Peaks of the Park: Flattop Mountain A (12,324′), Otis Peak (12,486′), Taylor Peak B (13,153′), Powell Peak (13,208′)
Date: October 17, 2014
Trailhead: Bear Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park
Distance: 17.8 miles
Elevation Gain: ~ 6,000 feet
Participants: Solo mission
Time: 8 hours
On Friday morning I woke up late, rolled into the “office”, moved the mouse, and with a little help from a picture on my desk, made a game day decision to go outside. For those of you that don’t know me, my profession is accounting (taxes to cut to the chase) and October 15th while it’s no April 15th, can still be a huge pain in the @ss! A much needed break from the monotony was in order and Indian Summer was knocking on the door.
And so at 11 AM on a Friday I found myself at the far end of the Bear Lake parking lot, Red Bull in hand, ready to make my way up to the Continental Divide. I had done a little homework earlier in the month on a few routes to Powell and thought this to be a worthy objective. The route from Bear Lake via Flattop Mountain, while slightly longer than most, can be kept at Class 2. This path of least resistance also allows for short detours to the ranked summits of 12ers, Hallett and Otis, and 13er, Taylor. As an out and back there is some reascending to do, but skirting the aforementioned peaks to the west on the return will keep it to a minimum.
Approaching the Divide the wind had all but disappeared and I found myself still wearing a t-shirt. Was I lost?
I’ve been to the summit of Hallett twice in my short existence here in Colorado. Both times I was practically blown off the mountain into Bear Lake and excessively pelted with snow to the face. It was a no brainer to creep right past this guy and not press my bluebird luck. Maybe I’d catch it on the way back (maybe not!).
Approaching the parking lot, the only light for miles was my headlamp. The Park was all mine. At the far end of the darkness I could barely make out the reflector on my Jeep. Last man into the lot, last man out. I pulled out the camp chair, grabbed a Hey Pumpkin from the chode cooler, and took it all in for a while. I say it all the time, but there’s something very special about this Park! Until next time Rocky… Stay classy, my friend.