Peak: Snowdrift Peak (12,274′) – Rocky Mountain National Park
Date: November 11, 2017
Trailhead: Green Mountain (8,800′)
Approach: Northeast Ridge
Distance: 22.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,500 ft.
Wolf, but probably a giant coyote sightings?: 1
Human sightings: 0
Time: 12 hours
Snowdrift Peak in RMNP has been on my radar ever since a failed attempt in 2013. That outing was a classic example of how to unintentionally haze your friends when they travel out to Colorado. My buddy Brad, having just landed in CO from DC, found himself at the North Inlet TH at the crack of dawn on a bitter cold September morning ready to take on something called Snowdrift Peak with me. The first snow of the season came early and unexpectedly the night before. One of us may have been wearing trail runners. 8 miles in we were sitting at Ptarmigan Lake wondering why the lake was in the wrong spot. Later we would contemplate that maybe there weren’t actual trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
November 11, 2017 – Round 2 – Snowdrift Peak via Green Mountain TH.
Below treeline the mile markers go something like this: Green Mountain TH (0), Big Meadows and junction with Tonahutu Trail (1.8), Granite Falls (5.1), “Mountains Don’t Care” sign (7.5), and treeline just a little further.
Now the slog gets good. I wasn’t exactly out of the trees yet, but I had a much better sense of my surroundings and made my way up to Bighorn Flats.
Once on the Bighorn plateau, I was beat up and cold, but I could see the remainder of the route. A mad dash across the tundra and a few ups and downs along the northeast ridge and I would be there. The daylight clock was ticking.
Let’s go home.
Not pictured. The 7 miles in total darkness.
Thanks for reading all. Hope everyone is doing well and getting after it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!