/* hpfcla:hpnc.general / ajs / 12:00 pm Jun 30, 1986
Since we got back on time from the traversal flight (see previous over-long posting), the way was clear for a hiking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday. I'll just give you a brief summary of the route and conditions.
Andy Goris, Lorrie Depperschmidt, Chuck Reese, and I got a late start from the Longs Peak Ranger Station (9400') at 0855. We moved fast -- Chuck is training for a race -- and reached the Chasm Junction turnoff at 11550' in 1:40. Those of you who've been up the peak know the route is a wide, rocky trail through pretty timber, then across a moraine. There are still a few large, well packed drifts above the alpine falls, but nothing severe. Longs Peak is of course still technical due to snow, which appeared significant above the junction.
From the junction we went down, around, and up to Chasm Lake, 11800', by 1110. The lake is always magnificent, deep in the Chasm, a valley headed by the Diamond face of Longs Peak. It's 98% frozen over with thin, translucent ice. It was a cloudy, somewhat gloomy day with cold winds, diffuse light, and threatening clouds. On a good day, though, this would be a great place to lead a family hike -- as many people did yesterday -- allowing maybe four hours to get there.
After an hour break for lunch, Andy and Lorrie headed back while Chuck and I spent 35 minutes climbing snow (mainly) up and around the left of the Ships Prow towards the Loft. We went to about 12400', still 1000' below the Loft, before turning back due to the time (1300) and thickening clouds. The snow was perfect for climbing, just slightly soft, and made for a very fast foot-ski or glissade. I dropped back to the Chasm shelter cabin in only six minutes in a blinding cloud of snow, a really fast trip.
After a little uphilling to the junction again, we were back at the trailhead, with a fifteen minute nature break at the falls, by 1500.
By Alan Silverstein