September 20, 2008
Mount Chapin 12,454 feet
Mount Chiquita 13,069 feet
Ypsilon Mountain 13,514 feet
Fairchild Mountain 13, 502 feet
With summer days surreptitiously slipping into fall's spicy colors, I figured this would be my last attempt at “Mummy Kill” this year. Mummy Kill is a gigantic arcing route in Rocky Mountain National Park which begins at the Chapin Pass Trailhead and tags the summits of Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild, Hagues, Rowe Peak, Rowe Mountain and Mummy Mountain, finally exiting at the Lawn Lake Trailhead. At over 18 miles and 7,000ft elevation gain it is truly a tour-de-bliss for those who enjoy long outings!
Starting at 5:45am I made quick work of Mount Chapin’s summit. As the sun began to peek over the plains, there was enough light for me to see a lone set of elk tracks in the snow. To my surprise these tracks rolled over the tundra before me as if a to show me the way. Elk are plentiful up in the park and these majestic creatures are well known for their strength and stamina.
Plentiful are the tales of how native peoples would flush elk up onto the divide during communal hunts. Perhaps the terrain before me was prime hunting territory? The concept still intrigues me. Click here for more info on the rich history of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Pushing onward, the summits of Mount Chiquita and Ypislon Mountain offered breathtaking views and I continued to follow those elk tracks across a snowfield over to Fairchild Mountain.
After a brief rest on Fairchild's summit I swooped into The Saddle below Hagues Peak. Within minutes, the weather ceiling began to lower. About 500 feet below the Hagues summit, snow was dropping from already darkened skies.
As I retreated to The Saddle, the Thunder Beings roared loudly … shaking the entire Lawn Lake valley and drenching everything with rain. Seems my full Mummy Kill circuit would have to wait for another day.
Have fun and be safe out there!