You won't believe what you missed by not reading Part III first!
I made it! I didn't want to glissade the glacier (I get uncomfortable on long glissades during solo climbs). I also didn't feel like climbing up Hallett Peak again (though there was someone nearing its summit... someone who did not climb via Flattop, because I didn't see anyone up there all day, or any tracks on its summit). I decided to strip off my gear and hike down the tourist Flattop Mountain trail. The wind was blowing pretty steady on the summit (there was nearly no wind in the gorge), so I had to break down and put on a parka. After a quick lunch (I didn't have any clue what time it was, so figured it must be noon) I took off for the summit of Flattop, but first looked back towards Hallett:
I was surprised. There was nobody in site atop Flattop, not even anybody climbing up the trail. I thought that was pretty amazing for Memorial Day, which always seems to bring out the park visitors. I surmised (correctly, as it turned out) that the trail was probably snowed in below and only the hardy would bypass all those nasty trail-covering snowdrifts.
After mucking about for a few minutes, I headed down to the horse hitchin' post for some photos. First that massive (for RMNP standards) cornice on Flattop's south face (which was making all sorts of gurgling dripping noises):
and a look towards Hallett peak and the glacier I just climbed.
A close up of the glacier (the line I took was just right of the rock outcrop in left-center of the photo, probably in the exact center of the picture):
The snow-filled (usually scree) gullies on Hallett's north face looked especially pretty from this vantage point.
As did Hallett's north face buttresses (again, the tower on the left is really the third buttress).
On with the slog home! As I neared treeline I started meeting more and more people. I took a shot towards Stones Peak and Sprague Mountain:
And once at the Emerald Lake overlook, some shots of Hallett's north face buttresses.
You think I'd learn that taking photos of the ground aren't really interesting. Actually, if you were there, this next photo was interesting. In the middle of the trail was a hole, about 1 inch by 2 inches, just spewing out water (like a perculator, about 1-2 inches high). A mid-trail spring! I know it is impossible to see it in this photo, but that's what it is a picture of. I knew it wouldn't turn out when I took it. But hell, I have a digital camera and can easily waste precious memory space now! Ah, technology...
And, diametrically opposed to the first picture from this adventure, another shot of the parking lot... more like it normally looks on a warm Memorial Day (some lucky person got a great parking spot after I left! The lot was full, in fact, the gleam of all the cars was easily visible from atop Tyndall Glacier). I'm sure all the people in this picture were wondering about this nutcase who was taking a picture of the parking lot.
So, that's it. End of the adventure. I got home by 2pm, I thought it was more like 5pm (I don't wear a watch, and the stupid clock in my car broke). Ah well, that just meant a longer nap before dinner...
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