RMNP in the Spring

This past month we’ve been getting out in Rocky Mountain National Park to do some hiking, snowshoeing and camping. Monika and I went on a hike to Mills Lake a few weeks ago, last weekend I spent a night camping at Jewel Lake, and today I tried using touring skis with my mountaineering boots as an alternative to snowshoes for ice climbing approaches. The uphill part went just fine, but the downhill part was difficult due to the lack of support with my boots. It was a beautiful day, though, and I was able to get a few panoramic shots of the Glacier Gorge region of the park.

View from Mills Lake

This is a view from Mills Lake, with the ice climb All Mixed Up on the right Pagoda is visible at the end of the gorge, and Longs Peak is barely visible at the center of the picture. I was able to cross over the middle, but temperatures will soon begin to melt the lake and make things a bit messier. The freeze-thaw cycle that comes every spring will help some of the higher elevation ice climbs form up and stabilize the snowpack to allow for safer avalanche conditions.

View from Black Lake

Spearhead is the rock formation at the very left, McHenrys Peak is the mountain in the middle, and Arrowhead is the formation on the far right. The ice climb West Gully is formed up just below McHenrys in the picture. Directly behind where this photo was taken is the Trough and Longs Peak. Black Lake is about 4 miles from the trailhead in winter, in the summertime the standard trail adds another mile to the trip.

Black Lake Slabs

These are the Black Lake Slabs, a nice, long, easy ice climb that doesn’t see much traffic due to the long approach. At the moment, a lot of the ice is covered with snow since we’ve had some heavy snowfall in RMNP recently. When I camped at Jewel Lake last weekend, I had 16 inches fall on me overnight.