Landscape: Glacier Gorge

Twist my arm very slightly, and I will gladly make the three-hour drive to Rocky Mountain National Park from Vail. Landscape-wise, Rocky Mountain National Park is mountainous (being in the Rocky Mountain Region), with elevations ranging from around 8,000ft. in the valleys to 14,259ft. at the summit of Long’s Peak. Climbing, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and wandering around in the woods: you can do these things in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Continental Divide cuts through the park, and its higher elevations have a true alpine feel with glacier-cut peaks, grassy meadows, and those cool furry carpets with legs (marmots) running around on the rocks. Last week, my pal Cece and I decided to attempt four alpine climbing routes in five days. We got weathered off of two (more on that upcoming), but in the process we were able to take in some spectacular views.

These are all photos from the Glacier Gorge area; a trail goes in about 6.5 miles, and then there are several good rock bivouac sites for sleeping (with a camping permit, of course) near the peaks. Top right is a photo of Spearhead, which we climbed (Sykes Sickle route on the face), and below is a fantastic view of the area’s southernmost peaks from Mills Lake:

Pagoda Mountain (which we attempted climbing but bailed from due to lightning) is the highest peak at the southern end of the basin; it has a little snow/ice runnel on its right side and a nice rock ridge running from west to east.

And…I tend to think that mountains always look better bathed in night light, so the following two are some of my favorite images from this trip. Our bivouac view:

Since we were hiking out late on our last day, we got dusky views like these all the way home.

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