Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lost Lake, Mt Dunraven, Mt Dickinson

Dunraven, Mummies, Glacier Gorge peaks (Longs far back left)

I don't get out with Mike too often, but when I do it's usually an adventure. Our plan for this particular (and beautiful) Saturday morning was to tag a couple of the more obscure peaks in the Mummy Range on the north side of Rocky Mountain National Park, by way of scenic Lost Lake.

The plan was pretty simple: cruise up the well-traveled trail to Lost Lake (9.5 miles, 3,200'), cut south and off trail to the summit of Mount Dunraven (12,571'), ride the long east-west ridge to Mount Dickinson (11,831'), and then source a route back to the North Fork of the Big Thompson and the Lost Lake trail for the final run back to the trailhead.

From the Dunraven trailhead (7,800'), west of Drake and east of Glen Haven, the trail to Lost Lake (10,700') climbs at a steady and rarely challenging grade. Lost Lake - which is the lowest of a series of lakes that feed the North Fork of the Big Thompson - is worth the trip alone, with gorgeous views of Mount Dunraven, Sugarloaf Mountain and (I think) Rowe Mountain and Rowe Peak. There are all kinds of peak bagging options from Lost Lake, but today we were headed due south for Dunraven, apparently named after the Irish Earl of Dunraven who settled in the Estes Park area in the late 19th Century.

Rowe Mtn, Rowe Peak from Dunraven summit. All pics: Mike Hinterberg.

From Lost Lake, we followed the westernmost feed of the lake for a short while then cut south, dropping into and crossing the North Fork before heading up Dunraven proper.

Still can't get away from the snow. Approaching Lost Lake.
North Fork crossing.

It was a solid 1,500'+ grunter up the north slope of Dunraven, but without too much rock hopping the going was decent enough. After a short repose on top, and a look at the backsides of Rowe, Hagues and Mummy peaks, we headed due east to the saddle between Dunraven and an unnamed peak (12,305') - which we named Dunraven Knob - skirting it to the south on a line at about 10,900'.

Me and Mike on Dunraven.

Once around The Knob, we cut a line directly for the saddle between Dunraven Knob and Mount Dickinson, soaking in the views of the Glacier Gorge traverse along the way. Glacier Gorge is on the docket for a few weeks hence, so it was great to get a panoramic of the classic alpine line. The 2- to 2.5-mile hike to Dickinson was very pleasant indeed with only intermittent talus to negotiate. According to the log on the summit, we were just the second up there this year, so an obscure peak indeed.

Dickinson summit.

From Dickinson, the options for getting down were not great. All involved significant bushwhacking through dense forest, so we chose the direct line south to southeast to the bottom of the valley on a grade that looked negotiable.

Scoping the descent off Dickinson. Signal Mtn (just popping up above timberline) & Bulwark Ridge on other side of the valley.

It was no more than two miles down to the river, but it probably took us an hour and a half with all the deadfall to get over. We hit the river at a spot that looked reasonable to cross, so just went for it rather than source something tamer.

The early going off Dickinson before it got really dense.

We hit the trail almost immediately once over the river and found ourselves, as planned (amazingly), just slightly west of the Happily Lost backcountry camping area. Six and a half miles back down to the trailhead and we were done.

Recrossing the North Fork. Ankle to knee deep but moving fast.

Total trip was in the 21-mile range, with a touch under 5,500 feet of elevation gain and a whopping 7 hours on our feet. The 15 miles of trail running accounted for less than three hours of that. The last two to three miles dragged, but by and large I felt very little residual from Hardrock/Western States, which was an awesome surprise.

Alpine season is finally here. Go get it!


  1. A nice little Saturday, indeed! My college coach used to say, regarding hard efforts, "Mind the Exit Wound" -- you, apparently, have a T-1000 exoskeleton. "Liquid-metal alloy".

    For "active rest", I would strongly recommend you do some uptempo cross-training -- ideally combining track speed and BEER!

  2. Listen to Joe Uhan! He has his master's in beer consumption. Drink some liquid earthy goodness and gain some weight my friend. You must weight about 119 now?? Go get a burger and fries with that beer too.

  3. Nick, I notice you don't carry a pack of any kind on runs like this, or during races like hardrock. I prefer not to wear carry anything besides handhelds, I like to carry gels in shorts pockets, and furthermore I like shorts pockets that sit near the wasteband or just below it.

    Would you mind sharing how you carry calories? Your sponsors might appreciate it...

  4. Chris - I've tried running with packs, but for the most part find them annoying. Right now, we are working on an 'enduro' short with PI that has two compression pockets on the hip just below the waist band. Each of those pockets carries either a 5oz gel flask or 5-6 gel packets. In addition, there is a rear zippered pocket that I use for gel trash/other stuff. I wore the latest iteration of that prototype at Hardrock and they worked out great.

    Once it's all said and done, I'd like to add two small angled front pockets for salt caps. As I tell the guys at Pearl: pockets maketh the ultra short.

    I also carry some stuff in the pockets of my water bottle handles, but not everyone likes to add weight there because of the pendulum effect. It's never really bothered me though.

    On long training runs, I carry very little besides water and maybe a gel or two. I'll tie a jacket around my waist if I'm heading above timberline.

  5. Sounds good, I'll save my pennies. Since you mention salt caps, how the damn-hell do you store those things in a sweat/rain-proof manner in your shorts pockets? I've been keeping mine in a zip-lock bag with a corner cut off, but lifting such a vessel to my face to inhale something white and anonymous makes me feel as though I'm ingesting an illegal substance. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  6. FastEd's comments sounds a lot like this: