Date: October 30, 2016
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge (9,180′)
Approach: South Slope via Stone Man Pass
Distance: ~ 13 miles
Elevation Gain: ~ 4,200 ft.
Participants: Will Robnett, Dillon Sarnelli
Rocky Mountain National Park has seen 4,000,000 visitors to date this year. On Sunday there were 3, including Will and myself. I counted.
First it should be noted that we survived the gale force winds that come standard with parking in the Glacier Gorge lot. Visitor number 3, in his Levi’s sporting a TX license plate, wasn’t so lucky. Dude didn’t make it past the TH sign.
The approach to Black Lake went like clockwork. We utilized the top secret shortcut to the west of Glacier Knob to shave a mile. Four miles later we arrived at Black Lake where we rounded the north shores (opposite the “standard” route) into the boulder field to the west of the lake and began our ascent towards Arrowhead. There’s one weakness in the rock (when not covered in ice and/or snow) that provides somewhat easy access to the upper ramps below Arrowhead and eventually into the upper Glacier Gorge basin. If you find it, you’ve done good. If not, you just lost an hour+ walking in circles. I’ve been on both sides of this spectrum. From here make a dash for Stone Man Pass.
Stone Man Pass (12,506′) made us work, but the saddle came quickly, as did the forecasted 40 mph wind gusts. Buckle up.
Pass to summit can probably be kept to class 3+. Snow and ice add another dynamic. Staying ridge proper could be a whole different ballgame.
Will, great day out! You set the bar pretty high with all of your Gore outings up there in Vail. This is how us chumps roll down here in Denver. Come back soon man. This was a classic day on an underrated peak and super fun. Thanks for hanging. And how about that bacon chicken burrito… Mountains are great and all, but I’ve talking about that burrito for 4 days now. Cheers!
In other news it turns out I finished the RMNP 13ers on this one. Personally, aside from the 14er list, I think lists are dumb (to each his own!), but I figured I’d use this monumental achievement to reminisce on a few Park 13er favorites:
Thanks for reading!