20 miles round trip- after summiting Mount Ida, we went for a little "off-road excursion!" We descended down the slopes to TOUCH all of the Gorge Lakes: Azure, Highest (this was my first time climbing scree- I was actually quite scared, I laugh at that now!), Inkwell, (yeah, ever cling to a rockface wall with a lake below you?!), Arrowhead, Doughnut, & Loves Lakes. We then begun the long UP and DOWN treck through Forrest Canyon, back to our start. From dawn 'till dusk... ended the last hour of the hike with one shoe off (blisters- don't get them anymore with my new awesome Merril boots!:-) The Lakes are AMAZING- each are unique and different in color- I've hiked most of the lakes now in RMNP, and these are by far my favorite. Do this hike, it's incredible! (You can do the Milner Pass trail and just "look" at the lakes.... but how fun is that?!:-)