Hagues Peak -- 13,560ft
July 17th, 1995
Around 17 miles Round Trip
This was a very meloncholy trip for me. I know it sounds corny and all, but my cat (which I have owned for 21 years) was scheduled to be put to sleep on the 20th. My cat (named Tabby) had been my best friend in the world since childhood, and needless to say, most of my thoughts weren't on the hike.
The hike started at Lawn Lake trailhead. This trail is *boring*! Well, not really, actually I had just hiked it too many times this year. After a while (and 7 miles later) I arrived at Lawn Lake. From this point, the trail got a bit more interesting. I had originally planned to climb Fairchild Mountain, but the north face (ie, the easy face) was snowed in. I did spend some time watching a group climb up it, and later glissade down it. At this point, I decided to climb Hagues Peak instead, via the Mummy/Hagues saddle.
The trail after Lawn Lake goes uphill in a painful way. Whew! I had some nice views of the Crystal Lakes, though. Soon I turned off and started up to the saddle. This hurt! I spent a lot of time on this steep bit of tundra-crossing (no trail), hopping from rock to rock, and taking frequent breaks. Half way up, I almost turned back. For some reason, climbing mountains just didn't seem to be the thing to do anymore. I pressed on, however, and crossed some steep snowfields to the saddle.
The climb from here was uncomplicated, though there was a bit of snow. I could see Rowe Peak to the north, and Rowe Glacier -- it was still very snowy, but the base of the glacier was a wonderful blue hue. I soon reached the summit of Hagues.
Wow, what a summit. This point is the highest in Larimer County, and the view was terrific! Mummy Mountain looked impressive from here, along with the Rowes, Fairchild, and Desolation Peaks. I could see the Never Summers, and what I assume is the Medicine Bow Range. Below, Lawn Lake looked clear and serene.
I ate a bit on top, and left a dedication to Tabby in the register. I "whooped" on top, and surprisingly, I received a return "whoop" from a climber on Rowe Peak! We waved, and off I went. I decided to descend via the Fairchild/Hagues saddle (called, simply enough, "The Saddle"). I had wondered why folks in the register said that the climb was an adrenaline rush -- I thought it was pretty tame. This bit below the summit is why. It was pretty exposed, with lots of boulder-climbing. At one point I had to cross a very steep snowfield, for about 30 feet. One false move and I would tumble down for 1,000ft to some very unsafe rocks below. Remembering all of my self-arrest techniques, I crossed it -- without incident. Soon the huge boulders subsided, and I was able to hike easily down to the Saddle, and soon back to the trail.
Once again, the trip down was uneventful, though I was very tired (and my feet hurt!). Before this day, my previous one-day hiking record was around 16 miles. This one broke it by at least a mile. It was worth it, however, as a nice way to remember my cat. Since then I have not climbed over 13,000ft, and have no plans to for a very long time. I suppose this is the point where I decided that hiking into lower and more serene areas meant more than bagging the highest peak around. That's not to say I won't return, after all, there is still Fairchild and the Rowes to climb... maybe next year? ;)